Under Control or Out of Control
Bible Reading: Proverbs 23:29-35
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you—Ephesians 5:18
Do you have friends who constantly try to make you a poster child for a “Got Beer?” ad campaign? Do they say things like, “So why don’t you go drinking with us?” or “Come on, there’s no harm in a little brew. You might like it”?
When people ride you hard because you don’t drink, what can you say to make them back off?
Tell them it’s not fear that keeps you from drinking. It’s brains. Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
Here are some of the consequences that people who drink stumble into: After heart disease and cancer, alcoholism is America’s largest health problem. It affects 10 million people, costs $60 billion, and is implicated in 200,000 deaths annually. Alcohol is involved in 50 percent of deaths by motor vehicle and fire, 67 percent of murders, and 33 percent of suicides. It contributes to death in some cancers and to scores of diseases of the endocrine, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and nervous systems. Research says the suicide rate of alcoholics is between six and 20 times higher than that of the general population.
That’s some scary evidence—so scary that if alcohol were presented for legalization as a drug today, it wouldn’t be approved. And there are more ill effects. Physically, alcohol can damage your liver, put undue stress on your heart, and impair your memory. Emotionally, it can create anxiety, cause you embarrassment from stupid behavior, and cause family hassles, guilt, and poor self-image. Alcohol destroys your freedom by limiting your ability to make right decisions and act on them.
If you want a personality makeover, drinking does a bang-up job. Some shy people become the life of the party once they get drunk. Others try to kill themselves. So if you really want a personality makeover, try Ephesians 5:18 instead. Coming under the influence of either alcohol or the Holy Spirit will cause you to act differently. You might not know what alcohol will make you do, but you can be sure how the Holy Spirit will make you act—just like Jesus.
Don’t give in to your friends’ pressure. Hold firm. Instead of caving in to their pressure to drink, surrender to the Spirit’s promptings in your life. Let him control you, lead you, and empower you. Your friends will be shocked to see the new you.
REFLECT: How are you going to react when people tease you about not drinking?
PRAY: Pray that you and your friends will seek the control of the Holy Spirit in your lives.
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