Faith General Self-Management

What About Alcohol? Part 2

Last week we looked at the big picture of alcohol. Recognizing that you are 21 or older, or someday will be, you need to start coming to grips with where you stand in regard to alcohol. God allows for a range from abstinence to self-controlled use. This week, we are going to look at some Words of Wisdom rooted in Scripture.

Words of Wisdom When it Comes to Alcohol

1. Make Christ Your Greatest Satisfaction. When one seeks Christ above all else, all else finds its proper priority in life.

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33 ESV

To even think of taking a good thing, (alcohol included) and exploiting it such that you break the heart of God and of those who love you, should make you shudder. Like Joseph who was solicited by Potiphar’s wife to have sex with her, his response was How could I do such a thing and sin against God?

2. Ask for Accountability. Similar to what several young men do in practicing purity, they (of legal drinking age), will send me a pre-emptive text, letting me know they are going to try some alcohol. We cross-check the blood/alcohol app and remind each other that God is a far greater satisfaction than some local ale. Download a blood-alcohol app on your phone. By entering your weight, gender and what you want to drink and the timeframe, you can get a good indicator of what your choices can lead to.  Anyone who gets drunk is working against the Holy Spirit.

18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 ESV

3. Know Yourself. If your pursuit of alcohol is to fit in, to test your limits, you are headed into dangerous territory. Do not darken the door of a liquor store or accept a drink from a friend. Order a club soda instead. A young man struggled with a pornography addiction. It took several years for him to find victory in Christ. To this day he celebrates his freedom from that stronghold. When I asked him about his use of alcohol, he told me he’s chosen to abstain. He explained that to start drinking would only transfer that latent desire to another stronghold.  Wise choice. Wise young man!

4. Those in leadership carry an extra responsibility when it comes to alcohol.

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine,  or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted. Proverbs 31:4-5 ESV

I’m not sure if you like taking advice from your mom, but the advice in these verses above came from King Lemuel’s mom. It is not for kings (those in leadership) to drink wine or rulers to take strong drink. The issue isn’t in drinking, it’s in the risk of drinking too much and forgetting what decisions were made; the impact poor judgement has on people you are influencing.

What Lemuel realized was if he has a propensity to the extreme in anything, he will abuse it, much to the chagrin of the people he leads.  If you find yourself in leadership, think long and hard if consuming alcohol is a wise decision.

5. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding.  To make a blanket statement that God prohibits all alcohol goes against the very first miracle Jesus did.  The wine had run out at a wedding, so Jesus’ mom, Mary, told the servants her son would make more wine. In fact, the wine Jesus made from water was even better than the first rounds served at the wedding party! Why is this important to the discussion on alcohol? Weddings are a place of celebration. You can definitely celebrate a wedding without alcohol. Our wedding was alcohol-free and we had a great time!  Having said that, we also see that alcohol can be a part of celebrating. The litmus test is always in moderation.

There is tremendous freedom in Christ. The Gospel opens many doors for life and to enjoy it abundantly. As with anything, taken to extremes, it can become sin. As Paul Tripp once said

A good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes a controlling thing.

You Know You’re Making Foolish Choices When…

To contrast wise words about alcohol, you know you’re making foolish choices about alcohol when…

You drink to fit in. We all want to be liked, but true friends will like you even if you don’t have a can in your hand.

You drink to escape stress and problems.  We all face rough patches in life. How you handle them speaks to whether you are focused on God who will lift you out of the miry muck or yourself.

You can’t stop thinking of getting a drink as soon as you are done with work or school. One track minds tend to scheme. If I can’t stop thinking about that future drink, I am guaranteed to end up in a place I will later regret.

You offer it to others, especially those underage. Sometimes we like others joining in our ways to help justify our choices. When we let underage siblings or friends drink, we are revealing our lack of sound wisdom.

You’re borrowing money from your friends to buy alcohol. If buying beer means you can’t pay your other bills, you have a serious problem. It’s time to ask for real help, not a hand-out

You deny saying things while drinking. Alcohol can cause you to say things you’d never say sober. Later, you will come to deny and regret your words. In some cases, you will be held liable for your loose words.

Your liver is out of whack.  A friend grew up in an alcoholic family. She started drinking at age 13. By her senior year in high school, she was an alcoholic, like her parents. She found Christ in her mid-twenties and curtailed her drinking. Within a decade she had to have a liver transplant. With half of her brother’s liver, she is now on a lifetime regime of anti-rejection drugs.

A Word on Abstinence

There is great pressure felt by some to fit in. To do what the crowd is doing. After all, we think, if I don’t have a beer in my hand while everyone else does, makes me feel as if I am not relating to them; even if my desire is to be a witness for Christ to them.  With all honesty, to walk around with your Pepsi or a club soda while they sip on an ale is okay. Think of it this way, if your pursuit of Jesus is best lived out alcohol-free, there are a lot of potential risks and woes you automatically avoid. You will never risk getting drunk. You won’t have to make room in your fridge for a six-pack. You will not have to worry about being a stumbling block to other believers. You’ll save tons of money! And, your pursuit of Jesus will be less encumbered.

Even with the various ales I’ve tried, I still like my Pepsi most of all! We can chuckle at that, but even then, it’s an issue of where my focus is. As I yield to the Spirit (Galatians 2:20) I discover that strongholds fade away in the light of all who God is in Christ.

Whether you choose to drink or not, Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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