The United Kingdom, United States, and Canada lead the way in number of days in a year of people being drunk. In each of these countries, people average getting drunk about once a week. All of this comes from a report called the Global Drug Survey. According to this report “about half of Canadians wanted to drink less alcohol in the coming year, with close to one in five experiencing regret and considering professional help.”
I realize this is a topic the majority of Christians no longer seem to give a second thought to. Drinking alcohol has become far more widely accepted in the Christian community than it was even a decade ago. Yet, I believe we need to examine our thoughts about alcohol and make sure they align with God’s thoughts.
1. Am I Intoxicated?
For the Christian, Ephesians 5:18 kicks in here. The Bible commands us not to get drunk because it leads to reckless living. God is concerned for our well being and for the impact we will have in the life of others. Getting drunk means you will lose control. While that may feel like fun, the question is how much damage will you do to your body and to the emotional or physical well being of others while you are drunk?
Last summer, I was at a Toronto Blue Jays baseball game. There were a group of young adults who attended the game together and sat directly in front of us. Two young men were drunk before the game even started. These young men started to slowly harass women around them – physically and verbally. It reached the point where we needed an usher/security to step in. I couldn’t help but think about the damage these young men were doing to their own reputation and to the women they were trying to relate to. It was disgusting, and not any way for a man to relate to a woman.
2. Am I Loving Others?
We all love the idea of Christian freedom and the idea that God has set us free from rules. We also like the idea of being loving people. I have never met anyone who wants to be an unkind, unloving person. The book of Romans merges these two ideas together. After speaking about the freedom we now have in Christ, Romans 14:15 asks us to examine how our actions might influence others. If drinking alcohol means you are hurting or offending someone, then you are no longer truly loving them.
This is one of the reasons many people, who see nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, will only drink in the privacy of their home. They simply do not want to hurt another person and choose to sacrifice their freedom in the name of love.
3. Why Do I Want to Drink?
I have spoken with men in many communities across Canada, and there are often similar comments:
- “There is nothing else to do in town. We work and then we go to the bar.”
- “I deserve this. It’s been a long week, and I’ve worked hard.”
- “I need something to help me deal with the stress I’m facing.”
For the Christian, are these really an appropriate motivation? Colossians 3:23 teaches us to do everything to the glory of God. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God. Is it possible we look to alcohol to be our healer instead of Jesus?
It’s not my desire to try and create rules for people when it comes to alcohol use. I really do believe you need to examine yourself in light of what God’s Word teaches. But I do want to send out a warning. Any alcoholic I have ever met never thought they would become an alcoholic. How are you guarding yourself?
For those who feel they have earned a drink of alcohol after a long week: Every moment of your life matters – use your time wisely.
Consider talking to other Christian friends about your alcohol use and bringing it before God. If you are an alcoholic (or other people are concerned you might be on that path), then I urge you to talk with a pastor or someone else in your community who can walk with you to get the help you need.