By Ron Halbrook
Have you had your first drink of an intoxicating beverage such as wine, beer, or whiskey? Such alcoholic drinks are made to appear very appealing, but they are actually liquid drugs which have an adverse effect on our judgment. The beautiful color, sparkle, and gleam of such drinks and the apparent “fun” of tasting and testing them help to mask their dangers.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder (Prov. 23:31-32).
The intoxicant causes many vain and foolish imaginations and leads men to take many unnecessary risks involving both physical and moral dangers.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise (Prov. 20:1).
Drugs may be used as medicine for the sick and dying, but their power is abused when used for social and recreational purposes. The normal duties and activities of life, not to mention its temptations, require that we be alert physically and morally. We would not want to fly in an airplane piloted by someone who had had a few drinks, submit to surgery by a doctor who was even slightly intoxicated, or stand before a judge whose judgment was clouded by alcohol.
It is not for kings, 0 Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted (Prov. 31:4-5).
The common table drink of Bible times was not an intoxicant, but the Bible clearly and rightly warns about the dangers of intoxicating wines and other strong drinks. We need to heed those warnings.
When the Holy Spirit wanted to teach us to be sober or morally alert, he chose a word which in its literal meaning meant “to be free from the influence of intoxicants” and “to abstain from wine” (W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, IV:44, 201). “Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). In order to be morally alert, we must be free from the influence of those things which cloud our judgment, such as alcohol, temper tantrums, sexual passions, covetous-ness, and the like. Satan knows that our moral senses cannot be fully alert when we begin to be intoxicated, and so he very much wants us to take our first drink.
A citizen of West Columbia, Texas published “an open letter to all teenagers” on the dangers of drinking alcohol (Brazoria County News, 30 September 1993, p. 11). Linda Baker had only two sons, Timmy and Patrick, both of whom were killed in separate accidents caused by drinking alcohol when they were teenagers. In a very simple and powerful way, she appeals to young people not to take that first drink. She gladly gave permission for her letter to be reproduced, explaining, “If it helps just one young person to refuse to take that first drink, it will be worth it.”
Those who have not taken the first drink should resolve never to do so. Those who have made the mistake of stepping across that line and taking the first drink can and should draw a new line by resolving never to take another drink. Let us all look to God for help and strength in order that we may avoid the snares set by Satan. Through Jesus Christ God forgives our past sins when we believe the gospel with all our heart, truly repent of our sins, sincerely confess Christ as the Son of God, and humbly submit to water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 8:35-38). When we are baptized into Christ, God delivers us “from the power of darkness” and translates us “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Gal. 3:26 27; Col. 1:13). Not only does God forgive our past sins, but also he helps us to resist the devil and to overcome future temptations (1 Cor. 10:13). Those who put their faith in God, in his Son, and in his word can overcome the allure of alcohol and every other power of the devil. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).
A Mother’s Open Letter to Teenagers on Alcohol
An open letter to all teenagers.
I would like to talk to all of you about the dangers of drinking alcohol. I know from experience, because I lost my only two children, both teenagers to it.
Timmy was almost 19 when he accidentally drowned. He was normally a good swimmer, sober. Patrick was 16 years and 7 months, when he had a car accident, and normally a good driver when sober, when he and several of his friends decided to skip afternoon classes at school and go to Columbia Lakes and have a drinking party.
I am sure that when he took that first drink the thought of it being his last day alive never even entered his mind, or any of the other teenagers that were there that day.
I am writing this letter because I don’t want what happened to Patrick to happen to any of you.
Don’t give up your dreams of the future for alcohol or drugs.
Patrick had dreams for the future. He was looking forward to summer so he could get a job and start saving money to become a game-warden when he would graduate in two years. So please, before you take that first drink, please think about it, and say to yourself, “This could very well be the last day of my life.”
Linda Baker, West Columbia, TX [Brazoria County (TX) News, 30 Sept. 1993, p. 11]
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 7, p. 10-11
April 7, 1994