A friend asked me the other day whether I ever drank alcohol. Interesting question for a pastor’s wife and one I’ve been asked before.
Back in the seventies I attended a large Southern university. I was active in sorority and fraternity life. I attended my share of parties and “tipped a few brews.” In those days, I didn’t even believe in God. So I obviously didn’t look to Him for guidance about behaviors like drinking.
But near the end of college, I had a radical conversion to Christ while reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, the famous Oxford scholar and former atheist himself. Everything changed.
These days, I rarely drink—maybe an occasional glass of wine with hubby on vacation. It’s not that moderate drinking is immoral. Or that I’m worried about my image.
But here’s the thing: I want to be alert to hear God’s voice. I know this might sound silly. But I want to remain mindful of those little nudges to pray for someone. Aware of the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or conviction, or instruction. I especially want to hear His whisper—that still small voice that’s so easy to miss. I’ve noticed that even one glass of wine can dull my “spiritual hearing” a bit.
Moreover, the Bible tells me that as a believer in Jesus, I have an enemy. He continually prowls around looking for someone to devour. As long as I live on planet earth, I’m at war. It was George Washington who said, “To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means of preserving peace.”
One of the best ways to prepare for our spiritual war is to remain alert to the wiles of the enemy. The Bible says it this way:
“Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 AMP).
“Keep actively watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the body is weak” (Matthew 26:41 AMP).
I want to win my spiritual battles. To stand strong against temptation. To hear what the Lord wants to reveal to me. In short, I want to stay fully awake.
So I’ll l continue to enjoy that occasional glass of wine. But as a special treat, not a habit. Not a way to cope. And certainly not my method to deal with worry, stress, or anxiety. For those, I think I’ll choose to be “filled with the Holy Spirit.” I’ve discovered that the Spirit gives me lasting peace. Joy. Power. Plus, I’m plenty alert and ready for the next battle.
Hope you don’t hear my thoughts on this subject as a rigid law or rule–but rather something to ponder as we start our New Year.
Blessings to you in 2019!