Monday, April 7, 2008

Total Honesty

I didn't get much sleep last night. I guess I have some conviction in my heart.

Here is the issue-

I went out Friday night with a girlfriend from high school and a couple of girls she knows. This friend and I have remained great friends all these years and she invited me to a ladies night out.
We went to dinner, and here is where the conviction comes in. I had a couple of beers.

I know the Bible says-do not get drunk with wine. So I assume that a couple beers isn't that big of a deal. But, the conviction is there...am I being a good witness for Christ? Am I a hypocrite? Did I really do something wrong?

I have always felt that because I am of legal age to drink, then I am not breaking the law.

During my time with God this morning- this is the scripture that really got me to thinking about this: (It is of Paul speaking to believers everywhere)

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is by faith in Christ- the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.--Philippians 3:7-9

It says- not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law but a righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.

Because I am of legal age I was obeying the law-but maybe not the law of righteousness that God calls me to.

The study portion of my Bible on these verses says this-we have to make sacrifices in order to fully enjoy the resurrection power of Christ. What are we willing to give up in order to know Christ? An overcrowded schedule in order to spend quiet time with him? Some of your plans or pleasures? Your friends approval?

I am still struggling with this a bit. I know there is conviction in my heart, but did I really do something wrong?

I have already gone to God for the answers I am seeking on this issue. I know that he is my guide.

I am curious if anyone else deals or has dealt with this issue in their heart.

14 comments:

kmom3 said...

Sweet Cheri, I thank you for your total honesty. I know that this is a topic that can cause a lot of debate and even heated discussion.

In my own life, I have ended up choosing not to drink anymore. I was never a heavy drinker, but certainly enjoyed a social drink on occassion. But when I gave my life to the Lord, I felt like He desired me to close the door to that area of my life completely.

My husband and I talk about this from time to time. There are still days we might like to have a drink. Still times a fruity beverage looks good to me and a beer looks mighty tempting to him. But, for the sake of our witness, because of what he has convicted us of, and because we just don't want to crack open a door that could possibly get swung wide open...we don't drink anymore.

Now is that to say we may not slip someday. No. And do I think we would be condemned to hell if we did. No. And do I look down on you for drinking with your friends. No. Because I am not your God. I am not your judge. And I am not you.

I will pray for you that God will make it clear to you what He is calling YOU to in your walk with Him. I know you want to walk in obedience, and that you desire for nothing to get in the way of your relationship with Him. You have such a love for Him that is evident in all that you say on your blog! You are always a blessing to me.

Praying for you! Love you!
K

Amy Wyatt said...

Cheri, This is a tough one. I don't think that the Bible tells us that drinking itself is wrong, but getting drunk is. I do think that some people are often confused on this matter and it can cause problems because they don't know whether drinking is right or wrong either, so they just assume that it is and they judge. This runs us into becoming a stumbling block to others. While you might not feel conviction for drinking, someone else might judge you (not that it is right for them to judge mind you) and it may affect your witness for Christ in their eyes. It is a very delicate balance.
Paul knew he could eat meat sacrificed to idols but thought he might offend those who were weaker in their faith.
You might find this article interesting. http://www.thercg.org/articles/idas.html
This article is good too.
http://www.bibleviews.com/stumblingblocks.html
Blessings to you sweet friend. I applaud you for being so open and honest.

beckyjomama said...

Oh sweet bloggy friend! Did ya get drunk? I doubt it. Did you do crazy, sinful things? I doubt it even more. I have two things to say in this area:

1 - Drinking is not a sin. There is nowhere in the Bible that says it is. Drinking to the point of drunkeness and sinfulness IS a sin, but drinking is not. Wasn't Jesus' first miracle turning water into wine? And was it not the good stuff? And I promise you that HE was not sinning! He drank wine with the disciples. John drank. Paul drank. They didn;t get drunk, but they did drink. All about the self control.

2 - I think that letting people see that believers are human is good. If they think that we are all high and mighty, holier than thou, super rightous, perfect people, Christianity becomes a standard that NO ONE can live up to! I truly believe that letting them see that we can have fun and still be true to our beliefs is such a relief to anyone even remotely considering Jesus. Yes, we have fun. Yes, we ARE fun, and forgiven, adn saved and living for a higher calling. All at the same time!

Don't worry about your witness. Unless you got "crazy" you are good.
Becky Jo

Stephanie (Ocean Mommy) said...

