Recently there has been a video cirrculating the web of Ellen Degeneres talking with a viewer on the phone. The woman says something that many found to be funny and even identified with. She said something to the affect of “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.” Well, I am probably one of the only people who did not find this remark to be amusing. First, it is like saying, “I love Jesus, but I want to be as much like the world as I can be.” I know what you are thinking, “Jesus drank a little, didn’t he?” My response, Jesus is the SON OF GOD! He also healed the blind, the sick and died for all of humanity! Can you do that? Also, it is widely accepted by historians that the alcohol of the New Testament is not like the alcohol we drink today, it was more like juice. Frankly, when I hear someone say, “I can drink, because Jesus drank”, I cringe. It is such weak excuse. The issue with drinking is self control. Do you know exactly the moment that you lose control? Can you really tell when you’ve had too much? I’m sorry, but you can’t. Drunkenness is too subjective. And no one has control of how much is too much. That is why, my husband and I have chosen not to drink alcohol. We also want to be set apart from the world. I wrote the following post awhile ago, but I think now is a great time to re post it. I am not trying to be “holier than thou”. Thanks for reading and enjoy! One more note, as you are reading this, think about how the Israelites wanted to be like the nations around them and think about where that got them!
I know I will step on a few toes with this post; well here’s goes nothing! First I’ll start by sharing my personal experience with alcohol. Next, I’ll move to what the Bible says about drinking and from there I will close with some personal observations regarding drinking and the use of alcohol.
Being the Conservative Baptist girl that I was raised to be, I did not touch alcohol. But when I turned 21 all that changed. And soon I slowly became out of control where drinking was concerned. I was not walking with the Lord, and the further I drifted from the Lord, the more out of control my use of alcohol became. Not only was I not walking with the Lord, but my friends were not walking with the Lord either, and so I spiraled out the control. After a chain of very unwise decisions I finally came back to the Lord and figured out that I could not drink anymore! I realized that that there is an atmosphere surrounding alcohol that is not conducive to the Christian life. Usually when alcohol is present, there is a feeling of frivolity and carelessness that lends to carnality.
There are many occasions in the Bible in which the use of wine is connected with bad decision making and drunkenness (which leads to debauchery). In the Bible, drunkenness is considered a negative state. (Gen, 9:21, I Sam. 25:36-37, Isa. 28:1, Jer. 23:9). Need I mention what happened when Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him? (See Gen. 19:30-33) Isaiah 5:22 offers a woe to “those who are heroes at drinking wine, and champions at mixing drinks“. And, Proverbs 31 says, “It is not for kings, O Lemuel-not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what the law decrees, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.”
In Jeremiah 35, is the story of the Recabites who refused to drink wine when offered to them by Jeremiah. They refused because they had obeyed the command of their forefather, Jonadab, who told them they nor any of their descendants should ever drink wine. (read Jer. 35 for the entire command). Because they were so strong in their conviction and obeyed their forefather’s command, the LORD said this about the Recabites, ” You have obeyed the command of your forefather Jonadab and have followed all his instructions and have done every thing he ordered. Therefore, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel says: ‘Jonadab son of Recab will never fail to have a man serve me.” The Lord honored their conviction and held them up as a example to the Israelites of a people who could listen and obey, which the Israelites had a hard time doing, to say the least. My husband and I have adopted this story as a personal challenge in our lives and considered ourselves “spiritual Recabites“, if you will.
So, I know you are probably thinking, “but Jesus drank wine”. My response would be, Jesus was perfect! He had control over how much he drank and of course he was sinless, so he was able to drink wine and not sin.
Also, I know some of you are thinking, “I drink in front of my kids, because I want them to see that I can drink in a responsible way.” My husband and I take the view that we are teaching our children that they can have strong convictions about something and stand against it despite society’s strong influence to contrary. Isn’t it better to teach children how to stand up against something that is potentially destructive?
OK, now you are probably thinking, “I can control my drinking. I like to enjoy a nice glass of wine with my wife(or husband) at dinner, what’s wrong with that?” This is were we get a little subjective. Yes, you may be able to “control” your drinking, but can you measure the point at which your judgement becomes impaired? Is it after one sip, one glass, two glasses? I would challenge you to think about the attitude that surrounds drinking and how the World views drinking. As I said earlier, there is often an atmosphere of frivolity that surrounds the use of alcohol (don’t get me wrong, I am not against having fun), but is it Spirit filled fun (with a capital “S”) or spirit filled fun (with a lower case “s”)? Just a few thoughts to consider.
So, that’s why I don’t drink. First, the Bible clearly shows that nothing good comes from drunkenness. Next, I want to model in front of my kids the ability to stand strong against a potentially destructive drug. And, since I can’t measure at what point my judgement becomes impaired, I don’t want to play with something that has control over me! I desire to be Spirit controlled, not spirit controlled!