Drinking is intertwined in our culture with almost every event in life, whether it’s a wedding or a funeral. But it’s hardly new.
The Bible records several stories and suggestions about alcohol. Heck, even Jesus turned water into wine, so surely there’s a place for alcohol in society, right? (I bet that tasted good.)
For many of us it’s a welcomed ritual with benefits. The soothing chill slips by your lips, rolling down into your stomach and releasing its relaxing presence. Drinking alcohol is pleasurable at the moment, lifting spirits and lowering defenses. Sipping champagne is synonymous with celebration, while beer may be synonymous with sports, wine with romance, and vodka martinis—shaken, not stirred—synonymous with James Bond-like cool. It’s part of our culture at most every level.
If we believe the advertisers, alcohol is all pleasure but no pain—a fun roller-coaster ride that provides thrills but never comes off the rails, right? Wrong. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 88,000 deaths are attributed to excessive alcohol use each year, with 1.2 million emergency room and 2.7 million physician office visits.
The economic costs associated with overdrinking were estimated to be $225.5 billion. Most men know of an alcoholic, were raised by an alcoholic or have been affected by alcohol. We may even be aware of the short- and long-term risks of drinking, like driving dangers, sexual behavior, violence, pregnancy problems, poisoning, neurological changes, psychiatric issues, liver disease and cancer, to name a few.
But you might be surprised that God is not a buzzkill. The Bible never says, “Thou shalt not drink.” But God is very concerned about your character, and drinking can be a way God tests it. So, the real question is: When is drinking OK? Here are a few guidelines:
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