I’m 26 years old and I’ve never had a drop of alcohol of any kind in my life. That’s right, I have never had a drink. Not once in high school. Not once in college. And I don’t plan to start. I realize I’m in the minority of adults (and teenagers for that matter) who don’t currently drink and have no desire to drink, and I probably always will be. I realize that most people, even Christians, probably think I’m crazy, prudish, uptight, or narrow-minded. I realize that my convictions about alcohol are not most people’s convictions. I realize that Jesus drank wine and provided wine for the wedding at Cana. I realize that Paul encouraged Timothy to drink wine. I realize all of that. I believe that Christians have been granted immense freedom because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. I believe that because of that freedom, we are allowed to do certain things as Christians without fear of condemnation (Paul addresses this issue in 1 Corinthians 10). But I also believe that many Christians today are more worried about the freedoms they have and being allowed to do what pleases them than they are about doing what pleases God. If you are a Christian and you like to have a glass of wine with dinner or like to hit up the local brewery, I don’t believe you are in sin or anything close to it and please don’t accuse me of that because it is simply not true. I believe that is a freedom that you have been granted as a follower of Christ. When alcohol consumption becomes sinful is when it leads to an altered state of mind – when the alcohol begins to control your thoughts, words, and actions instead of the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14). In light of all of this, I still don’t ever plan to drink alcohol and here are some reasons why:
- Having the freedom in Christ to do something doesn’t mean we should. Just because “all things are lawful” doesn’t mean that all things will build up.
- I cannot be controlled by Christ’s love if I am controlled by alcohol.
- I don’t want to be a stumbling block to anyone – either a potential follower of Christ or a young follower of Christ. This is especially relevant for me because I am a Pastor.
- Alcohol doesn’t improve anything – Not my life, my relationships, my health, my mind, or my walk with God.
- How is having a drink going to please God? It may not displease him necessarily, but how does it strengthen your relationship with God?
- Drinking won’t draw me closer to God and won’t draw others closer to God.
- I have seen alcohol ruin many of my friends and their lives.
- I have lost friends to alcohol. A friend of mine killed himself when he was drunk. We were both 16 when he committed suicide.
- Drinking, even if just to “have a good time” provides false, fake joy. Only Christ can provide true joy and freedom from the pain of life.
- Alcohol is addictive and expensive and is not a good use of my time or money. Drinking causes many people to become poor stewards of God’s grace and the gifts that he has given to them.
- Alcohol can destroy people, friendships, marriages, and life itself in the most tragic scenarios.
- Intoxication of any degree can lead to poor choices with severe consequences.
- Drinking “in moderation” is rare. If you do it healthily, more power to you. Most people are not capable of it.
- If you say, “I never get drunk” or “I like the taste” or even “It doesn’t affect me”, what is the point? There are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks that aren’t mind-altering depressants that taste good too. I like Sprite. And Gatorade.
- No amount of alcohol will ever satisfy the soul. It is a slippery slope into darker places.
- Life is NOT more fun with alcohol. And if you think it is, you realize that means that you don’t know to have real, godly fun without the help of a drug, right?
- Alcohol can wreck your body – even if drunk in moderation. Sure, I’ve heard the “A little red wine with dinner is good for your health” argument. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. I’m not a doctor and you can find both expert opinions online. But having a protein shake and eating an apple are good for your health too. There are non-alcoholic alternatives.
- If you think being a Christian that drinks will somehow help you connect with or share the gospel with non-believers, it most likely won’t. And when was the last time you shared the gospel with someone over a beer? Again, if you actually have, more power to you. But I’m pretty sure you could’ve shared the gospel with that person while sipping on a Diet Coke too. If anything, not drinking has given me more opportunities to explain my beliefs to people and why I don’t drink.
- Christians are called to stand out, not blend in. The fact is, not drinking helps you stand out, which can help give you a gospel platform.
- It is one more potential idol that could distract me from Christ.
Again, let me be clear. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a Christian (who is of legal age of course) having a drink. I won’t hold it against you. I won’t look down on you. I don’t think I’m holier than you or more Christian than you. Alcoholic abstinence is simply my personal conviction, which I have explained above. Just because we have the freedom to do things as believers, doesn’t mean we should and it doesn’t mean it will help draw us closer to Christ – which should always be more important to a Christian than their freedoms. All of my reasons above can be summarized in reason 6: Drinking won’t draw me closer to God and won’t draw others closer to God. To me, it is as simple as that.
I want to hear you on this. Please keep it civil.
What are your thoughts?