Erin Answers a Reader's Question About Drinking
I was asked a question recently: “Okay I kinda have a controversial question. Is it okay for Christians to drink alcohol as long as they don't get drunk? Are there any verses that condemn drinking? I know there are some verses that condemn drunkenness but I don't know if it's bad or not to drink a few sips. I'm 15 and I don't drink but someone at my church has a few drinks and doesn't get drunk and I'm wondering if anyone out there has found any verses or anything about this topic.”
She’s right. There are several verses in the Bible on the topic of drunkenness (Check out Proverbs 23:21, Romans 13:13, 1 Corinthians 6:10, Galatians 5:20-22, Ephesians 5:18, and 1 Timothy 3:2-4). She’s also right that it is possible to drink alcohol without getting drunk. So does the Bible allow drinking without drunkenness? We don’t even have to go there to answer this question.
Check out 1 Corinthians 10:31-33:
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Is drinking God-glorifying? Is it a habit that has the potential to cause others to stumble? If you wanted to you might be able to defend drinking alcohol (except when underage as God’s Word urges us to follow the laws of the land in verses like Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13). But Paul urges us to consider the impact our actions have on others. Does drinking have the potential to trip up fellow believers and non-Christians in your sphere of influence? You betcha.
Let’s apply this principle elsewhere. What if you’ve chosen an outfit that seems modest by your standards, but a Christian brother mentions that it stirs up feelings of lust? You have a choice. You can either defend your outfit and point out all the reasons why it is modest, or you can change it out of respect for the stumbling brother.
The same principle can be applied to your entertainment choices. You might be able to listen to music with questionable lyrics without allowing them to seep into your thoughts. It’s true, there is no Bible verse that says “You must only listen to Christian music!” But what about the siblings that also hear those tunes as they blast from your stereo? What about the non-Christian friends who listen to your music choices while riding in your car? You might be able to defend your choices Biblically, but wouldn’t it be better to stay above reproach in order to protect minds and ears of others who may be listening.
As often the case with the Christian faith, God doesn’t simply give us a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to questions like this. That’s because He’s most interested in the motivation of our hearts.
1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."
I want you to live out your faith as if others are watching and waiting for you to point them toward Jesus (because they probably are). Don’t look for opportunities to live like the world and ignore the eyes that are on you. Follow Paul’s example: “I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.”
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