"and do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit," eph 5:18
i was exploring the relationship between worship musicc, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the work of the Word of God and i was sidetracked by something interesting in this passage. here paul offers the filling of the Holy Spirit as an alternative to drunkenness in which he warns is dissipation. the word dissipation is not one i use commonly so i did a bit of looking into the background of the greek. the word translated "dissipation" is "asotia." the definition being:
1) an abandoned, dissolute life
2) profligacy, prodigality
3) "riot," "excess"
this word is also a compound of the prefix "a" which is a negative article meaning "without," and the word "sozo" which means:
1) to save, keep safe and sound, to rescue from danger or destruction
2) to save a suffering one (from perishing), i.e. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health or to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save or rescue
3) to save in the technical biblical sense: to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment or to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance
this means that dissipation could roughly be translated "the act or state of being without salvation." we could also say "without hope of salvation" or even "without hope."
webster has a slightly different definition:
1 : the action or process of dissipating (breaking up or scattering) : the state of being dissipated; a : disperson, diffusion b : dissolution, disintegration c : wasteful expenditure d : intemperate living; especially : excessive drinking
2 : an act of self-indulgence; especially : one that is not harmful : amusement
now, i know that drunkenness itself is not the direct cause of destruction nor is it responsible for a lack of salvation. however, it most certainly blocks the way of the sinner to salvation. the most literal definition of dissipation is the act of breaking up or scattering. when we engage in drunkenness there is neither focus nor purpose to our lives in those moments. our words, actions, and thoughts are scattered haphazardly with no organization or apparent reason. we exist simply for the moment, for the experience, and for the sake of existing.
it is the sheer pointlessness and wasteful indulgence of drunkenness that is dangerous. this all consuming indulgence draws us away from "the Messianic deliverance" which we so desperately need. it is interesting that webster uses the words "self-indulgence" and "not harmful" to define a word that describes such an invariably harmful act. self-indulgence is always harmful not only because it increases our hunger for self-indulgence but also because it obstructs our ability to sense the salvation of Jesus Christ or even our necessity of salvation.
an interesting parallel is commonly drawn from the example of the leper who so often features in biblical parables as a model of the sinner. a leper suffers from nerve damage, an inability to sense. as the disease progresses, the body's tissues suffer increased trauma and damage because the leper cannot feel any pain. this is just a weak shadow of the danger posed by the numbing of our spiritual senses which results from sin. not only are we unable to feel pain caused by the rotting of our spirit, but we also cannot sense its imminent salvation.
the most dangerous things in the world are dangerous because they don't appear so. the world is overflowing with death wrapped in the guised of amusements and it's frightening.