Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness...
The subject of intoxication is as common as a barking dog: funny to some, painful to others, irritating to many and ignored by most. Is the dog a frisky friend or a formidable foe? Can its owner control it?
Because control is the issue. From ancient times to modern days, strong drinks, like wine, invite debate.* Can we control the drink, or does the drink control us? After all, Jesus drank wine, but many Christians don't. So who's right? Jesus is always right, but don't think abstainers are wrong.
The answer is two-fold: 1) Are we casting our cares on God or a bottle? Because peace outside of God is temporary, at best. The dogs will continue to bark. 2) Are we poor handlers? Some people aren't dog people. That's no crime, but don't buy a puppy because it's cute.
Pretty soon, it will grow, and a wild dog is nobody's friend. For people who lack that control, a first drink is like a puppy: warm and cuddly. But additional drinks turn them into howling hounds, ready to pounce.
Consider the observations of two famous Christians:
'Drunkenness is a flattering devil, a sweet poison, a pleasant sin; whosoever has it, has not himself' (St. Augustine).
'Drunkenness is the devil's back door to hell and everything that is hellish. For he that once gives away his brains to drink is ready to be caught by Satan for anything' (Charles Spurgeon).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: You live in a dangerous time, and you enter a dangerous field. Don't worry about it, because God is with you. Even so, don't tempt Him by slow dancing with a serpent. Instead, 'Watch and be sober' (1 Thessalonians 5:6).
'Because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' (1 Peter 5:8). You need your full wits about you. You need 'The Mind of Christ' (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Don't discard this Treasure for the teaser of intoxication.
To Be Continued...
* For the purpose of this devotion, I limit the subject of intoxication to alcohol. In terms of drugs: 1) Largely, they're illegal, and God says to respect the laws of the land; 2) They're designed for addiction and far more dangerous. Their abuse is an international disaster. No safe ground exists.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Leadership series.