I was recently having a conversation with someone and they asked me “What’s the big deal about getting drunk?” I appreciated the honesty of the question. God’s word clearly says that drunkenness is wrong, but why does God care? If we aren’t hurting anyone, what’s the big deal?
I thought perhaps the response might be helpful to you.
- Before we consider what God says, we have to start with understanding of who God is. So often it can feel like God is some cosmic rule keeper who gave us a book that has a whole bunch of things in it that we aren’t supposed to do and he carries around a checklist to determine if we are following His rules. But is that really how scripture portrays God? No! In scripture God reveals himself as a loving father (1 John 3:1). A loving father who cares about us so much that he was willing to die for us (Romans 5:8). Wow, that’s love. This loving father doesn’t giving arbitrary rules to his children. He wants us to thrive and live an abundant life (John 15:11). He’s a good father who wants what is best for us (Luke 11:12). And so he doesn’t let us go out into the world and just try to “find our way”. He loves us and so he wants to guide us to the paths of life. God’s commands are not meant to be burdensome, but a delight to our soul (Psalm 1:1-2). Jesus said come to me and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). He wants to take our burdens off and that means protecting us from making choices that could lead to us carrying regrets. We have to start from this fundamental understanding of God in order to appreciate anything that he says to us.
- Our loving father doesn’t want us to get drunk because he knows that drinking impairs our ability to be under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Being in the Spirit’s influence leads us to be people who are full of “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal 5:22-23 ESV).
- Our loving father knows we are living on enemy soil and that each day is a day of war against the evil one who wants to destroy our lives (Eph 6:11-12). And so he doesn’t want to send us into battle with our thinking impaired by alcohol, because no soldier gets drunk on a battlefield.
- Our loving Father has commissioned us to be His ambassadors and he wants to be able to commend us for a job well done (2 Cor 5:20). He wants us to represent his kingdom well and he knows we’ll need all our wits about us to do so.
There are also a bunch of health reasons, but I’m not a doctor, so I’ll just stick with scripture.