The Result of Bad Habits
“The best way to prevent addiction is to never begin.”
Today let’s start by reviewing the lesson from last week. You may recall that we learned peer pressure is one of the top contributing factors for young people deciding to use drugs. Because of this we also learned that we need to be careful about our friends and those we spend our time with. It is important that we choose friends who have a good influence on us. This week we want to talk about our habits, drugs and the end result. Let us open our Bibles to review the scripture from last week.
1Petro 5: 8
“8 Kuwa na kiasi, kuwa macho; kwa sababu adui yenu Ibilisi, kama simba angurumaye, huzunguka-zunguka, akitafuta mtu ammeze: ”
The devil is seeking to devour and destroy your life at a young age. He wants to tempt you will all the bad things this world has to offer in an endeavor to get you to turn away from God.
Remember, you are an eternal, spiritual being with a miraculous mind and body that bears God’s reflection, and God wants every part of you to be pure. However, this is only possible when your spirit lines up with God’s. When you commit sin, you disrupt your companionship with God and will begin to slide away from him. Some of you or your friends might say, “The bible doesn’t say anything about drugs, so get off my back!” You might ask does the scripture’s apparent silence mean that some drug use is acceptable? Drugs were virtually nonexistent during Biblical times. Thus, substances such as marijuana, tobacco, glue, Miraa (Khat) and any number of others aren’t mentioned in scripture, but God makes it clear that he prohibits drunkenness
“13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in wantonness rioting and drunkenness not in chambering and, not in strife and envying.”
“18 Wala msilewe na divai, ambamo ndani yake mna ulafi; bali mjazwe na Roho; ”
The application to drugs is obvious: Substances that compromise our minds and bodies are against God’s plan for our life. Consider the following:
- One marijuana smoke is equal to the impairment effect of three beers.
- Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulant drugs that speed up your mind and body. The main effects are similar to methamphetamine known here in the United States by its street name speed.
- Khat is equal to the impairment effect of five beers. This is two more beers than Marijuana smoke.
- Glue – sniffing or inhaling – is also equal to the impairment effect of five beers. These substances are dangerous and can destroy a healthy mind very quickly.
Using drugs impairs our thinking and causes us to lose control and do things we would not do if we were in our right mind. I encourage you as a young person to think of someone who is bound by drugs. I think that you will agree that this person is often unemployed, has irrational thoughts, uses poor judgement, has many sexual partners, and is often not faithful to their wife or husband. In other words, a person like this seems to have no self-control.
The virtue of self-control is critical for a disciple of Christ. Self-control is one of the primary virtues of the Christian life. Christians are instructed to be in control of their decision-making processes and not enslaved to anything that erodes their ability to act in ways that are honoring to God. A clear mind — which is impossible under the influence of drugs — is crucial to self-control, which in turn affects our ability to grow as Christians.
God — not drugs — can be trusted to see us through the pains of life. Perhaps the only reason some people are interested in drugs is that drugs seem to offer relief from pain. Maybe life isn’t going the way they hoped. Maybe someone has been abused or is abusing them. Maybe someone they loved or respected rejected them. Maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend disappointed or hurt them. Maybe their parents divorced, and things are difficult. Craving a reprieve from the difficulties of life is completely understandable, but some methods are better than others. Illegal drugs and alcohol abuse should never be an option for the Christian. Ponder this question: How do drugs really help? Drugs may alter your perception of reality for a while but do nothing to change or improve the circumstance. In fact, in the end, drugs will only cause more problems. Drugs will addict and isolate you while creating a financial burden that is difficult to escape. Drugs will only cause more hurt to add to what was there before.
Did you know that alcohol is the oldest drug around? Because drugs impair your mind in the same manner as wine, you can substitute any drug of today in place of wine within the following scriptures and you will know what God thinks about drug use.
“17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.”
“21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.”
“11 Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them.”
“1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging; and whosoever is fooled thereby is not wise”
Habakkuk 2: 15-17
“15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor to drink, that puttest they bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look upon his nakedness?
16 Though art filled with shame for glory; drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered; the cup of the Lord’s right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.
17 For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee, and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid, because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.”
I will share two examples in the Bible about men whose experience with alcohol led to behavior that was unseemly to God and brought shame to those involved. First, let’s look at Noah.
“20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard
21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.”
