The debate rages on: should or shouldn’t Christians drink alcoholic beverages? I’ll toss in my opinion right at the start of this post by saying no, they shouldn’t.
But I’d like to further add that I don’t believe ANYONE should drink alcohol; Christian or not.
No, I am not of the mindset that a glass of wine will send someone to hell. If murder won’t (and it doesn’t), then getting a buzz off a bottle of champagne won’t do it either.
The ONLY thing that sends a person to hell is the rejection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, Who gave His life so we could all have eternal life.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” (John 3:16 – 3:18 ESV)
My wife and I enjoy watching the original MacGyver. The other night, an episode was called “Twenty Questions”. It was about a ninth grade girl with a drinking problem.
Because of the episode, I Googled “Twenty Questions” and found the following self-test from an Alcoholic’s Anonymous website.
The person taking the test was instructed to be completely, brutally, honest with themselves, answering yes or no to each question.
Maybe you could give it a whirl…
1. Do you lose time from work due to your drinking?
2. Is drinking making your home life unhappy?
3. Do you drink because you are shy with other people?
4. Is drinking affecting your reputation?
5. Have you ever felt remorse after drinking?
6. Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of your drinking?
7. Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when drinking?
8. Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?
9. Has your ambition decreased since drinking?
10. Do you crave a drink at a definite time daily?
11. Do you want a drink the next morning?
12. Does drinking cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
13. Has your efficiency decreased since drinking?
14. Is drinking jeopardizing your job or business?
15. Do you drink to escape from worries or troubles?
16. Do you drink alone?
17. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your drinking?
18. Has your physician ever treated you for drinking?
19. Do you drink to build up your self-confidence?
20. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of drinking?
The instructions went on to say any “Yes” answer COULD indicate you are, or are on your way to becoming, an alcoholic.
It has nothing to do with getting stumbling drunk. It has everything to do with becoming dependent upon it.
Alcohol consumption may be all the catalyst needed to badly mar or ruin a person’s life; or at least allow just enough room in their life for a spirit of deception to operate. One cannot be filled with the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1) and deception at the same time.
A person cannot be led by the Spirit of God if their mental faculties are discombobulated because of alcohol. And although it’s true there are times we need to trust our heart rather than our reasonings, the mind still must choose to obey what it believes the Spirit of God is saying.
Here are some biblical reasons why I believe abstaining totally from alcohol is the best course to take for everyone; and ESPECIALLY those who are serious about following in the footsteps of Jesus and making an eternal difference in their world. (There’s no particular order to these points, but are listed as they appear in the scriptures.)
a. Incest, sexual perversions of all kinds, are more likely to happen when one’s reasoning is impaired (Genesis 19 – the Case of Lot and his 2 daughters)
b. Idolatry and other sorts of corruption have taken place when people yielded to a “party spirit” (Exodus 32 – the Saga of Aaron’s Golden Calf).
c. The Priesthood was given specific instructions from the Lord “Do not drink wine nor strong drink…when you go into the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Leviticus 10:9). As New Testament believers in Christ, we are ALL kings and priests unto God (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6). See also Proverbs 31:4,5.
d. Moses’ (speaking for God) words, at the end of the 40 year wilderness experience, and shortly before he died, “…neither have you drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God” – Deuteronomy 29:6. The Lord must have thought it was more important for the Israelites to know Him than have that “feeling of relaxation”. And apparently it would have been next to impossible for them to do both.
e. Samson was NOT SUPPOSED to drink wine or strong drink…but he felt he had a better idea. Drink wasn’t the only reason his calling and life was cut short, but it contributed.
f. “Wine is a mocker (against one’s own self), strong drink is a brawler (fightings within and without), and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1). Not too hard to figure that one out, huh?
g. “Who has woe… sorrow… contentions… complaints… wounds without cause… or redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine, who go and search for it” (Proverbs 23:29).
h. “Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down” (Proverbs 23:31 NLT). The passage goes on to describe how the alcohol will at last “bite like a serpent and sting like a viper.” No thank you. That’s not for me.
i. “Woe to them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; and continue until night, until they are inflamed!” (Isaiah 5:11)
j. Daniel, along with his three buddies, chose to not “defile” themselves with the king’s food and wine (Daniel 1). Because of Daniel’s stance, God gave he and his friends ten times the wisdom of the others, and Daniel was able to be used of God to affect NATIONS.
k. “Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation (or a waste of one’s resources and faculties); but (rather, instead) be filled with the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 5:18).
People say, “I’m not getting drunk.” But how can they know where that line is between a social drink or two, a slight buzz, and total inebriation? What if they can’t handle as much as they thought they could?
Someone may argue, “Paul told Timothy to ‘drink no longer only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities’…” (1 Timothy 5:23).
Fine. If that is truly the reason for drinking (and the amount consumed, i.e. “a LITTLE wine”), then okay.
But from what I have gathered by hanging around other believers over the last ten years or so, that is NOT the case. Instead, there seems to be more of a party spirit associated with Christians and their drink than anything else. “It’s my right, I’m not hurting anyone else, and I’m not getting drunk, so I’m going to relax, unwind, and have some fun.”
“Besides, Jesus turned water into wine.” Yep. He also raised people from the dead.
What about you? Are you a Christian who consumes alcohol? Can you live without it? Have you tried?
If you love your alcohol, that’s really between you and God. But would you be WILLING to dump all of your drink down the sink if it would mean knowing Him even just a tiny bit better? Would you drop any and all alcohol consumption if He told you to?
Did you take the AA self-test?
Were you totally honest?
Are you hearing what I’m saying?