…”Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4: 13-14
Our family just got back from an extended road trip and I chuckle remembering my husband ordering VIRGIN piña coladas at two separate restaurants during our vacation. Tired of soda, lemonades and teas he wanted something different. He tried to revisit a familiar flavor from his B.C. days, minus the alcohol, but the “mocktails” chuckled at his effort. Of course they didn’t taste good! After all he never drank them back in the day because of his intense love of coconut and pineapple! Lol! Why did we and why does anyone drink alcohol?
Is it the look of the drink or its flavor as my middle child suggested when I asked my kids? Naw, there are many attractive and tasty non-alcoholic beverages out there. The look and taste of alcoholic drinks are just to make it go down easier. There are really two reasons people reach for alcohol or any other drug: to feel accepted (no one wants to be the odd man out) and to self-medicate (relieve stress, fear, self-consciousness or guilt). You know the common reasoning. “Everyone else is doing it.” “I had a rough day.” “I feel awkward around them so I need to relax and loosen up.” “I need something to take the edge off before I run into so and so.”
As I shared with my kids, I briefly drank alcohol to fit in, de-stress or a combination of both (depending on the situation). Not long after receiving Christ in college I lost enjoyment of alcohol until I soon had no desire for it at all (except for rum raisin ice cream…can’t help it :-)). Yet it wasn’t until 3 years ago, learning about the TRUE meaning of the Gospel (the grace of God in the person of Christ) that I understood how Jesus dealt with the two reasons people drink alcohol.
For believers, Jesus gave us peace with God the Father at the cross when He became our sin, was judged for it and gave us His righteousness. You will never find a better deal than that anywhere! God is not out to “get us” because He has chosen to forget our sins (since He already judged them in His Son). Now we are accepted in Christ and are God’s beloved.
The One who knew ALL my dirt and had the right to condemn me, instead says I’m cool with Him. Whose disapproval could possibly matter? What’s left to fear or feel guilty about? Who needs a drink when I know I’m right with God!
Rather than tell my kids, “don’t drink” from a legalistic perspective (which doesn’t work). I’m thankful we started discussing the root of the temptation and how the cross met the need Jesus alone satisfies. I’ll just keep reminding them about the best Drink there is so they’ll remember where to get their fill when they’re thirsty!
SOUL FOOD (Scripture References)
Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:12-17; Ephesians 1:3-6; Romans 8:33, 34
© Vanessa A. Harris and The Legacy of Faith, 2013.