I don’t drink.
- Not because I think it is a sin.
- Not because I think it is a forbidden practice.
- Not because the bible says so.
I know that Jesus turned water into wine. I know that the bible doesn’t say THOU SHALT NOT DRINK ALCOHOL. I know that Paul actually told the young minster Timothy to have some wine to make him feel better.
But here’s my story, I don’t drink because it was part of the old man (or girl) that I put to death Romans 6 style.
The first time I got drunk I was 13 years old and in the 8th grade. A group of my junior high friends took turns having sleepovers where we raided liquor cabinets, got older siblings to buy it for us or, when we really got lucky, found a parent who practiced the “I’d rather you be safe” policy and let us drink in her house.
I spent the next three years chasing the buzz.
I also spent those three years in complete rebellion to my own parents. I was constantly in trouble at school and occasionally with the law. I got into fights. I ran with a crowd that was into a lot worse things than booze. With no thought, I gave myself away.
I suppose I was trying to numb the pain. It was easier to get wasted than to deal with feeling alone and rejected.
Wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls. Those led astray by drink cannot be wise. Prov. 20:1
When I met Jesus for the first time, I mean really met him, I decided I needed him. I knew I needed his forgiveness. I knew I needed his healing. So I resigned my will, my ways, my life and my choices to him.
I was baptized.
I became a new creature. I didn’t just a get a new perspective or a new attitude. I got a new life. I got a second chance.
I killed the old man. I didn’t kill her kill her. That’s not what Jesus asks for. He simply asks for our body to be a living sacrifice honoring his sacrifice for us.
So in May of 1992, when I became a new creature, at 16 years old, I laid the drink down and never picked it up again.
Today I might be able to drink a glass of wine with no trouble. I am a different person. But I don’t. I don’t because God has opened the door for me to minister to other people who were hurting like I was. I don’t because I am never sure which one of them is numbing the pain or chasing the buzz. I don’t because I never know which one of them is watching me. I don’t because I can’t always see which one is struggling to put the drink down.
And the truth is, I never want to be the reason that they didn’t.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has strife? Who has complaints?
Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes?
Those who linger over wine,
who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.
Do not gaze at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup,
when it goes down smoothly!
In the end it bites like a snake
and poisons like a viper.
Your eyes will see strange sights,
and your mind will imagine confusing things.
You will be like one sleeping on the high seas,
lying on top of the rigging.
“They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt!
They beat me, but I don’t feel it!
When will I wake up
so I can find another drink?” Proverbs 23:29-35