Fighting the Works of the Flesh: Revelries
In the final post in this series covering the works of the flesh, we look at hard partying and discuss several strategies in avoiding the associated behaviors.
Do you party? No, we are not talking about the innocent and enjoyable get-togethers of friends and family with food, games and conversations. Do you party? This work of the flesh refers to partying in a wild, uncontrolled and immoral manner. The Greek word translated “revelries” in Galatians 5:21 is komos and is defined as “excessive and boisterous intemperance and lustful indulgence.” In other words, this is what we could call hard partying.
The apostle Paul further elaborated in Romans 13:13: “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.” Here revelry is listed with several other works of the flesh and various sins. Society, including the entertainment industry, tries to convince us that this is normal and fun.
Lies about revelries
Lie No. 1: “It’s a celebration! It’s no fun unless you get a little wild!”
No harm ever came from getting drunk, high or arrested at a party, right? This lie essentially says that any negative consequences are “worth” the temporary pleasures of revelry. But the Bible contains a higher standard.
God commends those who say no to enjoying “the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). Hard partying not only represents a lack of character and self-control, it also can result in consequences that you cannot afford to pay.
Being a hard partyer is not a desirable lifestyle choice (as many who lived this lifestyle in their youth could tell you).
Lie No. 2: “There’s nothing wrong with ‘partying like there’s no tomorrow!’”
This false idea was alive in ancient Israel’s time. The prophet Isaiah noticed people who lived by this philosophy: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (Isaiah 22:13). This lie makes people look no further than the here and now. But people of real character look with vision to the future. They make decisions that are positive in the present and future. Christianity is all about making the future our No. 1 priority (Matthew 6:33).
Hard partying not only represents a lack of character and self-control, it also can result in consequences that you cannot afford to pay.Instead of partying like there is no tomorrow, why not diligently try to better yourself and build a positive future? If more people thought this way, many problems associated with hard partying could be avoided: jail time, hangovers, sexually transmitted infections, sexual assault charges, drug overdoses, destroyed property and even death.
There is nothing wrong with parties involving good food, upbeat music, various beverages in moderation and fun activities. But revelry says: “That’s not good enough. To make this a real party, we need some sin!”
Strategies to combat the attitude of revelries
1. If you see signs of a party descending into sinful revelry, leave.
Sometimes parties can begin innocently, but not stay that way. There are many telltale signs (“red flags”) that can help us differentiate between a clean party and revelry:
- Is the music uplifting and clean, or is it laced with profanity and sexually degrading?
- Are the majority of the partygoers remaining sober, or do most seem to be buzzed or drunk?
- Are the males behaving as gentlemen and the females as ladies, or has lust and alcohol induced partyers to cast off all physical restraint?
Revelries can be as small as two people getting drunk in a basement, as “normal” as an office party and as unexpected as a church activity. Use discernment and judgment, and don’t be afraid to leave a get-together immediately. Also, teach these “red flag” characteristics to your children!
2. Walk as Christ walked, even at parties.
There’s no such thing as taking a night off as a Christian. We are to “walk just as He walked” (1 John 2:6). We don’t ever want to be the reason a wholesome party turns into a despicable revelry. We must make sure we keep our conversations pure, our minds sober and our conduct upright. None of the works of the flesh are compatible with Christ’s character, so they must also have no hold in our lives either.
3. Hate revelries and all the works of the flesh as much as God hates them.
God hates the sins involved in revelries. This kind of partying is a deliberate corruption of clean and wholesome social activities that are uplifting for all involved. All the works of the flesh are destructive and eventually lead to futility and despair.
God doesn’t want that for any human being; He wants us to be happy! But the difference between the happiness He offers and the temporary pleasures that can come from the works of the flesh is that what God offers produces no regrets and only has positive long-term consequences!
This is why Paul’s final statement after listing the works of the flesh is as much a warning as it is a plea: “… of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).
God wants you to be in His Kingdom. The Bible follows the “works of the flesh” with the “fruit of the Spirit”—which are positive and proactive character traits that will lead to eternal life in God’s Kingdom! Focus on living the “fruit of the Spirit” and toss the works of the flesh in the garbage where they belong!
To learn more about the fruit of the Spirit, read our series of articles on “The Fruit of the Spirit.”
This is the seventeenth article in a seventeen part series on Fighting the Works of the Flesh. For the other articles in this series, see:
- Sex Outside of Marriage
- Outbursts of Wrath
- Selfish Ambitions