Friday, October 19, 2012

The Wrong Kind of "Spirits"


Today I want to talk about something done by many Christians.  It is even something I have done since I was a Christian, but something I have been repented of for quite some time.  It is also something that many Christians routinely accept and very few condemn it the way it should be condemned.  The Bible is so crystal clear on this subject that I am going to let the Bible do the talking for the most part.  Today I am going to talk about drunkenness. 
And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.  Ephesians 5:18 NKJV
I can really stop right here.  The words are plain as day: "Do not be drunk on wine."  And why are we not to be drunk on wine?  The Bible also tells us right here and that is because it is dissipation.  I know that this is not a word we generally use today, so I will tell you what it means.  It means sinful, prodigal, debauchery, and other not-so-kind things.  It is clear as clear can be. The Bible tells us directly not to be drunk on wine because doing so is sinful. 

I can hear the arguments now.  Yes, Jesus did make wine at a wedding.  Yes, Jesus and the apostles drank wine.  What they did not do, though, was get drunk.  What they did not do, though, is promote drunkenness.  I do not understand why we make light of such a thing.  Maybe some think it is a "light" sin, but ask Jesus how light it was when he suffered and died for it on the cross.  Quite honestly, if the only sin you ever committed in your entire life was to get drunk just one time, Jesus still would have had to suffer and die for that sin.  There is no such thing as light sin.  Sin is sin and all sin is deserving of death and all sin was paid for by the death of Jesus Christ.  God makes no distinction between better and worse sin, that is something we have created in our own minds to make us feel better about our own sin. 

What about drinking and not getting drunk?  Some may disagree, but I also believe that the Bible never calls having a drink as being sinful. However, we must also make sure that if we choose to drink or serve alcohol, that we are not being a stumbling block to others. 
[It is] good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor [do anything] by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak. Romans 14:21 NKJV
This is a point of Scripture where we can all use some self-examination.  You see, we do bear some responsibility for the actions of others.  While they are ultimately accountable for their sin, we are also accountable for helping to lead them to it.  In a sense, we are doing the work of Satan (though not purposely) whenever we tempt our bothers and sisters.  This also applies to getting drunk.  If there is a brother or sister among you who has a tendency to get drunk, you bear some responsibility if you drink (and therefore tempt them) or serve alcohol (giving them the means to satisfy their temptation).  You are causing your brother and sister to fall by not considering that your decisions is going to help cause them to fall.  I know we do not like to take responsibility, but the Bible tells us otherwise.  The bottom line is that we should not drink in front of or serve liquor to anyone who has a tendency to get drunk.  Again, this is just as much an area of self-examination for myself as it is any of you.  We all need to take more time to consider what kind of stumbling blocks we may be to our brothers and sisters.  

Quite frankly, I have a hard time understanding the idea that having fun means getting drunk, and I really was someone who used to get drunk to have fun.  Being drunk is "fun" in the moment while you embarrass yourself and those who care about you.  I know because I was the same.  People were not laughing because I was trying to be funny, they were laughing at me because of utterly foolish I was acting.  It sets a horrible example, it hurts those who care about it, it has destroyed families, friendships, and relationships, and it has even killed.  That is the legacy of drunkenness that any of us who has ever been drunk has been a part of.  

As I said, I am not going to spend a tremendous amount of time on something so abundantly clear in Scripture.  Getting drunk is sinful, plain and simple.  The Bible is absolutely perfectly crystal clear on that matter.  This is something to really think about.  There are so many people, even Christians, who destroy their lives and the lives of others by abusing alcohol.  Sometimes I wonder if any of us in Christ really should be drinking at all.  For the vast majority of even Christians, the only purpose is to get to some level of drunkenness anyway.  If that were not true,then why do we make our mixed drinks taste like fruit punch or have drinks with alcohol that taste just as good without?  The point is that, for the most part, we drink for the sake of consuming alcohol and not for any flavor it imparts.  If this was not true, we would not have drinks that mask the flavor of alcohol.

So why should we consider not drinking at all?  Again, I only saying this as a point of prayer and consideration and not dictating something to anyone that really needs to be between that person and God.  First of all, it is a terrible example to children who grow up learning that drinking is "fun."  I have thought a lot about this very thing lately as the Lord works on things in my own heart.  I can say that I will not put myself in a position to be a bad example to children and when the Lord blesses me with children I will not allow anyone to be a poor example to my children.  I will not allow drinking and drunkenness to be glorified in any way to my children and I know that may involve some hard decisions in the future.  Beyond children, what does any of us getting drunk show to those who may not know the Lord?  What kind of witness are we giving if we are just as drunk and caught up in revelry as those around us are?  You do not win sinners to Christ by sinning with them!  You are a child of God, the light and salt of the earth, and you are called to be holy.  Not one of us can be any of those things if we are drunk.  I think this is something we all need to take the time to pray about.  Should any of us be faced with this temptation, let is please consider our Lord, our witness, and what effects or influence our actions will have on those around us.  By the grace of God, I pray we all choose wisely.
Wine [is] a mocker, Strong drink [is] a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.  Proverbs 20:1 NKJV

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