“Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. But do so with gentleness and respect”
See 1 Peter 3:15
A good friend of mine who I grew up with was in town a while back. When he was here, he texted me, and invited me out for dinner. It’s always good to see him and catch up on each other’s lives in person. Social media is great, but there’s nothing quite like having dinner face-to-face with a friend.
As we sat down to order our drinks, I told the server, “I’ll have a Diet Coke,” and my friend hesitated. After eyeing the long list of beers on tap, he asked me, “Do you care if I drink?”
“Of course not.”
“Okay, I’ll have a Boulevard,” which was one of my old favorite beers.
The server came back with our drinks, and he started to ask me some questions about my sobriety.
“Are you sure you don’t care if I drink?” He paused, as he slowly brought the tall beer to his mouth.
“Why would I care?”
“You know…” he hesitated once again, as if he wanted to say, “Because you write books on alcohol abuse.”
“Mike, why would I want to stop you from enjoying a couple beers?” He looked at me strangely as he sat the beer back down after taking a sip. I continued, “If I was allergic to shellfish, do you think I should get upset with you for enjoying a nice bowl of shrimp fettuccine?”
“So why should I get upset with you for drinking beer?”
“Ah, okay. I see what you’re saying.”
“Truth be told, in Jesus’ first recorded miracle, He created alcohol. So obviously alcohol is not the problem. It’s the person’s thinking who turns alcohol into an obsession.”
By the look on his face, I could see the cogs start to pick up steam in his head.
“So does Jennifer still drink? That wouldn’t be very fair to you if she did.”
I replied with a smile, “Why wouldn’t it be fair? She doesn’t struggle with alcoholism.”
“Oh yeah. I guess you’re right. So you don’t get mad at her when she does drink?”
“Why would I get mad at someone for drinking? First of all, I have no control over that, plus, she doesn’t drink like I did. She has a glass or two of wine, maybe once a week–if that. When I drank, I drank bottles of wine, multiple times a week, usually hers! Heck, I’d drink anything I could get my hands on!”
“Yeah ya did! I remember that!” he exclaimed.
“Exactly! That’s why I don’t do it now!” We both laughed pretty hard, as we both knew how much of a lush I acted like.
“So how long have you been sober now?”
“Over three years, and it feels great. I actually enjoy not drinking. It’s so much better for me.”
“That’s awesome bud,” he said to me proudly.
I finished up the conversation about drinking, “Mike, there is nothing wrong with alcohol, at all. But there is something wrong with me drinking it. I can’t. When I enjoy it, I can’t control it. And when I control it, I can’t enjoy it. So I just don’t drink.”
“I got you, Matt. That’s cool,” and we moved on.
After the awkwardness of the alcohol issue was over, we had a nice dinner, catching up and talking about old times.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, thank you for my sobriety. If I had known how much better life would be by me NOT being controlled by a liquid, I would have given it up a long time ago. But even still, you were extremely patient with me as you taught me that getting drunk all the time would never match up with my spirit. Thank you for your grace, thank you for your unconditional love, and thank you for never giving up on me. You stayed committed to me, and I’m so grateful. Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. For those who are battling an addiction today–any addiction–help them. Help them to realize that as a believer, you have ALREADY set them free from everything that controls them. All they have to do is live that freedom out! They think they are a prisoner to this thing, but they’re not! That’s a lie from Satan himself! The prison doors are wide open! They are sitting in that cell, and yet, a warm breeze is right outside that doorway! THEY’RE FREE! All they have to do is step out! IT’S OPEN!…Just…step out. They might not KNOW that you’ve freed them, but you have. Reveal this truth to them. Teach them about their freedom, today. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This devotional is from 60 Days for Jesus, Volume 3. Get your copy here!