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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Is it a sin to drink beer?

If you're of the male gender and you drink fruit flavored beer, or add real fruit to your beer, that's a sin. It's a very girly thing to do. If you're a dude, would you wear women's panties? I should hope not.

If you're a man and you quit drinking fruity beer, your testosterone level will skyrocket faster than the time it takes a redneck to buy a case of Busch Light on Friday afternoon.
Image result for beer drinking apparatus
"I don't always drink crappy beer. But when I do, I drink Carona."

If you're a female and you drink fruity beer, it's not a sin. Girls are allowed to drink fruity beer.

If you drink beer out of a green bottle, it's not a sin, but you are drinking really crappy beer.

If you drink Corona, that is a sin. That stuff should be outlawed because it's harmful to your taste buds. I'm currently drafting a letter to my senator to finish the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico just to keep this foul liquid from entering our beloved country.

If you drink Killian's Irish Red, you are spot on, and a wise drinker of beer.

And if you don't drink beer at all, that's perfectly fine.

But seriously folks...

Is it a sin to drink beer? Yes... and... no.

Image result for people drinking beer
"Why be serious?
We have beers!"
Nowhere in the Bible has God outlawed beer drinking (or drinking of any kind). Nowhere in the Bible has God commanded people to drink beer. But...

Some people may have a personal law against drinking anything with alcohol. And that's perfectly fine in God's eyes. For them, drinking beer would be a sin.

Some people are free to drink stuff with alcohol in it. And that's perfectly fine in God's eyes. For them, drinking beer is not a sin.

Mature people in both of these groups know that their relationship with God has nothing to do with what they drink.

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17) 

You can't eat or drink your way into God's family. And refusing to eat or drink certain things won't get you there either. You must personally know Jesus to be a part of God's family.

Here's one problem  

If someone has a personal law against drinking alcohol, it's Biblically illegal for them to impose their law on others. Just as it's Biblically illegal for a drinker to push his personal law on others.

Chapter 14 in the book of Romans in the Bible talks about handling spiritual "gray areas." Eating, drinking, and special days of the week are discussed. Here's how we are told to handle these and other gray areas:  

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. (Romans 14:22)

If God doesn't outlaw something, we have no right as individuals to make our personal law binding on others. But some religious people do this. And unfortunately, their personal opinions that they try to make universal laws may hinder some from coming to Jesus. It can cause people to think Jesus is the leader of the "Can't Do That Club," so they stay away from Him. This is bad.

God draws the line

But God does have some restrictions concerning drinking. God forbids drunkenness.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:19-21)

Drunkenness occurs at the point of becoming tipsy. The tricky part is that this point can be reached differently for each person. One person may become tipsy after only one drink. Another may be able to handle two drinks. This is where personal responsibility and self-control come in. Each person must be responsible enough to know his tipping point and when they've had enough. When you go past this point you're breaking God's law, and His heart. He wants you to be free to enjoy the things He has given you. But He also wants you to be mature, responsible and safe.

God also draws the line with the legal drinking age, which can vary from location to location. If you live in the U.S. and you're 18, you can't legally drink beer. But your 16 year old cousin can... in Germany. You must obey the laws of the land you are in, unless they are contrary to God's laws.

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. (Romans 13:1-5)  


I've heard people say, "I'm gonna get shit-faced tonight." When your motive to drink is to get drunk, which is a sin, then you're sunk before you even start. You've chosen to be unlimited.

Choosing to get drunk is like choosing to be mentally retarded for a short period of time. On what planet is that a good idea?

Humans are prone to excess. Therefore, we need limits. God sets some limits for us. Governments set some limits for its citizens. And we are responsible for setting our own personal limits.

We've all probably been around someone who is drunk. Isn't that fun? Maybe we have gotten drunk and made an ass of ourselves - with much regret. Drunkenness usually leads to very poor decision making. Sometimes life-changing and even life-threatening decisions.

Before I came to know Jesus, I would usually set my drinking limit by three criteria:
  1. Drink 'til the beer's all gone
  2. Drink 'til the money's all gone
  3. Drink 'til I go sleepy-sleep (a.k.a.- pass out)

If you limit your drinking with "I'll know when I've had enough," that's probably not going to work. Alcohol has a delayed effect. And you can consume too much before you start to feel tipsy. Then you're in trouble.

When I was a teenager (drinking illegally), a guy once mixed me a drink called a "slow screw" that tasted like yummy cherry Kool-Aid. And I drank a lot of it pretty fast. I felt fine when I left to drive home. Yeah, I made it home that night, after a detour through a ditch... and the hospital. The "slow screw" hit me while I was at the wheel. I totaled the car. I have a not-so-nice 2" scar on my forehead as a reminder of that idiotic choice. But even after this I continued to make stupid drinking choices.

Out-of-control self-control

I came to know Jesus in my early twenties. One of the benefits of this relationship is the control Jesus gave me over the things I couldn't control on my own. Drinking was one of them.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) 

Everyone has some natural level of self-control. But this isn't enough to overcome all of the temptations of life. The self-control that Jesus gives us when we come to know Him is at a supernatural level that we can't get on our own. He gives us the ability to control things we couldn't before. He gives us the ability to say "No" to sin and "Yes" to God. He's the reason I haven't been drunk for 22 years. It's the power of Jesus. He's not the leader of the "Can't Do That Club." He's the leader of the "Can Do That Club."

I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

The beneficial supernatural self-control that Jesus offers can be used in every area of life where we can struggle - drinking, eating, talking, driving, anger, sex, drugs, laziness, work, and so many more.

If you're currently a drinker and you don't know Jesus, when you do come to know Him, you might very well totally quit drinking. And that's awesome. Or when you come to know Him, you might continue to drink in a controlled, non-sinful way. That's awesome too. The main thing is that you come to know Him and live in a way that pleases Him.


A simple way to set your personal drinking limit

Here's my tip: Set your drinking limit with a number that keeps you from becoming tipsy, and stick to it.

I limit myself to 2 drinks a day (that's a maximum, not a minimum). I can enjoy the taste of a good beer (Killian's) and not become tipsy. I sometimes dump out half a bottle if my taste buds are satisfied.

You should know your own body and how you react to alcohol. If not, pay attention. You're responsible to yourself and to God for how much you drink.

Having a rock-solid personal limit when you drink also helps you when faced with peer pressure to drink more than you should. I've had people buy me a beer after I've reached my limit. I had to say "No." I've had people buy me shots before. I refuse to drink them. To me, they taste horrible. And in my opinion they serve no good purpose except to increase the speed at which a person reaches temporary mental retardation. I don't care if the person who bought it wasted their money. They can suck it. They usually end up drinking it because they hate to waste it.


Ask yourself a couple questions: "Why do I drink?" And if you do get drunk, "Why do I get drunk?" Here are some common answers: 
  • I like the taste
  • It eases my pain
  • My friends do it
  • I can't stop
  • It's fun
What's your answer? When you know your motives for drinking, it helps you to make the right choices about drinking.
 All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. (Proverbs 16:2)

God knows our motives, and we should too. It's part of being responsible and mature. If your motives for drinking aren't good, maybe you need to step back and take a long, hard look at your life. Ask Jesus for help.

Maybe you struggle with addiction. Jesus can fix that. You can't understand His power until you experience it personally. If you don't know Him, call out to Him now. He'll hear you. He'll help you. He loves you. And He wants you to be free to enjoy all the good things in life in a way that is pleasing to Him.

His greatest desire is for you to be a part of His family.


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