Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
The New Living Translation says – ‘Wine produces mockers…’ The influence of alcohol often causes many who use it to do foolish things. Several years ago the U.S. Department of Justice reported that 40% of the violent crimes committed each year involve the use of alcohol. This is not to say that every person who drinks a glass of wine is going to commit a violent crime. However, it does show us that alcohol can have a very negative affect upon those who use it. Consider this story of a man named Noah. The Bible says that after the flood Noah planted a vineyard. Then we read – “He drank some wine he had made, and he became drunk and lay naked inside his tent.” (Genesis 9:21 NLT) Did Noah plan on getting drunk? I’m sure he didn’t. He was a righteous man. Many believe that fermentation was possible only after the flood and therefore Noah did not realize what alcohol could do to him. We could say that the effects of the alcohol crept up on him and before he knew it, he was intoxicated and began to things he would not otherwise do.
I have chosen to practice total abstinence from alcohol and here is why:
1. To Keep My Mind Clear for the Things of God
Scripture teaches us that neither priests nor kings were permitted to drink alcohol during the days of the Bible.
Leviticus 10:8 And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “Drink no wine or strong drink, you or your sons with you, when you go into the tent of meeting, lest you die… 10 You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean… ESV
Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, 5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Though I am neither a priest nor a king, I do desire to be a man of God. Paul tells me to not be under the influence of alcohol, but instead to be under the influence of the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit… NLT
2. To Avoid Anything That Might Cause Someone Else to Stumble
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:9 “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.” (ESV) Sometimes the question for Christians is not so much – ‘Can I do it?’, but ‘Should I do it? Will doing this have a negative or a positive effect upon me or others?’ Scripture teaches us that we should never do anything that could hurt the cause of Christ. How will drinking hurt the cause of Christ?
I am a pastor. I am a Christian leader. Therefore, I believe that almost everyone (whether Christian or non-Christian) who knows that I am a pastor and who would see using alcohol would have some question about my spiritual integrity. To me, honoring Christ in all I do is more important than practicing spiritual freedom.
I close this important study with these words from the Apostle Paul –
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV)