What does Scripture say about alcohol?
Alcohol is definitely addressed in Scripture. Proverbs 31 says that it’s not
good for kings to drink wine. But Scripture says that Jesus drank wine and that
Paul said to Timothy, “Have a little wine for your stomach.”
So how do we rationalize these apparent contradictions? Let’s start by one thing
everybody can agree on: getting drunk, drinking to excess is not good. 1
Corinthians 6:12 says that all things are lawful for me but not all things are
profitable. So is it lawful for me to drink wine? Yes. Is it legal biblically?
Yes. But is it profitable for me? I’ve made up my mind for myself it is not
profitable for me personally because it is a bad example to my wife, to my
children, and to my congregation. So I choose to not drink alcohol. But clearly
we all have to make up our minds.
If we are going to live by the Bible, we start with what we know is absolute –
and that is God does not condone getting drunk. What does it take to get
somebody drunk? Well, for some people it’s two to three drinks; for others it’s
five or six. If you go over to Europe and you tell them not to drink any
alcohol, they will laugh at you because in Germany and other areas, people –
including Christians – drink beer like water. So what do you tell them? Do you
tell them they are going to hell? No, because it’s not a heaven-or-hell issue;
rather, it’s a profitability issue.
Does drinking alcohol produce profit for my life? Again for me personally, I
choose not to have alcohol at all simply because of the bad example that it
would set for my family and for the people I lead and the people I influence.
My husband became a Christian about 4 years ago. He is a good man and quit drinking about 2 years ago. I’m just not clear about something. From what I understand, when someone becomes a Christian, not that sin is eliminated, but repeated sin should probably not take place because I know there needs to be repentance. He partakes in using marijuana. And I know he’s convicted on it, but…
So, you are you wondering if he’s really a Christian and wondering how he can be
free from the marijuana. The first thing is to address your concern that when a
person becomes born again, shouldn’t they stop repeating sin? Sin doesn’t emerge
from our spirit when we’re born again; sin emerges from our mind, our emotions
and our body. So, when we’re saved or born again, our spirit, our heart is brand
new, but our mind remains the same. Until our mind is brought in subjection to
the Word of God and is changed, until our thoughts are replaced with God’s
thoughts and we begin to think the way God thinks, you’re never going to be able
to change the bad behavior in a person until they change the way they think.
When your husband changes the way he thinks, that will begin to change his
behavior. You can’t get somebody to stop smoking just by telling them to “stop
smoking because that’s sin and you’re going to hell and it’s going to destroy
your life.” They already knew that it was sin. They already knew that it was
hurting them and destroying their life. But what has to happen is that when they
change the way they think about God, about themselves, and about what truly
satisfies them, then they will change their behavior. So the answer to your
question, “Can your husband still be a Christian even though he’s still smoking
marijuana?” The answer is yes.
After I became a Christian, I kept smoking marijuana and kept drinking alcohol.
But as I read my Bible and as I went to church and as I heard the Word of God
and started to change the way that I thought, the habits began to break off of
my life and they will do that for your husband as well. You can’t just stop
something. You’ve got to fill up on the good and then you won’t be open to the
bad any more. You’ve got to fill your body up or fill your mind up with the Word
of God and then it’ll flush out the bad behavior of smoking and drinking and any
other bad behavior that’s there. But as we feed on the Word of God, the Bible,
that’s what produces the power to change our lives.
We hear people say, “Well, if he were a Christian, that wouldn’t happen because
it’s repeated sin.” And if you were a Christian, you wouldn’t get mad at your
husband sometimes. If you were a Christian, you wouldn’t yell sometimes. If you
were a Christian, you wouldn’t yell at your children. I mean, we could go down
the list of things we’re all guilty of. For your husband, it’s marijuana. For
somebody else, it might be anger or a lustful thought that they keep having. But
that doesn’t send us to hell. What sends us to hell is when we reject Jesus
Christ as our Lord and savior and we say, “I don’t need the blood of Jesus. I
can make it on my own.” That’s the thing that’s going to send people to hell,
not the habits in our lives.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s good for him to continue to smoke marijuana. I’m
not saying that. He’s going to reap what he sows. Obviously, that’s going to
hurt his body, his mind, his family. That’s a harvest. He’s going to get a
harvest from the seeds that he’s sowing. But he’s still saved if he believes
that Jesus died for his sins and rose from the dead. But now, he needs to be
changed and it starts by changing the way that he thinks. You guys got to
continue to feed on the Word of God and get in a good church that teaches you
the Word of God and then you’ll begin to see some things begin to change in his
life. Encourage him and let him know you’re praying for him and let him know
that we’re standing with him here as well.
My husband and I are in great financial difficulty, and I’ve been really in tune with you with really on what we seek, and I got your tape set “Framing Your World With Your Words.” I have been struggling with this because I am prophesying over myself and I am claiming to be a non-smoker. My health isn’t good. I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety and all that. But the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me to quit smoking, and I am really fighting with this because my flesh doesn’t want to. And it’s just eating at me, I’m feeling guilty and condemned over it. Would that stop our blessing from flowing into our lives because I haven’t given it up yet?
What a great question. Let me give you an answer that you probably weren’t
expecting: the smoking is not what will keep you from the blessing, but the
condemnation will. In other words, when our heart condemns us for the things
that we’ve done wrong, then we don’t have confidence before God. 1 John 3 and 1
John 5 tells us that when we condemn ourselves and we feel condemned about what
we’ve done wrong, then we don’t have confidence before God. And when we don’t
have confidence before God, it stops the flow of blessing in our lives.
