Being "drunk" on God's extravagant love for you.
You are loved as you are. Fully loved, right now. There are no expectations you have to fulfil to be loved—you already are loved. In fact, you can’t fail in God’s sight, not only have you already arrived, but you are well past the finishing line. Now, as you sit in the VIP lounge, sipping champagne, the celebration has started, Jesus has done everything for you that needed to be done and now you are free to be you, you are free to be great.
God has so much love towards you! There is so much to enjoy. His love for you isn’t given cautiously but extravagantly. Your highest and most transcendent experience of His love is like merely sniffing the cork of a good bottle of wine when compared to the eternal sea of love He has for you! We don't need to make things complicated—there is only one right thing for you to do: outrageously indulge in the affection and goodness of God towards you and in you. He has fallen in love with you like one who is drunk and crazy with love. He is here to spill hugs, kisses and laughter over you, to squeeze noses, nibble cheeks and yank people out of their pews to dance!
Song of Songs invites us to drink and be drunk on love, to become love-drunk. “Eat, O friends, and drink, and be inebriated, my dearly beloved.” (Song of Songs 5:1 DRV) When the table is set, the wine is being poured and the food is being served, it would be rude not to tuck in! He wants you to be “inebriated with the plenty of [His] house; and... make [you] drink of the torrent of [His] pleasure.” (Psalm 35:9 DRV) Christian mystic Catherine of Siena implores us to “Behave like the drunkard who doesn’t think of himself but only of the wine he has drunk and of the wine that remains to be drunk!”
“If you're not having fun, you need to back up and find out where you left Jesus, because Jesus is fun!”
In Acts, Peter said, “These men are not drunk, as you suppose.” (Acts 2:15 NIV) He does not deny that they are drunk, only that it is not the result of alcohol. They are drunk with the Holy Spirit. Holy love. The thing is God does not just give us drunkenness in the Holy Spirit. He is the drink! We are inebriated on God Himself, the Gift Giver. He does not just give us wine, He is the Wine. So there is no such thing as going too far, or feeling too good on Him. Don’t limit your joy, Jesus paid for this wine, He has given you a free tab, He expects you to enjoy yourself! He paid for your happiness, don’t let it go to waste. The great revivalist Jonathan Edwards once said that, “There is no such thing as excess in our taking of this spiritual food. There is no such virtue as temperance in spiritual feasting.”
This isn’t a new divine satisfaction and intoxication isn’t a new thing, John of Ruysbroeck (1294-1381) described his experience of the glory:
"The spiritual inebriation leads to many and unaccustomed actions. Some, in the abundance of happiness break out into canticles and sing God’s praises. Others shed tears of joy. Some feel an eager longing for movement in their limbs, they cannot remain still; they must run, leap, stamp their feet, clap their hands vigorously. Others show their delight by loud cries. Others, again, find all their faculties taken by procession of to such an extent that they stand silent, as it were, melting with love.”
Throughout the ages, Christian mystics have been plastered on Mr. Pleasure. Not only were they passionate about God, but more than that, they were intoxicated on the truth that God is passionate about them! Their works and words were experiential outbursts of love and divine exhilaration.
“I want to be around others whose faith makes me uncomfortable.”
I’m tired of people trying to be so spiritual and never having any fun or joy, it’s time to be satisfied on His love! If you're not having fun, you need to back up and find out where you left Jesus, because Jesus is fun! When you’re satisfied, when you know that you are fully loved by Mr. Love, not only can you have more fun than a barrel full of monkeys but you can throw away the measuring rod of comparison. How can you care what other people think, or of who’s ahead of you, when you’re sat on the King’s lap? How can you care about who’s got more food than you when your lips are dripping with honey and your belly is full of the richest food? When Mr. Everything loves you, who do you need to compare yourself to? All there is left to do is drink and drink and enjoy and party until the party spills out to others.
You see the thing is, when you’re drunk on love, you overflow on to others, but this overflow doesn’t come from a slavish need to “help God out.” It’s not that you have to, you want to, you can’t help it! You simply co-labor with God, in the sense that you are a “container” of God. Like a branch you passively drink the sap of the vine and effortlessly bear fruit as a result of your union to the vine. Paul says, “I consider myself as having died and now I’m enjoying a new existence which is simply Jesus using my body.” (Galatians 2:20, Distilled Bible) As you rest in what Jesus did, you simply overflow as a divine by-product of being satisfied and inebriated in God’s goodness.
“If you follow the crowd, you will usually go no further than the crowd.”
Drunk people will say the craziest things to anyone who will listen (or even if they won’t listen). They will laugh out loud, often for no apparent reason and without any sensitivity to their surroundings whatsoever. They will dance, fall on the ground, sway as they walk, and completely sacrifice their personal dignity. Why? Because they are drunk, and drunk people do crazy things! Debauchery is doing crazy things that you are really ashamed of the next morning. Being drunk with the Spirit, on the other hand, causes one to do crazy things, but the difference is that those things are the things that you are proud of the next morning!
Drunk people can make others feel uncomfortable. You either become like them or you avoid them. You find their lifestyle either contagious or offensive with little neutral ground. I want to be around others whose faith makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to be content reading about the experience of others, I want to have my own fun! I want to be a person, and be around people who walk in the reckless abandonment for the things of Heaven. Revivalist Oral Roberts said about his friend Joe Coe: “Jack Coe was the boldest of us all... his faith was reckless.” Imagine someone said that about you! But even if they don’t, that’s OK, as Jesus has said the final words about you: “I love you.” You’re living in your retirement now, all the work has been done, but I personally want to use my retirement and freedom to go out and have some fun. Heaven's on the ground so I’m gonna roam around and use love to blow up this town!
“You already have all of the Holy Spirit, and wherever you go, He will be with you even if you do not “feel” Him.”
Sometimes you’ll find yourself so drunk you step out without even realizing it, at other times stepping out is very much a conscious choice. There is treasure waiting all around us for us to find. The price of admission is risk. Often that will mean stepping out from the crowd. If you follow the crowd, you will usually go no further than the crowd. But risks are easy to take when you know your Heavenly Papa is there holding your hand and promising that He loves you and wants to bless you!
Now certainly, experiencing the constant drunkenness of the Holy Spirit boosts one’s confidence to take extraordinary risk, but you already have all of the Holy Spirit, and wherever you go, He will be with you even if you do not “feel” Him. You don’t have to try to get closer to God, you are already close, simply enjoy the closeness you already have. You don’t have to try to have a spiritual experience. I believe I am already having one. I believe I am already in the House of Wine, thanks to Jesus’ work. When I relax and trust that I’m already fully tanked, I begin to enjoy the drink. Feeling follows faith. Whether you feel it or not, you are already united with Christ and seated with Him in heavenly places.
God is holding nothing back from you. You are an insider. You have access to all of His goodness. Nothing can make your life more significant than to simply become aware of His nature and presence in you and His favour towards you.
This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be whacked in it!
(Footnotes: Catherine of Siena, Jonathan Edwards, John of Ruysbroeck, Oral Roberts, various Christian mystics, John Crowder, Kevin Dedmon, Bill Johnson, Andrew Fulford, Danny Silk, Brennan Manning, Robert Capon, Benjamin Dunn, Francis Du Toit.)