Christians can have a few shots of vodka once in a while, right? They can take an extra pill just this one time because it’s prescribed by their doctor, right? This is completely wrong, and leads Christians down a dangerous path.
The Bible has a lot to say about intoxication, sobriety and intentionally harming the body. God was clear about the negative effects and consequence of drugs and alcohol, and made sure to talk about them clearly in His Word. If you are someone who struggles with these vices, the Bible can give you clear instructions on how God wants us to handle them.
What the Bible Says About Alcohol
When Christians try and legitimize alcohol, they refer back to the first miracle of Jesus where he turned gallons of water into wine for a wedding celebration. By this act, we can assume that alcohol does have some acceptable uses. I was used at celebrations and occasions (John 2:9) and also drank at the last supper.
However drunkenness is repeatedly brought up in the Bible as being unacceptable. It forbids drunkenness, and the use of what we might call fortified wine, or a drink that is designed to get someone drunk (Proverbs 23:29-35). The abuses of wine begin early in the Bible, with Noah getting drunk and then being seen in a shameful state (Genesis 9:20-27). Then there was Lot, whose two daughters got him drunk because it was only in this state that he would sin as he did (Genesis 19:30-38). Over and over in the Bible the use of alcohol is seen as that which causes one to set aside good judgment.
Furthermore, in Matthew 24:36-51 Jesus shares a parable relating to His return. He says that those who have been faithful and wise will rejoice with Him in heaven, but those that live in corruption and parties and drunkards will pay the price. The Apostle Paul further referenced in Ephesians 5:18, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the spirit.”
Alcohol can severely impact our judgment and impacts our self-control. If we want to live by the Spirit, the way Jesus did, we need to show self-control and be sober-minded in our behavior. In I Peter chapter 4, there are references that Christians should not be drunk like the non-believers, and stay focused in Jesus. Recognizing how vitally important one’s mind is, Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart [mind] with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”
Christians are commanded to present their bodies to God as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6). We are not to live in drunkenness as we did before Jesus (1 Peter 4:1-5). We are to bring our bodies under control, and not to be controlled by our bodily appetites (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). We are to learn from the failures of the ancient Israelites (1 Corinthians 10:1-13), who gave in to their appetites for drink.
What the Bible Says About Drugs
While the Bible has a lot to say about alcohol and wine, it’s less direct about drugs. The effect of drugs on the mind and body are similar to that of alcohol, so we can apply many of the same teachings. In several places throughout the Bible we are warned of the negative consequences of altering our minds. In 1 Peter 2:11, we are to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against our soul. Therefore, anything that causes us to destroy ourselves should be avoided. This could be interpreted as drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, gluttony and the like.
Another issue is that drugs can damage our health. God wants everyone to have a good physical life (John 10:10; 3 John 2). He wants us to love and respect our bodies, and the Bible says our bodies are to be temples for His Spirit. To treat our bodies well is to give glory and respect to God who made it (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
As Christians, we are also called to respect the laws of the land. The effects from illegal drugs and abuse of prescription medication are obviously against the law of man. Therefore as a Christian and citizen it is wrong to partake, and we are to respect the laws of the land. God has put people in government positions to make choices for the better of mankind.
Many Christians try to rationalize the use of alcohol and drugs, giving excuses that it is “only one time” or “everyone is doing it.” However the Bible is firm on how alcohol should be used appropriately, and the dangers of drugs. God wants us to live a happy and healthy life both physically and mentally, and drugs and alcohol can rip us away from that blessing. Christians should pay attention to God’s Word and avoid getting into situations where drugs and alcohol are involved.