It’s not the smoking that stops the blessing, it’s the condemnation that comes
from the smoking and the guilt that comes from the smoking that condemns your
heart, breaks down your confidence and now you’re not able to truly believe God
for those blessings to flow in your life.
So what do you do? Don’t fix the smoking first. First fix the condemnation and
realize that in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation for those who are in
Christ Jesus. Number two, once you realize you’re not condemned about the sin in
your life, then you’ll be able to stop sinning. Jesus told the woman who was
caught in adultery, he said, “Woman, who condemns you?” after they all dropped
their rocks and left her alone and there she stood with Jesus. He said, “Who
condemns you?” And what did the woman say? The woman said, “No one condemns me,
Lord.” And what did Jesus say? He said, “Neither do I condemn you.” And then
what did he say? “Go and sin no more.”
But listen, follow the order in which that happened. First, Jesus said, “I don’t
condemn you.” Then he said, “Go and sin no more.” In other words, he shows us
there that we can’t stop sinning until we realize that he doesn’t condemn us.
And we’re not condemned, okay? You focus on that, meditate on those verses. And
everything’s going to be all right.
My husband & I have been married almost 29 years and he has a drinking problem. I want to know how to pray. Is it a spiritual force?
Every time you go past a bar it says “Food and Spirits.” So, in one sense,
alcohol can become a spiritual force, a spiritual stronghold. But it’s not
necessarily that your husband is possessed by a demon or anything like that;
it’s just that once he opens himself up to addiction, the addiction of alcohol,
the addiction of drinking, then he is going to be under the control of that
addiction. And what has to happen to know how to pray is you pray according to
Matthew 18:19, “Whatsoever we bind on earth is bound in heaven and whatsoever we
loose on earth is loosed in heaven.” So, what you have to do is bind the
spiritual forces that are at work in your husband's life, bind the spiritual
forces that are causing him to be under this addiction and get him help right
Get him some help. He’s got to be willing to get some help and to be open to
some answers. He’s got to be open to getting some counseling. Find yourself some
good, Christian counseling. First, I encourage you to start by getting
counseling at your church. So, take your husband to your church and get some
counseling there. And then, if that’s not getting him to where he needs to be
and past that addiction, then what needs to happen is he needs to get some
But ultimately, the only miracle, the only way that somebody can be truly free
from an addiction like that is through the power of the Holy Spirit. I know that
God set me and other people around me free from the power of those addictions
through the power of the Holy Spirit. It really takes the power of the Holy
Spirit. It is the power of God. It’s not something that can happen in our own
power. It’s not something that we can just decide today to snap our fingers and
bam, we’re free from alcohol. You got to go to God. The Bible says, “Call upon
the Lord and He will answer you.”
Another scripture for addictions and for overcoming addictions, you can use is 1
John 4:4, that “Greater is He that’s in you than he that’s in the world.” You’ve
got to stand on those verses and trust the power of the Holy Spirit to come
alive and be awakened inside of you and inside of your husband so that you don’t
have to be under the control of that. “Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled
with the Spirit.”
Holiness and being free from sin is not detaching ourselves from the wrong
things as much as it is attaching ourselves to the right things. So, instead of
focusing on the detaching yourself from what’s wrong, let’s focus on attaching
yourself to what’s right. So, your husband needs to get attached to God,
attached to the Holy Spirit, attached to the Word of God and then, you’re going
to see amazing, amazing things happen in his life. As you become attached to the
right things, you no longer need to be attached to the wrong things and you’ll
eventually detach yourself from the wrong things. But that happens by the power
of the Holy Spirit.
I’d like to know if you think it’s sinful behavior to smoke, like cigars or something like that or having an occasional drink. And if you do, where it mentions that in the Bible. I understand you’re not supposed to be a drunkard or get drunk, but…
Is it sinful to have an occasional drink? I don’t believe that it is. It might
be for me, but it might not be for you. Because the Bible says, “if anyone wants
to eat meat, then let them eat meat.” And don’t judge somebody because one
person considers that it’s okay to eat meat and another person doesn’t. Clearly,
the Bible teaches not to get drunk. Clearly, the Bible teaches that our bodies
are the temple of the Holy Spirit. But at the same time, while it says that, it
also says that Paul told Timothy to have a little wine for the ailing of his
Now, I’m not saying that everybody should be walking around going, “Oh, I got a
stomachache, Oh, I got a stomachache, Oh, I’ve got to have a drink.” But you
know, there is nothing in the Bible that forbids ever having a drink. Except
that it’s not good for an elder to drink, the Bible says. Some believe that it’s
okay, but I don’t believe that it is.
As far as smoking a cigar, the Bible says your body is the temple of the Holy
Spirit. Glorify God in your body. If you think that that’s something that
glorifies God, then by all means, do it. If you don’t think it is something that
glorifies God, don’t. You’re certainly not going to go to hell if you smoke a
cigar. But I don’t know if that’s going to be healthy for you. And that’s what
you need to look at as well. These kinds of things that are not habits in your
life are not going to determine your salvation. They’re not going to take God
out of your life, but you need to be the one that in your conscience and in your
study of the Bible to decide that for yourself.