More and more as I’ve got older, I’ve realised a trend whereby some people in society will slave away Monday through to Friday, so that when it gets to the weekend they can just go nuts and get bladdered as some form of ‘enjoyment’. I saw plenty of this at university, students practically idolising a night out they knew they probably wouldn’t remember. I’m not saying drinking and night outs are bad, they can be really good fun, but the lifestyle they can often be a part of isn’t healthy for us, and I want to suggest that we can live for more than just ‘living for the weekend’.
I had my first taste of alcohol when I was about 14, when I accidentally drank my mums red wine thinking it was blackcurrant juice. It was in a colourful plastic cup, so I didn’t realise till I tasted it and promptly spat it out! It wasn’t till I was 18 that I intentionally drank some alcohol, even then it was only some Smirnoff Ice’s.
For me, the example my parents set around me was that alcohol was just a nice extra drink to enjoy with a meal or whilst catching up with friends. It was something that was enjoyable in a responsible way. Sure they got a little tipsy and giggled a bit, but they never went overboard.
When I started getting more involved with sixth form friends, sports teams, and then eventually university, I saw a different side of what alcohol can be for people. Sure, it was still used recreationally as an element of having a bit of fun, but I also saw people getting lost in it.
A reality of some people’s adult lives became apparent to me. For some, the ‘normalities’ of life don’t fully satisfy them. So they work themselves into the ground, 9 till 5, Monday to Friday, just so they can lose themselves and forget about it all on the weekend. It seemed like their living had no purpose, other than the weekend.
And I understand why that is for some, because I’ve lived that life a bit myself. Particularly during the first year or so of university, I did sometimes find myself lacking in hope for my future, not knowing any enjoyment of the present and feeling guilty about my past. So society told me the answer was to go out, get drunk and wish away the evening. I didn’t have faith in something more, so I sought after less than I was worth.
Jesus Likes A Drink
For me, I started to change my behaviours when I found out that God loved me and that there was no condemnation for my actions. Jesus wasn’t against alcohol or having fun you see, He turned water into wine as His first miracle. And not just a bit of water, but 6 stone jars worth, that’s approximately 680 litres of fresh wine! Jesus was up for a glass of red, but in a healthy way.
However, Jesus does warn against the over use or dependence of alcohol. In Luke 12:44-46, Jesus says “I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.”
In this passage, we are the servants in Jesus’ parable. We must prepare ourselves for the return of our master, being Jesus himself. This means not drinking in excess, for it distracts us from our original purpose of serving the Lord, even when He doesn’t appear to be around. Drinking itself is fine, but the abuse of such a gift is wrong.
A New Hope
This mentality of over use and abuse isn’t one that is formed out of thin air, there is a reason for everything. Living for the weekend comes from having a lack of hope for what the future may hold, from being dissatisfied with your day to day life. In this instance, the Devil has won a battle in convincing people they are not good enough and cannot have the free gift of love that Jesus offers.
But that doesn’t mean he’s won the war!
If we can realise there is hope and a better life available to us through Jesus, then we can change. The truth of John 3:16 means immeasurably more than any amount of booze can! We are loved by the creator of the universe to such a degree that He sacrificed His only son to save us. He has chosen each and everyone of us for a purpose in His kingdom.
Allowing this to become a part of us changes our lifestyle, the way we spend our time, everything! And so it can lead to freedom from a life stuck in an alcohol drenched cycle, but not without work and the grace of God.
My Personal Challenge
What really made the difference for me in the long run, was the question of whether or not I could fully honour God with my actions and words whilst I was drunk. For me, I couldn’t love people fully as my friends and family whilst I was drunk. I wasn’t always using the most loving words I could, I wasn’t acting in the most respectful way.
So the answer for me was to control how much I drank, so that I could be fully in control of my actions and how I presented myself to others. The verse that Jesus challenged me on was Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?”. You see, I couldn’t see a way of retaining my full flavour for God whilst I was drunk, so I needed to challenge myself to act differently, so my flavour could fully change the complexion of the night out around me.
If you’ve been challenged by any part of what I’ve shared, then I’d urge you to be really aware of yourself the next time you get drunk. Are you truly being who you are? Are you able to to fully control your actions and your words? Can you love God and those around you in this state?
A drink or two isn’t the problem, it’s the way we act under it’s influence that is the danger. Thanks for reading, I hope you’ve been able to get something from it!