Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season

Is it acceptable for a Christian to drink?
The Bible tells us the story of John the Baptist,who was set apart by God from the time he was in his mother’s womb. In Luke 1:15, the angel said of
John, “He will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also
be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb” (NKJV).

John gives us a good model for life: he drank neither wine nor strong drink. Personally, I don’t drink
at all. That is due, to some degree, to coming from an alcoholic home and seeing the devastation that
drinking can bring.

I can’t think of a single good thing that comes from drinking, but I can think of many bad things that
come from it: broken homes, violence, accidents, people killed on the road by drunk drivers, addiction,
destroying your health . . . the list goes on.

Drinking will never make anything better, only worse. Every illustration of drunkenness in the Bible is a

Noah became drunk, and in his nakedness, he acted shamelessly.
Lot became drunk and his daughters committed incest with him.
Belshazzar, in Daniel 5, had a drunken feast and worshipped his false gods. He lost his
kingdom that night.

Many a kingdom, family, career, ministry, and life have been lost through drinking.

“But I have the liberty to drink, Greg!” some would say. I would not completely dispute that. I personally
drink as much as I want to, but I don’t want to drink!

As Paul told the Corinthian believers, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is
beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’—but I will not be mastered by anything” (1 Corinthians 6:12
NIV). I don’t want to be under the power of anyone or anything but Jesus Christ!

Here’s a revolutionary thought: If you don’t drink, you will never get drunk. If you do drink, you may get
drunk. Is it worth the risk?

But here’s another question for you: Could your so-called liberty ever cause another believer to stumble
in their faith? 1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not
become a stumbling block to the weak.”

John never touched alcohol, but was instead “filled with the Spirit.” The Bible says, “Don’t be drunk with
wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18 NLT).

It’s better to be filled with the Spirit than with the spirits.

26 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Drinking in This Holiday Season”

  1. Stephen Enjaian says:

    One year ago before our company Christmas party, a co-worker close to me asked me to sit with him at the restaurant where our party was to be held. He has a lot of trouble from his drunkeness, and wanted to avoid it. He could have sat with others, most of whom claim to be Christians, but who still would be drinking. that would not have been any help to him, and he knew it.

    I say this not to lift up myself because the power is not in me. I am not saying that keeping people from getting drunk is the ultimate purpose for abstaining. I am saying that God uses a consistent life of integrity to get people’s attention. Any drinking tends to compromise that testimony.

    Also, it is interesting to me what the contrast is in Ephesians. Paul does not say, “Do not be drunk with wine, but only drink moderately.”

  2. Steve says:

    I cried out to the Lord over eight plus years ago about my alcoholism and removed the desire completely without fail. Coming from a ravaged home and living a life not pleasing to the Lord has really opened my eyes to how much GOD cares for me, to even think about touching alcohol would not only put me back eight years it would wipeout the testimony of what a powerful and loving GOD I serve. Yeah, we have the free will to choose to do anything we want, but it comes at a price. Praise be to GOD.

  3. Taylor says:

    Thanks to Pastor Greg for this sermonette. I would like to add some things based upon some of the responses. I used to drink also and noticed that everytime I did, no matter what quantity, a spirit of darkness came upon me, not a spirit of light. The Bible says that God is light, there is no darkness in him. The Bible also says that drugs are witchcraft/sorcery and therefore an abomination. Alcohol is a drug, is it not? If it isn’t, what is it? In the book “Alcohol: The Beloved Enemy” it is pointed out that there was a Hebrew word for grape juice, tirosh, was translated from the Old Testament into Greek as “wine”, so in many cases what we read in the Bible as “wine” originally was “grape juice”. The Greek language apparently did not have a separate word for grape juice. In that book the author doesn’t believe that Jesus did drink wine for many reasons, one of which was that high priests under Jewish law were not supposed to drink alcohol, as with John the Baptist. Anyway, a wise person stays away from alcohol if he can, and if he can’t he should ask himself why he can’t. As was pointed out, relying on the Holy Spirit to feel good is the best way.

  4. Dave Bock says:

    Personally I don’t feel as though drinking alcohol is a sin. I also don’t believe that getting drunk is what the Lord would want for any of His children to do. Strangely enough though, as gluttony was mentioned here…very good point!! What about those sins which no Christians ever seem to even think about, much less discuss. Doing unto others as you would have done unto yourself..lying to one another..knowing your brother or sister is in need and you could but don’t choose to do anything…taking advantage of others. Unless there are a whole lot of different people here than the Christians I know, I feel it’s much more important to focus on these huge things. just saying..peace

  5. Sydney Paul says:

    Good on you Pastor Greg. Let us keep the flag of an Holy, Awesome, Powerful, Mighty, Jealous God flying high until He returns.

  6. don says:

    Amen! No good can come from drugs (alcohol is a mind altering drug)
    however; many bad things can and do happen. For anyone that doubts this take a trip to a mission in the inner city.

    Pastor, keep up the good work.

  7. Mike says:

    Just a side note to those who compare alcohol intake and gluttony. Gluttony IS sin. And a sin is a sin is a sin. BUT to Greg’s point, I’ve NEVER read in the newspaper of somebody having too many Big Macs and going home and beating up his wife. Alcohol on the other hand…

  8. Sabrina Carter says:

    Drinking can cause you to not be in control of your body, thus you could drive drunk and kill someone. Over eating only affects you and your body it does not put others in danger.

