I don’t want to beat anyone over the head. I don’t want to come across as “holier than thou.” And I don’t want to debate whether or not the wine into which Jesus changed the water was alcoholic. My thoughts on how we should handle this conversation have changed a little bit over the years. I just want to share with you four reasons I don’t drink alcohol. I hope and pray these reasons might cause someone else to join me.
Do you go out drinking? What is it that you think you will find in the bottle? What promises does it make? Does it promise to make you happy? Does it promise to take away your worries and cares? Does it promise to help you have a good time? Does it promise to make it easier to get along with others? Is it fulfilling those promises?
I drank once. I thought it was going to fulfill those promises. It didn’t.
You know who has fulfilled those promises? Jesus. I don’t care if you think that’s corny. It’s true. There is absolutely nothing a bottle has to offer that Jesus isn’t already giving me. Through His Spirit, He is giving me love, joy, and peace; and through the cross, He is taking away my worry, fear, and guilt. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m content. I don’t need anything a bottle has to offer.
Paul said, “Don’t be drunk with wine, which will ruin your life, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18, ERV). Some people feel like they need what the bottle offers, but as for me, I’ve found everything I need in Christ.
Another reason I don’t drink is because of my love for people. I love the children who might see me drinking and follow my example. I love the alcoholics who might find it more difficult to remain sober if they saw me drinking. I love the Christians who would think less of me if they saw me with a beer in my hand. I love them all. And my love for them keeps me from drinking.
You say, “It isn’t a sin to drink a little!” But I say (with the apostle Paul), “Just because something isn’t necessarily sinful, doesn’t mean it is helpful or that it builds others up” (see 1 Corinthians 10:23). The question, “Is it wrong?” is not the only question that must be answered. We must also answer, “Is it loving?” And, “Is it helpful to others?”
You see, this is what Christian living is all about – sacrificing our rights, privileges, and pleasures for the good of others and the glory of God. If drinking is my right, as many suggest, then I will gladly forfeit it to keep others from stumbling.
We would probably all agree that people like police officers, surgeons, and pilots are doing such important jobs, which require such close attention to detail, they should not have even a sip of alcohol while performing their duties. In fact, I don’t know of any profession where employers are ok with on-the-job drinking. Employers want their employees completely sober.
The New Testament not only condemns drunkenness, it commands sobriety. Christians are told over and over again to be “sober” or “sober-minded.” The life to which we have been called is so important, and requires such attention to detail, that we must be in command of our faculties. The apostle Peter wrote, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). It doesn’t take a medical professional or Greek scholar to understand that the more alcohol a person consumes, the less sober-minded he will be.
Personally, I don’t need any help acting stupid or sinful. I have a hard enough time not saying or doing things that are wrong, I don’t need to put something in my body to make it even more difficult to walk the narrow path. There is far too much at stake. I want my wits about me when I face temptation.
The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration says this:
Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive. Too often, people who drink think they are okay to get behind the wheel because they only feel a “buzz.” The truth is you don’t have to be falling down drunk to be a menace to everyone around you on the highways. Remember, Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
Isn’t it interesting that sometimes the world can be more wise and more honest than Christians about the dangers involved with alcohol? The world understands that a person becomes more of a danger to himself and others when he is drinking.
I saw an article on Facebook this week about why Gene Simmons, from the band KISS, doesn’t drink alcohol. The article said, “He doesn’t understand why someone would choose to hamper their ability to succeed by drinking and doing drugs.” Simmons said, “If you and I are lined up along with 10 other guys, do you think you’ll do better than the guy who is a little tipsy? Because the alcohol is not going to help him.”
You might think drinking is fun and relaxing, but I believe it’s foolish. The risks and rewards of every decision must be weighed thoughtfully and I just don’t believe the rewards outweigh the risks. Take a second and read Proverbs 23:29-35.
We each have to make our own decisions and no matter what you decide, I will continue to love you. But as always, just remember that, “Is it wrong?” is not the only question a Christian needs to ask.
Be wise. Be loving. Be sober-minded. Be content with what we have in Christ.
I love you and God loves you,