Is it ok for young Christians to drink alcohol?
Lots of teens drink. But should Christians be joining them?
A lot of my Christians friends are confused about alcohol. Some drink way too much, even though they're underage. Some don't drink at all, even though they're of legal age - often looking down on anyone else who chooses to drink!
So what does the Bible say about alcohol and drinking?
God doesn't want you to break the law
Romans 13:1 says to obey the law. In most countries it is illegal for people under a certain age to buy or drink alcohol. So let's be clear - illegal underage drinking is out for Christians! Obeying the law and your parents is a great way to stand out of the crowd at parties.
Alcohol is a good gift from God
Like all good things in this world, alcohol is from God and is to be enjoyed. Psalm 104 lists some of the good things that God gives us, including "wine that gladdens the heart of man" (verse 15). Jesus was not against celebrating good times with his friends: his first miracle was to turn water into wine at a wedding reception when all the wine ran out. (Apparently Jesus made pretty good wine too ... check out John 2:10)!
God really hates it when you get drunk
Like all good things, if you misuse them they can lead to sin. God wants people to enjoy wine in moderation, because getting drunk is a bad idea. Here's some examples from the Bible:
- Proverbs 20:1 says that "Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise."
- Noah was a great guy (remember he was the only guy God saved from the flood...), but get too much wine into him and bam: suddenly he ends up lying naked in his tent seriously embarrassing his sons (Genesis 9:21)! Eeek!
- Ephesians 5:18 tells us this: "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." Debauchery is a horrible word, and in this verse means all the rotten stuff we might do when we're drunk, like saying something nasty about another person, getting into a fight, getting with a random girl or guy.
Be filled with the Spirit
Christians aren't missing out. Instead of getting drunk, Ephesians 5:18 tells us to do something better: be filled with the Spirit. Unlike someone who is drunk being negatively controlled by alcohol, we should be positively controlled by the Holy Spirit. We should do stuff that God helps us do: be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good and faithful.
God wants you to consider other people
Romans 14:21 says that we should not drink, if our drinking will tempt someone else to sin. So if you are of legal age, but your friends are not, drinking around them may be putting temptation in their way. That's why some Christians who live around lots of alcoholics have decided to give alcohol up totally. Love is more important than beer!
Remember though, being a Christian is not about rules, it's about accepting that Jesus died in your place so you could be right with God. But as Christians we really want to please God. So if you have been getting drunk, say sorry to God, and start being wise. Because God loves it when his people are wise with alcohol.