  9. Doug says:

    Thank You for the story, so many people say well Jesus drank not realizing that the drink of those times was not as strong as today. So many people need to study this topic, by the way, 100% drink free

  10. ruth says:

    when does drinking become being drunk?…..I agree with Pastor Laurie. I do not know what God’s definition of drunk is, so I do not drink anything and never have to worry about whether I am drunk or not. Drinking is not necessary for me to live, it is expensive, and I would rather give my life to the Lord and only be drunk in the Spirit, and give my money to the furtherence of the kingdom. And I agree with him on the fact that we are to set an example and not to weaken a brother (or sister) even if it would be allowable for us. We can’t stay away from everybody even if we decided to only drink within our houses because we still have to go to a store and buy it. It all boils down to our testimony before the Lord and man.

  11. Jim Jacobson says:

    Thanks Greg, I’m in 100% agreement. What do you say to the argument that Jesus drank?

  12. Norma says:

    Good article. And it has stirred good discussion. I believe alcohol is completely wrong because of the motive behind it.
    Jesus addresses our motives(hearts) and then the action will match the motive.
    Then we operate in faith AND works.
    Why drink a liquid that dehydrates the body?
    Why do we need a social buzz? What do we need besides Jesus? In him we have life and life more abundantly (john 10:10). He is the way (John 14:6). He is all the
    work we need to do(John 6:29).
    The joy of the Lord is our strength(Neh 8:10)!
    Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength(Is 40:31)! The world ought to wonder why we are happy all the time
    even in turmoil and why are we having a good time without alcohol.

  13. David says:

    you’re assertion that eating around others would cause them to stumble is flawed. Humans MUST eat to survive. We do NOT, however, have to drink alcohol to survive. I still believe it’s better not to drink, but no where in the Bible does it say that…only to not be drunk. It’s a choice each person must make between him and God.

  14. Arthur says:

    Paul also said to Timothy “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

    Jesus made wine and drank wine.

    I don’t ‘drink’. But if someone offers me wine, I will drink it; soberly. I may have a glass of wine twice a year. Maybe a beer once or twice or to cook with.

    Paul offers the best advice on this as well

    18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled by the Spirit

    Instead of prohibition, seek God, and these things will be ‘added to you’. If your heart is in the right place with God, drunkeness isn’t going to be an issue.

  15. Jeff says:

    Years ago as my children were born I struggled with the question about drinking. After much thinking, Prying and reading the Bible, I came to to conclusion that drinking is not the issue, its about our view on drinking. I believe it is better to teach my kids the example of moderation. To this day my kids 32 and 28 seldom drink and when they do it’s never to get drunk. I too grew up watching my brother completely destroy his life from love of drinking. But that was a choice he thought he had to have.
    Jesus drank wine ( and yes it was alcohol)so it is not a sin to drink, for he provided the party with more wine at his first miracle. He also said John neither ate nor drank and they say he has a demon. I came to you eating and DRINKING and they say I am a glutton and a drunkard.
    I believe it is better to teach our kids control over themselves than to run from everything, or they will never stop running!

  16. Judy says:

    I agree with Paul, overeating is as much or more of a concern than drinking. Several years ago, I gave up having an occasional drink now and then, and I feel healthier and I never have to worry that I may say or act inappropriately in a social situation. It doesn’t bother me that others have a glass of wine, since it doesn’t tempt me. I defitiely think people shouldn’t drink around those who are going to be tempted or who are struggling with alcoholism. Romans 14:21 makes reference to this. I believe this is also true of those trying to stay on a diet to avoid the sin of gluttony, and especially not trying to get someone to eat more after they’ve sid “No, thanks.”

  17. Anne says:

    I have been a Christian for 25 years and although I would have a social drink every now and then, 28 years ago I decided I would never touch alcohol again for the same reasons as you listed above. It doesn’t bother me if others drink or sitting in a place where alcohol is served I simply do not partake. Alcohol has never been in our home and I am relieved to say that our adult children have not tasted it because they have not seen the need (and they are convinced that they do not want to feel not in control of their bodies). They don’t make a big deal out of it, but the other young people seem to respect their choices and would tease our kids good naturedly. They have seen first hand that you don’t need liquor to be able to have fun or be able to communicate as we have always enjoyed lively discussions at the dinner table and they were always expected speak to adults etc. Are they different? Yes, sometimes very much so…..Even so, I hope they always choose responsibly – and if they do choose to drink – that they would do so in moderation.

  18. bill (cycleguy) says:

    Amazing how often this comes up in conversations. Sadly, it is often how much can I drink? I have never had a drink but do not condemn those who do (in moderation), but I personally do not want that on my conscience. Love your approach Greg.

  19. Paul says:

    I first want to say that I respect both your opinion and your position both as a pastor and as my elder. With that said I must respectfully disagree with the conclusion to never drink that seems to be implied here. I also come from a family that was ravaged by alchoholism and held the belief that drinking was out of the question for those claimin Christianity. I honstly feel that the idea that drinking is wrong, and too many sinful is more an instance of legalism. I often times here Christians make a huge deal of the dangers of drinking as if the goal for all who drink is to get drunk. I pose to you a question, what about gluttony? I work in the pharmacutical industry and know first hand that the huge consumption of food is much more of a problem tha drinking. This country is ravaged by overweight people dying of diabetes and heart disease and many other food related diseases yet we never hear “don’t not eat around your brothers in fear that you may cause them to stumble” that being said I feel it is more important to be about encouraging others to do good than to focus on what we feel are sins though they are not clearly outlined in the Bible.

  20. Jack Hanson says:

    Very excellent short article—thanks for writing!

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