I grew up in a family of Italian heritage and my grandfathers were wine makers. I grew up under the “Everything in moderation is OK philosophy” but ended up crossing that line frequently. Practicing moderation in drinking was not a sufficient precaution against the dangers in alcohol. My experience was that every time I turned to alcohol for the thrill to my senses, joy, or feeling it gave I was training my mind to go to a substance or something other than God. It then lead me to having to do more and more to acquire the same feeling because tolerance to alcohol demands an increase in the amount ingested to maintain the desired effect. I am happy to report that the sanctifying power in the Word of God (John 17:17) alone was enough to deliver me from the bondage to alcohol.
I’d like you to know from the outset that it will be fairly obvious where I personally have chosen to stand on the issue of alcohol but I realize people will differ. We cannot bind others to our conscience that gives each of us the convictions we have but did you ever think a person’s conscience could lack knowledge or be uninformed? This is not a pet peeve of mine nor a soap box sermon issue I trumpet every chance I get but I’ve seen more Christians caught up in drinking and getting drunk in the last 5 years or so than in the last 30 years of ministry combined. Honestly, it is obvious that the drinking in moderation philosophy has not restrained them. I believe as Romans 14:17-19 says “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. 19 Let us follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith we may edify another.”
Addiction means dependence and there are two ways a person can be dependent on alcohol: they may begin by having a psychological dependence and later develop a physical dependence in addition. Alcohol addiction has three components: intoxication, regular use and dependence. With alcohol addiction the central problem is the desire or craving to use it. If you are a drinker I ask can you celebrate holidays or events without it or do you fear the prospect of stopping the drinking behavior? Do you have difficulty imagining the holiday or event without alcohol? If you do, you might be addicted. The truth of the matter is that our flesh always capitalizes on the yieldedness to the little and uses it as a lever to open the door to more yieldedness as Romans 6:19 says, “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” First Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” Something might be lawful but is it profitable or advantageous? Some things can be a power over us, ruling us, like an addiction. Some things shouldn’t be judged just by, “It’s not that bad,” but by “What good is it?”
Jesus said wisdom is justified of her children or the wisdom of something is proven true or right by its offspring, its fruit, or what it produces (Luke 7:35). Every Christian needs to check out the statistics of damaging incidents involving alcohol that reveal the dangers and evaluate the children/offspring/fruit of alcoholic intoxication. Is there any wisdom influencing your conviction or view?
# 1 killer of people under age 25
the #3 killer in America for all ages
70% of all murders
66% of fatal auto accidents
60% of sex crimes on children
56% of fights and assaults in homes
55% of all arrests
53% of fire deaths
50% of all rapes
50% of traffic accidents killing 25,000 and injuring 1,000,000 a year
50% of skiing accidents
45% of drowning accidents
41% of all assaults
37% of all suicides
36% of pedestrian accidents
22% of home accidents
I personally do not want to participate in something that has contributed to the destruction of so many lives. Ephesians 5:11-12 says, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”
Parents who drink need to be cautioned and know their behavior is what draws the line in the conscience of their children of what is acceptable vs. what is sinful. 52% of today’s alcoholics had alcoholic parents. Know for sure that whatever a parent allows even in moderation their child will likely do in excess. Do you ever think of the potential harm to your son’s or daughter’s thinking? There is no way to drink even in moderation without encouraging others to drink by the example that is seen and even if a person avoids drunkenness and serious harm to his own body he must come to terms with the effects of his drinking upon other people (Romans 14:13).
I’ve often heard the argument that alcohol is physically harmless up to a point and that there is a point of consumption known as pleasure zone. In this pleasure zone, the positive effects exceed the negative at concentrations typically between .030–0.059% blood alcohol content, but the contrary becomes true at higher volumes (0.08% and above). If alcoholic beverages are in and of themselves wholesome and physically harmless and the only issue is just about over indulging why do we recommend pregnant women not to drink and that alcohol shouldn’t be given to infants? Does the pleasure zone not apply to them?