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Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse

By J. Stephen Lang -- In recent years people have become more conscious of alcohol and other substance abuse. In spite of our growing awareness of the personal and social harm that is done, we seem to be losing the drug war, and alcoholism is on the rise.

What does the Bible say about such practices? Well, you will search in vain for a verse that says, "Don't drink alcohol, period." And the Bible says nothing whatsoever about illegal drugs, since they weren't available in Bible times. But the Bible does have much to say about any substance that harms us mentally and spiritually. Happily, it also has much to say about the alternatives to a chemical high.

Wine produces mockers; liquor leads to brawls. Whoever is led astray by drink cannot be wise.

Proverbs 20:1

Those who love pleasure become poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches.

Proverbs 21:17

Do not carouse with drunkards and gluttons, for they are on their way to poverty. Too much sleep clothes a person with rags.

Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. Don't let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper. You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. And you will say, "They hit me, but I didn't feel it. I didn't even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can have another drink?"

Proverbs 23:20-21, 29-35

Destruction is certain for you who get up early to begin long drinking bouts that last late into the night.

Destruction is certain for those who are heroes when it comes to drinking, who boast about all the liquor they can hold. They take bribes to pervert justice. They let the wicked go free while punishing the innocent.

Therefore, they will all disappear like burning straw. Their roots will rot and their flowers wither, for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty. They have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 5:11, 22-24

Watch out! Don't let me find you living in careless ease and drunkenness, and filled with the worries of this life. Don't let that day catch you unaware, as in a trap. For that day will come upon everyone living on the earth.

Luke 21:34

Those who belong to the Kingdom of God should lead a life that reflects what God desires for his people. Paul makes it clear that this does not include altering our mind and behavior with chemical substances instead of finding our fulfillment in God.

We should be decent and true in everything we do, so that everyone can approve of our behavior. Don't participate in wild parties and getting drunk, or in adultery and immoral living, or in fighting and jealousy.

Romans 13:13

Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.

Ephesians 5:18

The Book of God's Promises -- Copyright, 1999 by J. Stephen Lang. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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