Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 30: Avoid Alcohol and Drug Abuse : Friday, Jan. 14, 2005
January 14 2005 by John Pond

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 30: Avoid Alcohol and Drug Abuse : Friday, Jan. 14, 2005
Friday, Jan. 14, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for Jan. 30: Avoid Alcohol and Drug Abuse

By John Pond
Focal Passages: Proverbs 20:1; 23:20-21, 29-33; Romans 14:19-21; Ephesians 5:15-18

Out of control? No one wants to purposely lose control over themselves or their situations. Or do they?

Alcohol and drug use are manifested in three levels: social users, abusers and addicts. The seriousness of the use goes from merely enhancing pleasure to compensating for negative events to replacing those experiences.

The availability of and ease of acquiring alcohol and drugs makes it a continuing problem for our society.

How should the church response to alcoholism and drug abuse? What biblical principles can guide the discussion about alcohol and drugs abuse?

Exercise wisdom

Proverbs 20:1

The Rwandan people have a proverb that misfortune bears down on the unfortunate. The actual wording describes an individual who becomes so intoxicated that a drink of water the next day will have the same effect as hard drink. That person will never sober up. For the Rwandan, one must be wise.

Proverbs 20:1 carries a similar idea. The writer declares, "a mocker is wine, a brawler strong drink." The Hebraic term used for mocker (lis) describes one who is a "prattler, mocker, who displays unrestrained, boastful behavior." It is anyone who disregards any social order. Thus, the person who succumbs to the intoxication of any substance is foolish, not wise.

What may begin as socially acceptable and pleasurable will quickly and violently entrap the unwise. Thus, to protect oneself from the violence of intoxication one must exercise wisdom.

Watch out!

Proverbs 23:20-21, 29-33

Proverbs 22:17-24:34 is a series of imperative exhortations. The purpose is to cause the hearer to think seriously about the results of their decisions.

The German theologian Gerhard von Rad wrote, "Don't become involved with the intemperate, for the drinker and the glutton are reduced to poverty, and sleepiness clothes men in rags." The warning is two-fold, yet similar. For those who have lost self-control, the moment is more important than the future.

With abuse comes poverty. It produces poverty because of obsessive behavior and negligence. If we are going to be wise in our conduct, we must avoid individuals and situations that will cause us to stumble.

Alcohol consumption is deceptive. Proverbs 23:29-33 uses a riddle to give a vivid picture of alluring effects. At first, it promises pleasure and heightened perceptions. Then, it bites. What begins as enhancing pleasure results in woe, sorrow, conflicts, complaints, injuries and redness of eyes. Heightened awareness becomes absurd, futile and mind-altering.

Consider others

Romans 14:19-21

In Christ, though we enjoy immeasurable freedom, we do not live in isolation. Our daily affairs are entangled with mankind and God. Our actions can and do have an effect on those around us. This effect can be negative if we do not exercise some measure of wisdom. This is often reflected in our personal preferences in what we eat and drink.

What should guide our activities? Paul states that we should pursue that which promotes peace and edification. This peace does not compromise the truth, but seeks to promote harmony among believers in matters that are primarily amoral.

Paul is not condemning eating or drinking, but anything that tears down the work of God - "anything that makes your brother stumble." Our freedom in Christ should be used to empower and build up our fellow man.

Submit to the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:15-18

Finally, we must consider what or who controls us? The wise person is continually being controlled and guided by the Holy Spirit. The foolish person is intoxicated with strong drink, which leads to drunkenness and debauchery. One person finds exhilaration being filled with strong drink, the other with the Spirit.

Which truly enhances the believer's walk?

1/14/2005 12:00:00 AM by John Pond | with 0 comments

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