by Pastor Tim Burt
Before I begin to share what the Bible says about drinking, I would like to briefly share my personal experience with you.
I was born the fifth child into a beautiful family of 10 children. I had amazing and wonderful parents who were loving, nurturing, kind, and fun! It was a great home with parents who loved us and worked harder than most to make a good home for us.
We were a Catholic family who went to church every Sunday. The priests and nuns were family friends who occasionally had dinner at our house. We were taught do’s and don’ts like most families, but little about alcohol other than you couldn’t drink until you were an adult. My observations and assumptions from family, family events, and church group gatherings were that alcohol was a part of everything. I saw my fair share of family, relatives, and church people, including priests, get drunk on many occasions. I always assumed that it would be a part of my future (probably earlier than what was legal.) And that turned out to be true.
Without going into details, alcoholism invaded a majority of the lives of those in my family! For some, alcohol eventually led to recreational drugs, which carried another level of trauma. I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 24. I had already been an alcoholic for three years prior to that. I was an alcoholic and drug addict when I gave my life to the Lord. Only once in three years did I have a completely sober day, and that was the day of my grandmother’s funeral. I deeply loved her! She loved the Lord and often told me she was praying for me. She made me want to be a better person and learn to know God more intimately. It was shortly after her death that I had my experience of hearing the gospel, receiving Jesus into my heart, and never touching a drop of alcohol or drugs again. My new relationship with God was so real and personal that I didn’t want anything to mess it up. When I started reading the Bible and seeing what it had to say about alcohol and about my influence upon others, I was done drinking, and the desire for it was not only gone but repulsive to me. That was a miracle born out of my new relationship with God!
I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that had I not turned from alcohol and recreational drugs, I would have ended up dead or in prison. That is not an exaggeration on any level. They stripped me of maturing and common sense and kept me laser-focused on one thing—having fun! Nothing else mattered. It was the most zero life possible, and I was completely blind to it.
After learning what being sober (for an entire day) was like again—something that had been completely erased from my mind, I was astounded by how much I loved it. I loved being clear-minded. I loved being what the Bible called being sober-minded! And I was seriously and passionately in love with Jesus. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, having learned the sacrifices He made for me.
I can now say that I have been clear and sober-minded since I was 24 years old and haven’t touched alcohol or drugs for the past 46 years and will never touch them again. I love who I am and will never go there again. As I said, the thought is repulsive to me.
Since those days, the things God has done with my life are mind-boggling, supernatural, and beyond what I could have ever asked or imagined.
So now, when I share a Biblical perspective of drinking and alcohol in Part 2 of this 2-Part posting, you have an idea where I am coming from. And know this! I am not judgmental or legalistic about whether you drink or not. I won’t be telling you, “You can’t drink!” The Bible doesn’t say that. But the Bible does have definite guidelines for you to examine with the help of the Holy Spirit. More on that next time…
Luke 21:34 (NIV) “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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