The topic of drinking is one that is highly debated among Christians. It seems like everyone has their own view. Some people feel that Christians should have absolutely NO association or contact with alcohol or even allow themselves to be in a situation where alcohol is served. Others think that not only is it okay to have a drink, but that it’s important to be in situations with others who are drinking so that they might evangelize to them. So, what do you think?
One thing (regardless of your opinion) is unmistakable. The Bible is clear that you are never to be drunk. In Ephesians 5:8, Paul clearly instructs the Ephesians:
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.” (NLT)
In this passage he is pretty clear about the effect that becoming drunk can have. The reality is that a lot of harmful things can happen to you if you are not in control of your own body as a result of being under the influence of a drug. Getting drunk can lead to illness, fatal car accidents, date rape, addiction, and most seriously, the defaming of the name of Christ, who gave his life for you. Under no circumstances is it okay for a Christian to get drunk. It is neither funny, nor harmless.
Paul then mentions that instead of being filled with wine that you should let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. He addresses the fact that drunkenness (like most things) is a heart issue. Most people who get drunk on a regular basis either get drunk because they want to escape the daily pressures of life, or they do it because they have become addicted to this drug. Either way, they use alcohol to numb a pain or fill a void that is in their heart.
A close friend of mine is a recovering alcoholic. He once told me something that really opened my eyes to the emptiness of alcohol. He told me that there isn’t a single person who needs to drink to have a good time, who doesn’t envy the person who doesn’t need to drink. This was very encouraging for me because I am not a drinker, but I have allowed myself to feel intimidated by those who are. However, realizing that needing to drink is truly a sign of weakness, it showed me that I have nothing to be intimidated by. It just makes me feel more compassionate towards those who persistently get drunk.
I know what you might be thinking. “Okay, I already knew that I shouldn’t get drunk. What about just having a drink every once in a while?” When it comes to occasional drinking I don’t think that it’s a sin to have a drink, but I think it’s beneficial not to drink. Once again it is an issue of the heart. If you are of age, or if you are thinking about it now for when you are of age, than I want you to seriously think of why you would desire to drink. Is it to fit in? Is it because you want to look cool? A lot of people drink for that very reason (to fit in), and as Christians we know that we are supposed to stand out and be a light in this world. If your heart is in a place where it wants to fit in with the world, I would ask you to seriously question that motive and pray that God would give you a desire for his ways, and not for the world.
I personally do not drink and I don’t think that it is beneficial to do so. Because alcohol is so closely related to negative situations, I don’t want to touch it. I don’t want to run the risk of endangering my life in order to fit in. It’s just not worth it to me considering it does nothing for me.
I know, however, that there are exceptions to this. I know godly people who prayerfully (and that is the key) will have a drink in a specific situation in order to minister to specific people. Some would argue that this is not a good idea, but I can’t say that it’s not. Jesus was among sinners all the time, however he himself did not sin. We are obviously much weaker than Christ so we have to extremely careful of the situations we put ourselves in.
Ultimately, you need to decide what you will choose when the question of drinking becomes an issue in your life. I would argue that although you have the freedom to have a drink that it is not beneficial to your life and it is best to protect yourself from the potential risk of damage to yourself or anyone else. Remember that it is a heart issue, and if we submit ourselves to God, he will mold our hearts to look like Christ’s. If you struggle with the question of whether it’s okay to drink, I encourage you to go before the Lord and ask him for wisdom (James 1). Read his word and he will lead you.