Why is Jesus better than getting drunk on Friday night? Short answer, he’s not.
Not what you were expecting? Me neither. In fact, upon writing this piece I told a friend what the title was going to be and he jokingly said ‘he’s not’. We laughed and moved on to list all the reasons about why Jesus, is in fact better.
But something got me after that: I didn’t have a simple answer to why he was better. Only a bunch of christianese one liners that wouldn’t satisfy.
My resolve? Getting drunk on Friday nights is better than Jesus, if you’re living in your flesh.
So what is ‘your flesh’?
Flesh is a term used to describe our ‘sinful bodies’ or our ‘sinful nature.’ Think of the little devil in the cartoons that sits on the left shoulder. Its fruits are sexual immorality, lustful pleasures, drunkenness, jealousy, quarrelling, selfish ambition, outbursts of anger –all found in Galatians Chapter Five.
Your flesh is the part of you that comes alive with drunken escapades, gorging of unhealthy food, sighting pornographic images, getting it on with your boyfriend/girlfriend in a parked car, punching your brother in the face…the list goes on. It’s the feelings and desires that make those choices feel liberating and satisfying.
It is not right for anyone to say they have ‘never desired things of the flesh’. Every human has a sinful nature, therefore everyone has desires of the flesh. ‘Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.’ (Ecclesiastes chapter seven verse twenty). However, there is hope. Because whilst there is ‘the flesh’, there is an opposition at work, the Spirit.
The spirit is the part of you that delights in the things of God. Some examples of the fruit it produces are the joy of endurance of character, honouring others, waiting for sex in a marriage covenant, the delighting of truth. The Spirit desires the things of God. Its fruits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control. Living by the spirit leads us to desire living righteously. When we walk by the spirit, the less we desire the things of the flesh.
However, the desires of the flesh and the desires of the spirit are actually at war. ‘The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.’ (Galatians Chapter Five, Verses Seventeen).
There is part of OUR living being that apposes the fruits of the spirit. So, in short, you can be Christian and still desire to get drunk on Friday night.
Galatians chapter five tells us that if we follow the desires of our sinful nature, and ‘live this sort of life that indulges in the flesh’, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God. That’s heavy stuff. So what can we do? We walk according to the Spirit. When we live by the Spirit, we do not desire the things of the flesh, we are actually repulsed by them because they appose the things of God.
So, want to stop desiring to get drunk on Friday nights? Start living by your Spirit. ‘Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.’ (Romans chapter Eight verse Five). When you’re living by your spirit, not your flesh, you will start to realise how the desire to get drunk repulses you. You will see a shift in your thinking to desire righteousness and a want for choices that honour God.
Overcoming the flesh is trying, it takes hard work, perseverance and self-discipline. But it is worth it. My goodness it’s worth it. Living in the Spirit is what leads to fullness of life. Living for Jesus utterly and completely is the only thing that will ever satisfy. He wants all of us, he desires us to live by the Spirit because he wants for us FULLNESS of life. He knows how to give us fullness of life that’s why we feel convicted when we make decisions that please the flesh. Conviction is protection. It is there so we can repent, and then choose make choices that please God.
I have come so you may have life, and have it in abundance –Jesus. (John chapter Ten verse Ten).
He wants us to live in the Spirit. He’s not there with a baseball bat everytime you get drunk. But his heart breaks everytime you satisfy your flesh because you cannot please him when you’re a slave to your sin. He wants you to be free. He wants you to be utterly and completely in love with him, because he knows that’s where you will truly find joy. That’s why, when you hit up the booze, there is the gentle conviction of the Holy Spirit, You don’t have to choose this, Beloved. There is more to life, than this.
But its our choice.
What will you choose
Shannon Munyard is a Press Service International young writer from Adelaide.