14 October 2008

Addicted to Much Wine?

It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,
For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
- Proverb 31:4-5

Didn't think I meant all of Proverbs 31, didja?

"Older men are to be sober-minded [or temperate], dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Likewise, older women, to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, and not slaves to much wine" (Titus 2: 2-3).

The NIV says "not addicted to much wine."

I don't drink alcoholic drinks. I can't even stand the smell of fermented beverages. Here's the thing: All Scripture is inspired. We know that every word of it is necessary and is "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16, KJV).

How does this apply to me, a Christian woman studying Proverb 31?

I think that "slaves to much wine" applies to more than drinking habits. I "interpret" this as a physical thing with a spiritual meaning, concerning indulgence and temptations of the flesh. I can't make any new laws that are not found anywhere in Scripture regarding this. I'm only trying to look at this lesson from the inspired writer whose written words were passed on and saved for my learning. I don't think this is only a checklist that I can check off, saying "oh, I'm not a drunkard. I must be wonderful." I think there's always more to learn.

First of all, the direct, physical lesson. Doesn't it hurt your physical body, which God gave you to care for and honour Him with? Whether it's wine or something else (food, sugar, caffiene, over the counter stuff) - overindulgence hurts physically. But we know that. Best not to "look at wine when it sparkles in the cup". (Proverbs 23:31-32)

But also: don't be controlled against your will by something external. "Such were some of you; but you were washed...". "Don’t get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery [wild living, excess, riot, luxury]. But instead be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18) "All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. " (1 Corinthians 6:12).

And consider this:
"But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble." (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)
I think that we are intelligently blessed by God enough to be able to apply "eating things devoted to idols" to our lives today.

Finally, a quote:

"And as I get older, am I living a life that’s more indulgent, more carefree, more thoughtless? Or am I living a life that is more focused, more intentional, more temperate, more wise about what I’m doing with my time and with my life?

"So I think Paul is saying, first of all here, whether you drink wine or not is not the first issue. The issue is do you have a lifestyle that is temperate, that is disciplined, that is bounded by godly ways of thinking, that is fruitful and productive?"
- ROH Radio, Nancy Leigh DeMoss

I personally have a problem with "needing" to check the computer too often, and to have coffee. There are other things, but these are the biggies, for now, in this area. Now, I don't know if the Proverbs 31 lady may have had to use a little caffeine to help her get started before the sun rose, but if she did, I'm sure she did it responsibly, not relying on it to help her through, because she put her reliance in the Lord. May my husband and children see that in my life!

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praying, Bible reading, dressing nicely, turning off the computer
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