We find Noah drank wine, became drunk, and lost his sense of self-control, leaving himself unclothed in his tent. Later, Noah became angry when he discovered his son came to call and saw his father unclothed in his tent. This was not Noah’s son’s fault, if Noah had not been drunk, he would have properly covered himself. If you read further, you will find Noah became ashamed and blamed his son for his own transgression. One thing that comes after addiction is shame. Noah lost control and the end result brought shame to his life and hurt to his son.
Lot’s story also involves alcohol. Lot, Abraham’s Nephew, found himself in an ungodly city. Abraham prayed earnestly to God that He would send angels to save Lot from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot was told to take his family and flee to the mountains and under no circumstances were any who left the city to look back. Unfortunately, Lot’s wife did not obey and looked back. Immediately she was turned to a pillar of salt and this left Lot alone with his two daughters. Later after settling in their new home, Lot’s daughters became concerned that there were no sons to carry on their father’s name. Neither of the daughters were married and had children. So, the two daughters devised an ungodly plan to make their father drunk and lay with him to become pregnant. Lot became so drunk that the Bible says he had no memory of the girls coming or going. Had Lot avoided wine that could induce drunkenness, he could have stopped the ungodly behavior his daughters perpetrated on him. Instead, Lot was out of his mind with drunkenness and succumbed to a horrible act with his own children. The incident is now recorded in the Bible for all to read as an example of what not to do. The end result of drunkenness left a legacy of shame for Lot and his family.
“33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down nor when she arose”
When a person uses drugs and alcohol it affects their mind and their ability to control their body and actions. Many times, people under the influence will do things that are unnatural, not normal, and ungodly. Therefore, God strongly condemns alcohol and drugs in his word.
“20 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”
The Bible has many scriptures that talk about drunkenness because alcohol and drugs affect the mind and the body. The devil will always say, “go ahead, try it, one time won’t hurt you.” But one risk of casual usage is easy addiction. Some individuals will get hooked from the first time and no one can know their susceptibility for addiction ahead of time. That’s why the best way to prevent addiction is never to begin.
What happens when you slide down a steep slope and wipe out? By the time you stop you’re a lot farther down the hill from where you fell. Momentum carries you along after the initial crash. Unwise decisions have a momentum of their own. When the devil shows you drugs, he endeavors to make it look harmless, but you can’t see the end of where you are going. You don’t know how far or how fast it’ll carry you. As someone slides down the hill of drug use, they tend to follow several stages:
- Experimental usage: Alcohol or drugs are tried for the first time, often fueled by curiosity and/or motivated by peer pressure.
- Casual users: Casual users have decided they enjoy being high but limit their use. Often, they use only on specific occasions.
- Regular users: When casual users become regular users, they can usually still function at work and school, but they are dangerously close to becoming chemically addicted. They may believe they can stop using but find themselves unable to do so for any significant period of time. People around them begin to notice signs of usage.
- Chemical addiction: In the final stage, addicts are compelled to use, not for pleasure’s sake, but simply to feel normal. Those who reach this stage often deny the seriousness of the situation, even though friends, family and co-workers recognize the problem.
I thought I would share how the Israelites in the old testament were taught to deal with their children who went down the path of drugs.
“18 If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:
19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place;
20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard.
21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.”
Thank God things are different today where if you have found yourself starting down the path of alcohol and drugs, you don’t need to continue this way and end in a deplorable state. Before you drop out of school or destroy your family, God has a way to help you end this drug and alcohol abuse for good. But first, with your whole heart, you must be honest with yourself and admit you are powerless over the addiction. Admit that you have a serious need and ask God to forgive you of your sins. Jesus said that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever shall believe on Him shall be saved. God has made a way out of sin and the drug and alcohol addiction that might be affecting your life today.
1 John 1:9
“9 If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Praise God, He has power over all the power of the enemy and all sin. Young people, I am speaking to you, the best way to prevent addiction is to never begin. I’ve told you before that God saved me at a young age. I had temptation from friends that wanted me to try drugs and alcohol. Thank God, he gave me the ability to say no, and I never had to smoke marijuana, try drugs, or drink alcohol. Because of the choice to say no to drugs and alcohol, God blessed my life. Thank God, I was able to finish high school and college. I was able to go to work and worked many successful jobs. Because of God in my life, I never had to feel the shame of losing self-control because of drugs or alcohol. So, I stand by this today, the best way to prevent addiction to alcohol or drugs is to never begin.