I knew what I was doing those first couple years of college. I would party on Saturday, and be hungover at church on Sunday. One Sunday I distinctly remember being in tears before God. Completely ashamed of the life I was living. I knew being drunk was wrong, but had no clear explanation why.
“Jesus did it.” My college roommate would exclaim just before he guzzled down a glass of wine. Justifying drunkenness through Jesus is problematic, but the overall concept can be confusing. Jesus did drink right? Why do some Christians drink and others don’t? Is a glass of wine with dinner ok, or is alcohol in a Christian’s life forbidden?
I grew up without a drop of liquor in the home, but later in life found Christian friends hosting “Bible and beer” nights. While personal opinions on the subject will always vary, God has clearly shown me how I should live my life. Not pressured by the opinions of those around me, but shaped by His word. A few indisputable verses and wisdom from a close friend gave me clarity.
In 1 Timothy 5:23 Paul writes a letter to the young leader of Ephesus stating,
“No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.”
“Ok rajah. So pop da bottles.” Hold up… My Pastor on Oʻahu used to say, “Content plus context equals meaning.” In context to the time period, there was no water purification system. Now days we can, for the most part, drink safely from the tap. In Bible times the water was not pure, and would cause sickness. Moderate amounts of wine were added to water, which helped eliminate some of the harmful substances. For Timothy wine was not for recreation, but a requirement. So the Bible does condone a form of drinking, and it’s clear on drunkenness.
In Ephesians 5:18 Paul states,
“And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”Instead of being filled with wine, we are given the directive to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly condemns drunkenness without reservation. It states that being drunk is “dissipation” or a waste. Why be filled with alcohol when you can be filled with the living water of Jesus.
We do see some leeway. The Bible condones drinking, but condemns drunkenness. What choice will you make? Personally I choose not to partake because of 1 Corinthians 10:23-24 which states,
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.”
A good friend of mine helped bring this verse into perspective. He is a high school wrestling coach, and spends lots of time with kids. He told me “I used to drink. I thought there is nothing wrong with a cold beer and a good burger… But then God brought a question to my mind. What if a kid asks me if I drink? How can I tell them I do, but they shouldn’t? So I stopped. I want to definitively tell them, that I don’t and they shouldn’t either”
Will your buzz cause confusion for another believer? I want to live a life that doesn’t confuse, but confirms what a heart after Jesus looks like. While you can make the decision for yourself, I will gladly choose to limit my freedoms. I’ll lay down the things I don’t need to magnify the King of kings, and point the world toward Him.
My hope is that Hilinaʻi: The Believer’s Blog will be a way I can share what God has done in my life, and what God is doing right now! If you’ve stumbled across this and have any questions or thoughts please reach out to us! We hope to connect with you!
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