I have searched the whole Bible seeking God's heart on the issue of alcohol. I don't think God is going to strike anyone down for sipping a little pinot noir on a Friday evening on her front porch with her husband by the soft light of a citronella candle and some vintage Sting music while sharing a plate of cheese and crackers and enjoying some pleasant marital conversation.
Just hypothetically saying.
But what does that look like to the world? What does it communicate to the neighbors? What does it say when we put alcohol in our grocery cart in public? Or park our car in a liquor store parking lot? What does it say to our children to see that beverage in the house, to smell it on our breath, or for people in our community to see us drinking at a restaurant?
Ultimately it can say that we Christians are no different from the world.
So Timothy my man? We hear you that a little sip of something might be all right. Jesus said at the Last Supper that the wine represented His blood shed for us so there's that. If you read carefully though, the word "wine" is not used there, only "fruit of the vine." We'll leave it up to theologians to duke out whether the reference could mean something like juice. And yes Jesus turned water to wine at that wedding, but y'all I'm convinced He was highly annoyed with his mother over that. He did it not because He was up for some bubbly (pop a cork, dudes! par-tay), but no, it was out of reluctant obedience to His mother.
We need to exercise caution and realize the Bible says mannnnny times that strong drink is dangerous and is associated with a life of worthlessness. The beverages are called "spirits" for a reason, people. Even mild drunkenness removes the awareness of The Spirit, the Holy Spirit from us for a while -- scary thought. Removing the Holy Spirit from a believer is like taking a compass away from a sailor. It's taking a pilot's instruments away mid-flight. It's taking away my sheet music when I'm doing a very bad job of trying to play the EZ beginner version of Linus and Lucy on the piano. It all adds up to cacophony and disaster.
Have you ever done or said anything you regretted when you had been drinking alcohol? Has drinking ever come back to bite you? God thought it might: "Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth..." Proverbs 23:31. Advertisements and magazines sure can make drinking seem relaxing and fun, and even seem like a reward for our hard work, but the Bible says that in the end it comes back to bite and sting.
Song of Solomon says, "Eat, drink and imbibe deeply" to the romantic married couple. This book of the Bible is very poetic and the drinking might just be an allegory, although it does specifically mention wine. Taken literally, I believe it could be saying alcohol is a romance within marriage thing that God is okay with and has His blessing.
This brings us to another issue with drinking though. If we don't limit alcohol to an occasional romantic part of our marriage, and we drink socially with friends, what kind of people are we going to be hanging with? Are these relationships edifying for us, or are these essentially just drinking buddies? I knoweth not. I simply pose the question to all of us: "Are these my people?" As in: Are These? My People? We should ask ourselves that and feel really warm and fuzzy inside about the answer.
As the Proverbs warn us, we are all susceptible to overdoing it and slipping into drunkenness or even addiction, which is with certainty going to make our flesh vulnerable and, as a not so happy side effect, will make God quite wroth. Sewwww many times in the Bible, the people who tended to gravitate toward strong drink were the ones getting defeated left and right by the alert and sharp posse. The drinkers are the ones getting taken advantage of and made fools out of. You just get this vibe -- you get this vibel from the Bible -- that alcohol is generally inconsistent with being a strong Godly chick. In listing the attributes of a Godly woman, the Bible lists among them the word "sober." The scriptures say for us believers to not have a "party spirit."
You'll notice what I am not taking into consideration in this discussion of alcohol. Someone might think along the lines of one or more of the following:
- My uncle's heavy drinking has ruined his family and frankly the guy gives me the creeps, so I'm never going to drink.
- My sister who teaches Sunday School says it's okay to drink, so I drink.
- My pastor says only low-life bums drink, so I'm never going to drink and as a bonus I'll be frosty cold to my husband if he even thinks about cracking open a beer while he watches the game on ESPN.
- Southern Living Magazine says cool people tail-gate and talk sophisticated bartender lingo, so I drink.
- Some triumphant chick who writes blogs got me all confused, and now I don't know if I'm thinkin or I'm drinkin.
No, no, no. Other people can give us clues or warning signs. But I believe we each need to base all of our beliefs and therefore our behavior 100 percent on what we find in the Bible. All wisdom is found right there in that Book. "What does God want my life to look like?" needs to be the genuine cry of our hearts. Some issues like adultery and stealing are pretty dang consistent in the Bible as being no-no's. I hope to inspire you to search the Bible and come to your own conclusions about alcohol, which might be different from mine and that's totally cool.
Here is my rather unofficial yet Biblically based conclusion on alcohol, for myself personally:
A glass of wine could be all right with God every now and then, maybe, possibly, sort of, as a special romantic treat in private with my hubs. However, alcohol is like Oreos. If I never eat the first Oreo, I'll never eat 16 of them.