Monday, March 21 2016
My parents first went to a Pentecostal church when I was one year old. Church fills my memories and drugs and alcohol have never been a problem for me. No, I have never been drunk or high. This does not make me a better person or "holier than thou". It simply gives me a different story.
The scripture that I have heard most often taught concerning drugs and alcohol is:
1Corinthians 3:16 - 17 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
The word defile comes from the Greek word meaning "corrupt or destroy". There should be little argument that drugs and alcohol destroys the mind and body.
According to drugabuse.gov. "People who suffer from addiction often have one or more accompanying medical issues, which may include lung or cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, and mental disorders." (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/addiction-health)
Those that push marijuana as healthy should understand the long term effects. Once again, drugabuse.gov states, "Imaging studies of marijuana’s impact on brain structure in humans have shown conflicting results. Some studies suggest regular marijuana use in adolescence is associated with altered connectivity and reduced volume of specific brain regions involved in a broad range of executive functions like memory, learning, and impulse control compared to non-users. Other studies have not found significant structural differences between the brains of users and non-users." (https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-use-affect-your-brain-body)
The same article says, "A large longitudinal study in New Zealand found that persistent marijuana use disorder with frequent use starting in adolescence was associated with a loss of an average of 8 IQ points measured in mid-adulthood." The image of the "stoner" has some factual basis.
King Solomon was the wisest man that ever lived. His advice is found in Proverbs.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise. (KJV)
Another version states:
Proverbs 20:1 Wine makes men foolish, and strong drink makes men come to blows; and whoever comes into error through these is not wise.
"Liquid courage" is never positive. Foolishness and the lack of self control while under the influence of alcohol and drugs mirrors the behavior of the demon possessed man named "Legion".
Luke 8:29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
He lacked self control and would wander aimlessly and without purpose.. He was out of his mind. Narconon.org describes symptoms of drug abusers (http://www.narconon.org/drug-abuse/signs-symptoms-of-drug-abuse.html):
"Each drug has its own unique manifestations, but there are some general indications that a person is using drugs:
The devil uses the accepted things within society to destroy mankind. Peter wrote:
1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
When we let down our guard or inhibitions, we will become prey to the devil. Sobernation.com explains, "Dopamine is the chemical your brain creates to make you feel good. The point of this chemical is to make the body want to do things that is healthy for it. This includes but is not limited to; eat healthy, exercising and doing nice things for others. The problem is heavy drinking will release so much dopamine that your brain can’t tell the difference between a good decision and a bad decision. Fact and point – Not many of us would go streaking across a football field completely sober." (https://www.sobernation.com/why-does-alcohol-lower-your-inhibitions)
After meeting with Jesus, the man formerly known as Legion had focus and the Bible says that he was in his "right mind". He was now clothed and sitting at the the feet of Jesus. A spot where communication with God Almighty is possible.
Paul writing to Timothy penned:
2Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
"Sound" comes from the Greek word meaning "discipline or self - control". God has called us to have self-control and not to be "blitzed", drunk or "high".
The Bible explains other problems associated with drugs and alcohol:
Proverb 23:20-21 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 26:9 Like a thorn which goes up into the hand of a man overcome by drink, so is a wise saying in the mouth of a foolish man. (The sharp object in the drunks hand will cut those close because of the lack of control)
Isa 5:11 - 12 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.
Isaiah 5:20 - 22 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight! Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink, (loss of moral compass)
The Word of God teaches us to place boundaries in our life. We all know people that were destroyed because of drugs and alcohol. The question that we should ask ourselves should be, "Is it worth it?" Is it worth potentially destroying our own lives and the lives of others because drugs and alcohol allow us to temporarily feel good? Paul writing to the church states:
Ephesians 5:15 - 21 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
When we commit ourselves to God, we should have a desire to please Him above all else. Drugs and alcohol are a tool of the enemy to destroy mankind. I may never have a drinker or a drug user, but after spending over 20 years as a paramedic, I can tell you the destruction that they cause. As a family member, I can tell you of the destructive path that can be cut through a family by drugs and alcohol. As a Christian and a pastor, I can tell you what the Bible says concerning the use of alcohol and drugs. Ask yourself - Is it worth it?