Cheri, I so appreciate and admire your honesty here. The drinking thing has never been a struggle for me, I've just never been attracted to it.(Probably because my parents don't drink??) BUT, I have a very dear friend who struggles with this issue. She always feel guilty after a glass of wine or a beer. We've had this conversation MANY times. Here's what I tell her. Is what you are feeling conviction from the Holy Spirit that your action needs to change? OR, is what you are feeling condemnation. THAT is from the enemy not God. Conviction from the Holy Spirit doesn't beat you up, it draws you to the Father...

You are doing the right thing by taking it straight to God....I'm praying for you!!! He'll show you what is right for you in this area.

Darlene said...

Please pray for my family. My daughter is in rebellion and is making a bad decision that will affect her future and ours. Joey and I need strength and guidance. Andrea needs God. I am afraid she is turning her back on HIM...all over a non-christian male who is deciving her. Please ask friends to pray and add our requests to your list at church.
Thanks

Jenny said...

Hey Cheri,
After I became a Christian I struggled with this a good bit and it still pops up from time to time. This is just the view I have for me, but might help you too.

I was raised in a family that has alcholics from one end to another, everytime I choose to drink, I am inviting Satan to tempt me with a very real stronghold.

As a woman who wants to show others that Jesus is able to deliver you from any area of bondage, if I drink in public or buy it in a store, would that person think less of my Jesus?

Lastly, after all he has done for me, is it really that great? And do I want any area in my life to cause someone else to stumble?

These are just questions and answers me and God have worked out for me.

Keep seeking God's face and he'll show you exactly what He wants from you.
Jenny

Laurie Adams said...

Cheri,
Certainly I or anyone else cannot judge you for your decision, only God can and only the Holy Spirit can convict you. The right or wrong of drinking has always been a topic of discussion among Christians, especially new Christians. I, personally, believe that we are to be "separate" from the world, therefore, if it is acceptable for a unbeliever to drink alchol, should we as Christians not be separate from that sort of activity?

The best direction I can give you is the same direction I have given all three of my grown boys as they struggled with different temptations in their youth:

If your action, reaction or habit, whether you believe it is alright to particpate in or not, causes a unbeliever to stumble (or causes them to NOT believe or causes them to doubt your faith) then you should NOT do it.

ROMANS 14:21
"It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine or do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak."

There are other scriptures you can study about stumbling blocks, I believe issues such as drinking comes down to the question of ARE WE A STUMBLING BLOCK?

Hope this helps you, I am praying for God to give you wisdom, direction and a peace about this situation. God loves you Cheri and He wants you to be complete in Him!

love Laurie

Leah said...

Cheri,

Your honesty and rawness touch my heart. Here is where I am on this and I'm not saying I'm right or wrong.

I do enjoy a fruity drink, however, I don't do it very often because alcohol keeps me awake--I mean wide awake!! I do not believe that having a drink is a sin. Drinking to excess and getting drunk is a sin because something other than the Holy Spirit is controlling you.

When I do choose to drink, I do it either in my own home or with a close friend who is a strong Christian who also knows my heart and my walk with the Lord. I try never to drink where a non-Christian or a weaker Christian could stumble because of seeing me drink. Again, I do this very rarely--maybe once a year simply because of the sleeping thing.

Make sense??

Love ya,

Leah

Jenifer said...

Hey, girl. It's comforting to know I have friends out there praying for me. Thanks.

I read your post yesterday, but as you can see haven't commented until now. First, can I just say "Wow!" at your honesty. I believe it is so important for us to be able to open up as sisters in the Lord and share our struggles and concerns knowing that others are going to encourage us and not condemn us. This is something that is hard for me to do. I admire you! :)

Anyway... on to your question/ concern. This is a topic that has been discussed for many years and will unfortunately continue to be an issue that divides belivers to some extent. There are always the normal responses given when the issue arises:

*Jesus turned water into wine and even drank Himself, so if He did it, it must be ok for me to

*the Bible doesn't say don't drink, it just says don't get drunk so it's ok to have an ocassional drink

*as long as I do it in the privacy of my own home it's ok

*as long as I'm not being a stumbling block to others it's ok

*it's just a matter of what the Holy Spirit has convicted you of personally

I purposefully didn't respond yesterday to this because I wanted to see what others had to say and most of the typical responses were given. I'm going to be totally honest with you because you were with all of us. I believe Christians should not in any way partake in drinking. Yes, Scripture never says that drinking in and of itself is a sin- but there's a whole lot more involved here they most aren't willing to dig in to. I believe that as Christians we are called to live up to a higher standard- we are called to be holy as He is holy- to put off the old and put on the newness of Christ. For the sake of not leaving pages and pages of my ramblings, here are two articles that I hope you will read. They are long but I feel that they will maybe address some of your concerns and questions.
www.gty.org/Resources/Transcripts/1937 and www.gty.org/Resources/Transcripts/1938

I love you girl and so appreciate your honesty. Please know that you are loved no matter what.

