Has alcohol got a hold on you? Here are some simple ideas to help overcome temptation based on what the Bible has to say.
Whether alcohol tends to make you aggressive or just lose your inhibitions entirely, you could one day wake up in the morning with consequences far worse than just a terrible hangover. The Bible gives some good insight into this struggle and from Scripture we can find some simple ideas you can try.
1. Be motivated by God's Word
The Bible clearly says that we need to be sober-minded (i.e. not drunk) and watchful because the enemy of God, the Devil, "prowls around like a roaring lion" looking to destroy us in any way he can (see 1 Peter 5:8-11). While you might enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two, the simple fact is that the Bible tells us not to get drunk on alcohol (see verses like Ephesians 5:18 & Galatians 5:21). Knowing what God says on the subject can give us strength and wisdom.
2. Set yourself boundaries
If you know deep down that one drink always ends up becoming "one too many drinks", then you need to set yourself boundaries. Set a maximum limit and stick to it. Decide before an event how many drinks you will have, or if you will drink at all, and get someone to watch out for you. The Bible instructs those who want to honour God to exercise self-control in all things (see 1 Peter 4:7, Titus 2:11-14, 1 Corinthians 9:25). If you have given Jesus control of your life, He promises when you are tempted He will provide a way of escape if you look to Him (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
3. Fast from alcohol
If you find it impossible to stop once you have had one drink, perhaps you need to stay away from alcohol all together. Jesus warns that it would be better to cut off a part of your body that causes you to sin than end up being thrown into hell (see Matthew 18:8-9). This may sound extreme but what Jesus meant is that sometimes we have to cut things out of our lives that have a hold over us so that we can be right with God. Things that give us short term satisfaction wear off eventually and leave us feeling emptier than before, while God promises us eternal life with Him. If you truly desire being with God forever, surely that reward is worth giving up everything for?
4. Find accountability and good friends
Do you have a friend or relative who you trust and look up to? Ask that person to regularly check up on you and make sure you stick to the boundaries you have set out for yourself. Whether it be just when you are at parties or an informal weekly catch up, accountability provides extra motivation because you know that you will be asked to give an account for your actions. What if you don't have anyone to help you with this or perhaps all your friends are pressuring you to drink more? The Bible explains that those who have bad friends will suffer harm, will become fools and will have their good morals ruined (see Proverbs 13:20, 1 Corinthians 15:33). Is it time for you to seek out better company? A church of Christian believers is a good place to start!
5. Pick yourself up and carry on when you fall
We are all human and sometimes even with the best intentions we can fail to achieve what we set out to do. Thankfully the Bible says God is merciful and abundant in compassion. It also says Jesus sympathises with our weaknesses, because He too was tempted (although He did not sin), and that we can find mercy and forgiveness in Him when we fail (see Hebrews 4:15-16). Don't allow the Devil to get you down with negative thoughts, look to Jesus and never give up!
These practical steps may help but at the end of the day the best thing you can do is accept Jesus Christ into your life. When you acknowledge that you can't do life alone and that you need Jesus' forgiveness for the times you can't live up to God's perfect standard, you allow the Holy Spirit to enter your life and help you with your struggles. Turn to page 7 to learn about how you can become a Christian today. •