Everything is permissible, but not everything is good for us! Galatians 5:13 says, “For you were called to be free, brothers and sisters; only don’t use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love.” We have liberty as believers, but that liberty doesn’t mean that we can sin. As Believers we are called to love and build up others (John 13:34), especially believer’s! So, here is another problem with alcohol and our being follower’s of Jesus- who are we causing to stumble? Ever think about that? Maybe you have and don’t take it all that seriously. The freedom we have in Christ is not meant to be self focused, it is meant to teach us how to love the Body the way Christ loves the Body. Here is some interesting statistics – more than 15 million people in America last year were classified as alcohol abusers. That means that at least 1 out of every 14 adults has an issue with alcohol. Then take into account how many of these people have relatives who have drinking problems. So, 1 out of every 14 adults struggle with alcohol, ever think about the fact that one of them might just be sitting next to you in church? You might be thinking, “big deal” – it is a big deal! If we are called to love and build up our brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no place for alcohol use in the Church.
What if I am hosting a day at the lake and I invite a few Christian friends, some I know choose not to drink because they feel it is not appropriate for them as believer’s and I invite a couple of friends who are recovering alcoholics, but I still choose to drink and have alcohol available to everyone- I am NOT loving my friends! I am not building up my brothers and sisters in Christ. I am setting them up to face peer pressure to drink so they feel like they fit in or I am placing a huge bowl of temptation in front of them. I don’t know about you, but that is not the friend I want to be! If I am going to invite them knowing where they are in the lives and walk with the Lord, I should not have alcohol any where around. Then, as an adult in the church, what am setting as my witness to the younger generation about living set apart for the Lord, living in a manner worthy of the calling we have been given in Christ? Romans 14:13 – “So let’s stop condemning each other (we should be judging ourselves, checking our actions so that we are not placing a stumbling block before those we are suppose to be loving and building up). Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble or fall.” Church, if we are causing others to stumble (whether by alcohol or any other thing) we are sinning! Church it is time to wake up! We can NOT serve the Lord and serve our flesh. We have to pick one or the other!
We should always be desiring to choose what is right and pleasing to God simply out of our love for Jesus and for others. Again, it goes back to living in our new nature in Christ and leaving behind everything of our old nature. If we are growing, changing, maturing in our walk with Jesus, why are we still desiring to live in the old flesh that He died to set us free from?
I believe one reason we have areas where God gives us freedom to choose is to expose our growth, our maturity in Christ. Will we choose our flesh and what it desires or will we choose what reflects His Presence in our lives and do the most good for Him? Maturity comes from daily becoming more like Him, time in His Word, time in His Presence, letting Him change our thinking and our desires so that they line up with His. Maturity comes in the shape of obedience. Obedience requires surrender. What are you willing to surrender? That’s it. StraightUp!
1 Peter 2:2-3 “Like newborn babies desire the pure milk of the word, so that you may grow up into your salvation, if you have tasted that the Lord is good.”