Many blessings, my friend,
Jenifer

LAURIE said...

I am responding twice because after reading Jenifer's response I wanted to give a witness to what she is saying.

I think if you take the word "drinking" out of the equation and place any other VICE there that so many of us struggle with..(smoking, cussing, r-rated movies, porn on the internet, anger, pride, etc, etc, etc)Whatever our addictions or behaviour that cannot be separated from the world, I believe is wrong for us to do. I said it in my first comment, and it is scriptural not my words...WE ARE TO BE SEPARATE...I do not think that being "separate" means it is ok to do those things in private, "where nobody can see", God sees and knows everything. Is it worth missing eternity with Him over?

Not a chance I am going to take. It would be bad enough to miss out on everlasting life but I certainly do not want to allow my actions to separate someone else who is watching me to miss out on eternity with God.

Now thats something to chew on for awhile, huh?

Lean upon Him Cheri and what His Word says and His Holy Spirit will guide and direct you.

You are awesome. love Laurie

Carol said...

Wow. Cheri, thank you for your honesty. This is a big struggle for a lot of Christians. I have actually never drank before, so this isn't an issue for me. But I do have an opinion. But take it for what it is - an opinion. You are right to go to God for the answer. I do think that Christians should not drink. I think it is one of those things that stands us apart from the rest of the world. It serves several purposes.

First, someone will always ask why you aren't drinking. I know that first hand. You can tell them you don't for moral reasons and share your faith. That is often difficult and sometimes isn't the time or place. You have to be the judge there. Then there are those who will see you and will judge you based on the fact you are drinking. As wrong as they are for judging you, if you are a stumbling block for them that isn't good for you.

I do believe that when there is that much gray area surrounding an issue, the safe way is to steer clear completely. I hope that is helpful. I will pray for your guidance.

Christy said...

In effort to promote, our church made these nifty little car magnets and handed them out one Sunday. After church, we (the young adult couples)gathered around talking about getting together for fellowship. One of my pals said, "Hey, those car magnets are pretty cool, huh? Once I get that guy on my car, I've got to put a stop to my road rage." When I asked "Why?" she said, "Because, then everyone will know that I am a worshiping Christian. What kind of witness would that make me?" I thought that was a cute reply. I always think of that when facing decisions that could make or break my role as a good witness.

Boy, have I struggled with conviction. I grew up a Christian, but it wasn't until I became an adult that I really put forth the effort into developing a sturdy relationship with Christ. It was also then that I had to make changes in order to be a good witness. Things even as simple as gossiping and passing judgment. For a Southern woman, front porch gossip is just the norm. >:0)

We are always going to slip up, and not be the very best witness that we can be, right? We aren't perfect. The key is knowing that, and working harder at making better decisions in the future.

Praying that the Lord eases your mind of this conviction!

(Thank you, so much, for checking out my blog and leaving a comment. Your blog is really great, and I look forward to reading your past posts!)

Blessings to you!

Ceci said...

I'm late commenting...but I understand your struggle. We don't drink at my house (we have had sips of champagne on New Year's and margaritas on birthdays)and it isn't an issue for us. Neither my husband or myself feel like we are missing anything....but my ex-husband and his wife are the total opposite. Dinner can't be served without beer, and this has caused a lot of tension.

As for the conviction of God and righteousness, I think that it requires prayer to know if what you did was right, wrong, or irrelevant. Many churches serve real wine as part of communion. Others would excommunicate you if you suggested it. Obviously, there are examples in the Bible where women were given strict instruction not to drink strong drink, as were their children. But, Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine. Keep praying about it and God will give you His desire for your life!

Oh, and thanks for the prayers. We can't wait to meet our new baby on Friday!

Mariel said...

I LOVE YOUR HONESTY! You are a more mature believer than most I know because of your ablitity to e REAL! God honors honesty, girl!

You need to do what you feel like God is speaking to YOU about! If it is sin for you...then don't do it! Since the Bible is NOT condeming this, we are each called to seek His face....regardless of others opinions! You are to seek your Father's direction, sweet sister, and not be condemned by man's judgement! Usually the one's quickest to judge feel the most guilty for their own hypocracy!

I love your honest post, though, and pray it opens all the believers who read this to seek to be honest with each other! It is in the honesty we are healed and can pray for one another!

Richest blessings, dear one!