Alcohol seems to have a very polarizing effect on people.
Actually, I’m having trouble finding how to write this, because there is a spectrum that ranges from alcohol being an important and exciting part of life to being afraid of it. Many among you don’t have any issues at all with alcohol. Some people have memories associated with alcohol that deeply hurt them. Some people’s painful memories are cured by alcohol.
You either ‘party’ or ‘don’t party’ (or sometimes ‘party but not too hard like you usually don’t get drunk and try to make good decisions and be around with people you know and trust’).
Maybe you are a zealous person of faith who refrains from all alcohol or staunchly ‘free’ spirited and drink whatever you want, whenever you want, just because you can. (Or maybe you belong to a faith that requires you to zealously drink)
Whatever your position on the spectrum, chances are that you feel strongly about it. Not to say that you can’t change, but you have a justification for why you are there. God help the person who tries to convince you otherwise.
Among all the different responses alcohol gets from people, I think it makes sense to say that alcohol brings something out in us that is already there. Whether it be the desperate need for attention, the scars of the past that control us, or even if you don’t know its there at all.
I imagine this is nothing new in history. Abuse and loneliness are old things that Jesus and Paul were aware of.
Paul says to not get drunk with wine, but instead let yourself be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not a liquid, it is God, and the fullness of His presence is peace and joy and wisdom.
In drunkenness, your deepest desires, once held at bay by inhibitions, now control you. It is no different than being controlled by fear of alcohol. You, who have the ability to make rational decisions and use wisdom to discern right and wrong, give up control to your most desperate emotions. Some of us just desire to lose control!
Might I propose that there is a right way to get drunk? If Jesus got his drank on, then I would suggest we do it like He did (no, I’m not talking about drunk with the Holy Spirit).
I already know that people are going to talk about how Jesus only did it to be healthy because wine is/was cleaner than water. But if that were the case: why turn water into wine? Why wouldn’t He just make it clean water? Because they were partying. When Jesus partied, He drank. It doesn’t say the Pharisees or priests or scribes drank (that I can find, you might be able to find some reference to it, but then I would tell you that they called Jesus a drunkard, so they were still on a high horse about it). I imagine their society was similar to ours in that way: normal people drank and partied while the perfect people stood in their temples/churches being too perfect to engage in such base actions.
Drinking does make most people relaxed and social. Jesus knew this, used it, and set an example for it. He didn’t steer away from drunkards, He met them where they were. Probably at a party. I call this Jesus-level drunk. Just drunk enough to make you a relaxed, social, wonderful person. If alcohol does something to you besides that (like make you angry) or you are getting drunk where you are no longer in control, but your uninhibited desires are in control, maybe its time to reevaluate how you are drinking?
Some of you are also probably thinking that you are social and relaxed and happy enough not to need alcohol. Great! Jesus probably was too, but He chose to engage people in that way anyway, so follow it like He would. Jesus sets examples and somewhere down the line, the church dismissed this example in order to propagate an agenda of getting people to be ‘good enough’ to be a true Christian.
Going back to what Paul said, being controlled by anything other than the Holy Spirit is an oppressive slavery. Working to fulfill a desire that cannot be fulfilled by anything other than God Himself is oppression. And it will take everything out of you. Every weekend spent partying to meet that desire, or every weekend spent avoiding people and alcohol pandering to your fears of it.
If you sit in the middle, not extreme to either side, where I imagine most people are, I’m glad alcohol is not a struggle for you. Take Jesus’ example as one to keep in mind and always continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, for there are many other ways to be enslaved to your desires than drunkenness.