I’m OK with that.
I’m willing to risk making some people angry if I make other people think. Because I’ve been thinking—a lot--about drinking. Not personally, as in let loose and crack open a cold one, but thinking about why Christians drink alcohol.
In my pondering, I’ve read just about every argument for and against Christian drinking. I’ve listened to strong believers on both sides of the discussion. I’ve read every verse pertaining to wine and strong drink in the Scriptures. It hasn’t been an exhaustive study, but it’s been a thorough one.
And the subject just won’t go away. Everywhere I turn, I stumble across it. In blog posts. In sermons. In Bible study. In conversations I didn’t initiate. It continues to burn in my belly like the proverbial shot of whiskey.
And like whiskey, there are two ways to get rid of the burn—absorb it, which I’ve tried to do through study and meditation, or vomit it back out. I hope this blog post is the purge.
My goal is not to condemn or condone you; only God has the right to do that. My goal is not to make a biblical defense for or against drinking. More learned scholars than I have already tackled this. You can access their thoughts freely via the internet and other resources. My goal is not to compel or persuade you. That’s the Holy Spirit’s job.
My goal for this post is simply to share why I don’t drink.
1. I don’t drink because I don’t need to put something into my body to be happy, relax, drown my sorrows, loosen up, or unwind after a long day. It may sound overly simplistic, but my relationship with Christ does this.
2. I don’t drink because I don’t want to become addicted. I don't think I have a tendency toward addictive behavior, but I can never know for sure. No one chooses to become an alcoholic. It begins with the first drink. If I don’t drink, there’s no way I will ever become addicted. It's better not to take the chance.
3. I don’t drink because others who see me drink may follow my example. Unlike me, they may be prone to addictive behavior. If they drink because my behavior condones it, then my example has contributed to their destruction. I want my example to spur them on to actions and habits that will enhance their lives and draw them closer to God.
4. I don’t drink because there are little eyes watching me. What I do, good or bad, they will imitate. How will I feel if my controlled, moderate social drinking in the privacy of my home invites those I love to explore a habit that ultimately destroys their lives?
6. I don’t drink because I don’t want to become intoxicated. It’s easy for one drink to lead to two, which leads to three or more. Before long, someone is drunk who never intended to be. Scripture is very clear that it is a sin to get drunk. Furthermore, intoxication lowers one’s inhibitions and causes them to say and do things they would never say or do if they were sober.
7. I don’t drink because I’ve seen alcohol destroy lives, families, marriages, careers, and ministries. My husband’s family was destroyed by alcohol. Were it not for the grace of God, he would have been, too. Our community is mourning the death of a young mother and her 6-week old baby who were killed by a drunk driver. The young father survived the crash, but will live the rest of his life as a paraplegic, without his wife and baby girl.
8. I don’t drink because, at best, drinking is a neutral action; at worst it is a destructive one. I’ve never seen alcohol make someone a better person. Ever.
9. I don’t drink because there are better things on which to spend my money. Better is subjective. Maybe more lasting are better words. At the end of a bottle of wine, what do I have to show for it? A buzz tonight and a headache tomorrow. I can sponsor a hungry child through Compassion International for $32 a month and make an eternal difference.
10. I don’t drink because it’s not the best for me. “The good is the enemy of the best,” 19th century theological Oswald Chambers said. Even if I drink responsibly, the most I will have accomplished is not to have hurt myself, my testimony, or others. Do I want to settle for what I haven’t accomplished?
Many years ago I made the decision not to drink alcohol. I’ve never regretted it.
If you’re wondering about what place alcohol should have in your life, why not claim the promise of James 1:5: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”? If you earnestly seek God’s face, and be willing to do what he tells you, he will reveal his will for your life. And his will is always perfect.
For additional thoughts on Christians and alcohol, you might appreciate Barry Cameron's post, Can a Christian Drink Alcohol?
and John Caldwell's post, To Drink or Not to Drink
As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome, as long as they are respectful. If you're reading by email, click here to access the webpage, then scroll to the bottom of the post and click on Comments to share your thoughts.
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