Focal Passages: Proverbs 20:1; 23:19-21, 29-35; 31:4-7
Solomon’s descriptions of wine as a “mocker” and strong drink as a “brawler” (Proverbs 20:1) warn us that alcohol will make fools of us and get us in fights we never intended. While some Christians will try to justify “responsible drinking,” whatever that may mean, Solomon warned his son that the way of wisdom would lead him to avoid associating with drunks (Proverbs 23:19-20). Not only will the person who drinks be challenged with identifying his own drunkenness, but he will also likely surround himself with one or more people who will become enslaved by alcohol. Solomon described drunkenness as a snake bite that causes its victims to see strange things and speak perverse things. Such people do not remember what happens when they are drunk (Proverbs 23:29-35).
In Proverbs 31:4-7 King Lemuel’s mother warned him to let the dying and embittered people have the alcohol, but that he must soberly speak on behalf of others. Any Christian who drinks alcohol to relax fails to remember that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, not behavior modification created by a strong drink. That’s why Paul exhorted the Ephesians, “And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit” (5:18). In other words, whatever you’re full of will control you. While alcohol leads to recklessness, the Spirit leads us to the will of God. Even if you never get drunk or hang out with drunks you add nothing to your spiritual life by drinking alcohol. Conversely, you may destroy your witness. I once heard a man say, “The first time I saw [a respected Baptist man] drink a beer it liked to kill me.” While you may scoff and say that offended people just need to grow up, ask yourself, “Am I drinking to benefit me or someone else?” While abstaining from alcohol doesn’t make you righteous before God, partaking of alcohol reveals self-indulgence instead of self-denial (Luke 9:23). Don’t let your selfishness cause a weaker brother or sister in Christ to stumble (Romans 14:21).