Reader’s Question: “On the subject of drinking alcohol, where is the line?”
Is social drinking acceptable for a Christian? This question has been asked, digested, researched, and asked again for years and years. The bible does not address the issue of social drinking specifically, so therefore a lot of Christians have made their own conclusion that as long as they don’t get drunk then it’s okay to have something to drink every now and then…..right?
I have spent some time in prayer and study over how to answer this question properly, because it is a huge decision a lot of young adult Christians are trying to make. Will I allow alcohol in my life in any capacity, or will I fully abstain? And what are the reasons for choosing my answer?
So let’s take a look into this “drinking dilemma”.
First, we need to start by looking at what God’s word has to say on the topic of drinking. Here are just a few of the 75 verses that speak specifically on the issue of alcohol:
Eph. 5:18- “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”
Gal. 5:21- “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
1 Cor. 6:10- “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Just in these few verses it’s clear that drunkenness is a sin, and God wants us to have no part of it. So what about just having a drink?
I have heard over and over again from my Christian friends that are trying to justify drinking in their life say such things as, “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”.
Well let’s break apart this justification and see if it can still stand:
Justification: “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”
Drunkenness is a sin that is made clear in the Bible. So what constitutes being drunk? Is drunk when you can’t stand up and walk straight? Is it when you are puking all over yourself because your body is casting out the poison that you have poured into it? Or is it when you first feel that buzzed feeling? According to the DUI billboards, “Buzzed driving is the same as Drunk driving”. So when are we drunk? Since the answer to that question is a gray area, then one may not think or realize they are in the sin of drunkenness. In honesty, when someone is saying “I’m not getting drunk so it’s okay”, they are really saying, “how close can I get to sin without sinning?” As a true Christian, our goal is to not see how close we can get to sin without sinning, but rather to see how close we can get to God.
In Philippians 3, Paul is speaking about not having confidence in our flesh. When you see how close you can get to sin without sinning, you are putting confidence in the flesh and not in God. Just in case you didn’t know, our flesh will always fail us! Don’t be fooled into thinking that in being a casual drinker you are in control. If you must have a drink with dinner, or if you go to the bar, even if it’s only one, does not constitute control. If you do not think alcohol has any control in your life, then give it up completely for six months. For some of you, just the thought of that just made you cringe…alcohol has a controlling factor in your life
The justifications we present for socially or casually drinking do not stand when put them next to the Word of God. The real question we need to be asking ourselves when it comes to drinking is “why”. Why do we want to drink? What do we hope to gain from it? What is our purpose in it? If the answers to those questions do not line up with God, and I don’t see how they can because drinking is just an attempt at filling up a need that only God can fill, so then it’s clear that we need to have no part in drinking. Does this mean we can’t be friendly with those who drink? No. We need to be in friendships with nonbelievers so that we can disciple them to a knowing, accepting and thriving relationship with Christ. But to do that does not mean we have to join in on their sins to connect. Rather, by abstaining from those sins yet still trying to connect will have a much greater impact. Even if it’s not verbalized, people see that you can have such joy and peace in your life and it doesn’t come from emptying a bottle of beer or a glass of wine; it comes from Christ and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. Give them something to long for, instead of just making you appear the same as them, but happening to also believe in God.
I encourage you all this week that if you do drink to challenge yourself to take that out of your life. Do a drinking fast. Give this area of your life completely over to God and see what He gives you back in return. if you have further questions about drinking and the bible please feel free to email me those questions or ask them as a comment. Again my email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Coming up on Monday: Tithing