Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 17 – The Dangers Of Substance Abuse

“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine.” Proverbs 23:29,30

Devotional Thought For The Day

If this was not such a terribly tragic topic, we would observe great humor in these words. They are humorous to those who are not addicted to mind-altering substances – for they aptly describe the consequences of over-indulgence in alcohol.  Sadly, today we have to add all manner of other drugs, both illegal and prescribed, which destroy people’s lives and rob them of their souls. Those who work with the addicted know that the outcome for most of those who have come under the power of such substances is very dismal and grim. With some drugs, their power is so great that from the very first use the one taking them is addicted and set on a course that leads to premature death.

There are of course people who have woes, sorrows, strife, complaining, and other physical problems, caused by other things rather than the overindulgence in alcohol or drugs. The difference is that we generally have less control over these things than we have over the glass in our hands.  So the woes of alcohol and drug abuse are self-inflicted – and the only thing that can set one on the path of recovery is a deep seated decision that one truly wants to change. This is the very sad and tragic thing about addiction – the person is robbed of the will to change, or even the desire to change, even though they are well aware that their indulgence is destroying everything precious in their life and actually killing them.

These verses [and the next few which also deal with drunkenness] are often used as a basis for the prohibition of all consumption of alcohol.  This is a grotesque distortion which is contrary to other passages of Holy Scripture.  Jesus turned water into wine – in great quantities, and the words of the steward of the marriage feast clearly indicate that this wine had alcoholic content. [John 2:10] Jesus used wine in instituting the sacrament of His supper – the time of year dictated that the “fruit of the vine” was fermented. The apostle Paul urges Timothy to use wine in moderation [1 Tim. 5:23] and the Lord Himself speaks of drinking the “fruit of the vine” anew with His disciples in the kingdom of God [Mark 14:25]. So those who think that the kingdom of God is a matter of eating and drinking, and who proscribe the use of all alcohol, ought to think again – since “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” [1 Tim. 4:4,5]

For those who cannot use alcohol in moderation, they should abstain; a great and enjoyable life is certainly obtainable without the use of alcohol. For those who use it, they must remember that moderation is required, for drunkenness is forbidden by God’s Word, for our great good. Illegal and controlled drugs are illegal for a reason – they are a grave danger to human being and happiness. To abuse them is violation of law, and also God’s law [4th Commandment, or 5th in the reformed churches]. Even the use of so-called mild drugs like marijuana is illegal under federal law, and thus against God’s law.

Obviously there is forgiveness for all sins, even for those involving drunkenness and drug abuse – “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from ALL sin.” But it is certain that God wills the best for us, for our lives, and this means that we cannot be abusing ourselves with alcohol or any other substances. The proverb expresses this good and gracious will of God for us, and we do well to heed its wisdom!

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us for times when we have abused Your good and gracious gifts, and have mercy on all those seized and controlled by substance abuse. Grant healing and strength to all those attempting to break free, and preserve Your dear children from falling under the power of anything, especially alcohol and drugs. Grant us wisdom and freedom in all things, sanctifying all the things that we use by Your Word and prayer, and remind us always to be thankful. Amen.