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  • Writer's pictureLouie Monteith


(Eph 5:18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.

One summer I was the guest speaker at a Bible conference in Holland. Afterward some from the group offered me a beer out of their hospitality. Now there isn't anyone thirstier than a preacher after a service. Something cold on a warm evening would have been very satisfying to say the least. But I looked at these Dutch believers and graciously declined. They took their beer and went away while I stood there with the Sahara desert blowing through my pipes.

Why did I refuse? There are a few reasons. One is, there is alcohol in my family background. My grandfather died of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol. And my father was an alcoholic until he got saved at forty-three (never took a drink since). Why test the family DNA? (Mat 4:7) The other reason is I wanted to be a good witness to the fellow American Christians I was traveling with. I didn't want to stumble them. (1 Cor 8:13) Third is, I knew I was a leader and leaders must abide by a higher standard as they will receive a stricter judgment from the Lord (Jms 3:1).

But there is another motive. I want the Lord to be the lifter of my head (Psa 3:3). I can trust in Him to give me that lift I need instead of alcohol. And if I need refreshment I have that provided by the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19). His Spirit refreshes me and renews me. I don't need the "spirits" from a bottle.

Do you remember when the Spirit fell on the believers on the Day of Pentecost? Some accused them of being filled with new wine. Do you recall Peter's response? (Acts 2:14-17) But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 FOR THESE ARE NOT DRUNK, AS YOU SUPPOSE, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘ And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh . . . You see, there is a high in Christ that the world just doesn't understand. And there's no hangover! Just a sweet afterglow that abides as you go on your way.

I have some Christian friends that have beer in their refrigerator, wine in their cabinets for Italian dishes, or order a Margarita when they are out at a Mexican restaurant. They tell me the Bible doesn't say a Christian cannot drink but only that they shouldn't get drunk. They argue for moderation over abstention. Technically that is true but I like to come back at them with a story of the Christian man who had a routine. Every week he would mow the lawn and then drink a cold brew while he sat down to relax and observe his fresh mown grass. But then one day it hit him. Would he be able to say no to this liberty? He tested himself the next week and found he indeed could say no. He never has had a beer since. He changed his mantra from "free to drink" to "free not to." How free are you?



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