Growing up, you probably heard the many anti-drug messages before. "Just say no!" was drilled into our heads in health class. For some, though, that message doesn't quiet get across. Instead of accepting that drugs are harmful for the body, they become curious and wonder if it really could be fun to try. It's only a little bit of fun, they think. They see others who try marijuana or the like that still are successful in school or their careers. What’s the harm then?
Unfortunately for millions that idea that drugs can be used recreationally for a good time doesn't pan out the way they want it to. Their casual drug use starts having devastating consequences, and next thing they know they are a full blown addict. They start to lose their friends, family, career, finances, and even their relationship with God.
Addiction is a scary process to navigate, but it's not one that has to be done alone. Whether you are an addict yourself or know someone that is, you can find guidance and strength from Scripture. Here is what the Bible has to say about drug addiction.
What the Bible Does Not Say
Surprisingly, the Bible actually doesn't address any form of illegal drug use at all. There are no explicit prohibitions against marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. They don't even mention meth, acid, or magic mushrooms. The Bible doesn't speak about snorting, injecting, or any of the different avenues of ingestion either. This can lead many people to dismiss the Bible right off the bat, because they believe it doesn't readily apply to our modern times.
However the Bible doesn't mention addiction, either. This was all because at the time the Bible was written, these words didn't exist. However God saw the future and He knew what was to come. While He did not come out right saying that smoking cannabis was harmful, He was sure to include several clear Biblical principles that would lead us to believe that drugs are outside the realm of acceptable behavior.
The Importance of Following the Law
First and foremost, the Bible instructs us to obey the laws of the land (Ecclesiastes 8:2-5; Matthew 22:21; 23:2-3; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17). This means following all the laws of our country, despite weather or not we agree with them. The only exception to this rule is if a law goes against divine imperatives (Daniel 3 and 6; Acts 5:29). Drug use, however, does not meet this guideline.
Marijuana is one drug that gets brought up a lot when this point is argued, because other devices such as nicotine and alcohol are legal. However, we cannot break the law simply because it doesn't match up with what we would rather the laws to be. Christ Himself followed laws that He did not agree with. He even had His disciples submit to the unfair laws that Pharisees created (Matthew 23:1-36). God's standard for us is to submit to authority and be patient through suffering and perceived unfairness (1 Peter 2:18-23).
Treating Our Bodies as a Temple
Christians are instructed to be good stewards of everything God has given us, and that includes our earthly bodies. Using drugs not only destroys our physical bodies, it ruins our mental and emotional health too. Long-term drug use can cause a whole host of problems, including cancer, depression, anxiety, COPD, and the like.
Furthermore, our bodies are not our own. We "have been bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not "with perishable things like silver or gold...but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:17-19). Christ gave up His own life for us, so that we could be born into something new. We are walking temples that serve a living God. Therefore, making sure we stay in the best shape possible both mentally and physically is a part of obeying God.
Keeping Our Minds Unaltered
Scripture may not talk about specific drugs, but it does instruct us to avoid getting any buzz that alters our state of mind. For example, the apostle Paul writes, "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). The principal behind this passage is to stay away from things that will distort your thoughts, make you vulnerable to committing sin, and weaken your logical reasoning. All drugs cause us to stray away from God and be more open to temptations of the enemy. Proverbs 23:32-33 continue this by saying, "In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things".
God Can Heal Our Pain
Many people turn to drugs because they want relief from the pain of their lives. They think the only way they can escape is through the use of mind altering substances. The Bible, though, wants us to give God our pain and have Him help us through our troubles. It can be easier said than done, but God does not give up on us and has inscribed each of us on the palms of His hands (Isaiah 46:15-16). He is there for us through everything, even when we might feel like the world has completely abandoned us.
Drug addiction can destroy the lives of those it takes, but there is hope for recovery. Through God, Scripture and outside support (rehabilitation centers, therapy, and the like), anyone can overcome the pain of addiction. Scripture can help us learn how we can turn our pain over to God, instead of burying ourselves in mind-altering substances.