One of the most commonly abused substances by Christian teenagers, is alcohol. The reason is that alcohol is so readily available, and after all, most parents use alcohol openly at home and out in public (daily in most cases). So if that is so surely it must be OK? Well let me say firstly that alcohol is not as harmless as most teenagers would like to suggest. Of course, they are hardly experts, and the easy access to alcohol and the fact that many parents and Christian homes allow (if not encourage) their children to drink alcohol with the family at meals from the age of 14 is a problem.
So back to the question about sin. Surely there is nothing in the Bible that says taking alcohol is a sin? After all Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine. Why would Jesus do that if alcohol is evil?
From the first book of the Old Testament onward, people who got drunk are condemned as examples of behavior to avoid. In every instance, a bad consequence resulted. Noah is the earliest mention (Genesis 9:21), followed by Nabal, Uriah the Hittite, Elah, Ben-hadad, Belshazzar, and people in Corinth.
Verses that denounce drunkenness say it leads to other moral lapses, such as sexual immorality and laziness. Further, drunkenness clouds the mind and makes it impossible to worship God and act in a respectable manner:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21, NIV)
The Bible does not prohibit the consumption of alcohol but leaves that choice up to the individual.
Opponents argue against drinking by quoting the terrible effects of alcohol addiction, such as divorce, job loss, traffic accidents, breakup of families, and destruction of the addict’s health.
As with other issues not specifically spelled out in Scripture, the decision whether to drink alcohol is something each person must wrestle with on their own, consulting the Bible and taking the matter to God in prayer.
In 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, Paul sets down the principle we should use in such cases:
“Everything is permissible”-but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible”-but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. (NIV)
The reason alcohol abuse is so rife in teenagers is that they are not yet at an age where they can manage their intake. Many teens go out to drink to get drunk. The problem with getting intoxicated is that it dulls your senses, and it leaves girls vulnerable to sexual exploitation and it makes boys more bold and more likely to do things they would not normally do sober. The consequences of our behaviour when intoxicated can lead to physical hurt, harming other people and property and even ending up in jail.
How many families have been robbed of loved ones by someone else getting into a motor vehicle and driving under the influence? God is not honoured by you when you behave badly. If you have an addictive personality I would urge you to not drink alcohol at all. This is one of those issues that is always best left for later in life. There is plenty of time to drink when you are in your twenties.
Christian parents, do not encourage alcohol at home. There is no evidence that suggests that children are less likely to binge drink when they are allowed to drink at home. The fear is that if we ban alcohol our children will do it behind our backs. If you need to stop drinking while your children are teenagers, it would be a small sacrifice for the blessing of your family.
If you have a problem with alcohol, please seek help. Don’t think that it is something that will come right on its own or that you will outgrow. Decide to honour God in everything you do.