AS THE PROBLEM OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE continues to hound millions of lives around the world, especially the youth, it is imperative for all concerned sectors to remain vigilant in the fight against such social menace.
In support of such a worthy advocacy, here are six biblical reminders about the ill-effects of alcohol, drugs, and other intoxicating substances. These reminders are presented as warning signs—like those we usually see on the road to alert us of a danger up ahead. Just as we look at warning signs to guide us on our way, may we also consider and think about these Bible-based warnings so we won’t ever make that wrong turn and end up crashing down into the pit of alcoholism and drug addiction:
1. Drinking Not Allowed. And so is the abusive intake of drugs and other intoxicating substances. What can get one drunk are not just wine, liquor, or any alcoholic drink. Drugs, like methamphetamine, “roofie”, “ecstasy”, and cocaine, can do so, too, with an even more destructive effect. So can other substances, such as marijuana, or even tobacco.
Getting drunk with any of these substances is to break the law—not just the law of man, but above all, the law of God.
God’s law against drunkenness is clear: “Do not get drunk,” says the Bible for it “will only ruin you” (Eph. 5:18 Good News Bible).
2. Caution: snakes. “Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper.” (Prov. 23:31-32 New Living Translation)
We have seen and heard of many tragic real-life stories on how alcoholics and drug users were literally eaten up by their addiction. With their once-healthy bodies dried up, they have become like breathing carcasses, waiting any moment to be devoured by vultures.
Indeed, the age-old proverb of King Solomon still rings true today. For, even though drinking is seen to be fun and getting high on drugs is thought of as a pleasurable way to escape life’s woes, the biting reality is that alcohol and drugs are poison. Getting hooked with them is like getting yourself bitten by a venomous snake.
3. Slippery when ‘wet’. Or, in this case, when “high” or “drunk.” For, indeed, a slippery situation is what one gets himself into when he indulges in alcohol and drugs.
“Who has trouble? Who has misery? Who has quarrels? Who has a complaint? Who has wounds for no reason? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who drink glass after glass of wine and mix it with everything.” (Prov. 23:29-30 God’s Word)
To paraphrase, who get involve in bloody fights and figure in horrible accidents? Who often end up making a gigantic fool of themselves by doing such ghastly and scandalous things, like prostituting themselves to loan sharks and syndicates? Those who take sniff after sniff (of cocaine) and shot after shot (of heroin), or what have you.
4. Do not enter. “Just this once” is the bargaining line that some youngsters use to convince themselves to join their peers in a drinking spree or a pot session. Unfortunately, as what reformed alcoholics and drug addicts would attest, once is never enough.
The best way to evade the deadly trap of alcoholism and drug addiction is to say “no” to even the slightest temptation. The wise King Solomon advises that we should not even “gaze at wine” or any other intoxicating substance (Prov. 23:31 New International Version). The point is, we should not give evil a chance to creep up on us and ruin our lives. The Bible teaches, thus:
“Do not give way to drunkenness and the ruin that goes with it, but let the Holy Spirit fill you.” (Eph. 5:18 Revised English Bible)
“Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not go the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn-away from it and pass on.” (Prov. 4:14-15 Amplified 2015)
5. Dead End. This is precisely where substance abuse will lead you. There is nothing to gain but everything to lose in being a drunkard or a drug addict:
“Woe betide those who rise early in the morning, to go in pursuit of drink, who sit late into the night inflamed with wine.” (Isa. 5:11 REB)
“Woe to those who are ‘heroes’ when it comes to drinking and boast about the liquor they can hold.” (Isa. 5:22 Living Bible)
Take note: it’s not “Whoa!” as to denote thrill or excitement; it’s “Woe,” meaning, curse or punishment. That’s because drunkards, be it with wine or drugs or any intoxicating substance, are among those doomed to suffer the severest of all punishments:
“… Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers—none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God.” (I Cor 6:9-10 NLT, emphasis ours)
“… their doom is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev. 21:8 NLT)
6. Stop. So, are you among those who have made the wrong turn and now face such dead end? It is time to hit the brakes and stop ruining your life with those vices. Making a firm decision to stop drinking or taking drugs begins with acknowledging that “you have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties” (I Pet. 4:3 NLT). Don’t spend the rest of your life chasing after such evil desires. Instead, arm yourselves with the same attitude our Lord Jesus Christ had, and be ready to endure sufferings for the sake of doing God’s will (I Pet. 4:2, 1 NLT).
Follow the road
Doing what it takes to straighten out one’s life can be like driving on one long, bumpy road. But it is this road that leads to a better place—far better than what we can imagine.
Let us keep on following the road that “leads to receiving eternal life,” which God is showing you now (Ps. 16:11, A Translation for Translators).
By doing so, we can expect God to always be there to guide us, no matter what:
“The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you … If you wander off the road to the right or to the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, ‘Here is the road. Follow it’.” (Isa. 30:20-21 GNB)