Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thinking Biblically About Marijuanna - Part 2

if you haven't read it, please read the post below before this one.

The last post discussed the issue with drugs that hinder sober thinking. Specifically, Worship is central to the conversation. When God created men and women, He created them to worship Him with a sound and sober mind. When people are brought into a relationship with Him through Christ, they are given the Holy Spirit, given everything they need to live godly lives (2 Peter 1:3) and this is through the “true knowledge” of Him. Since we are no longer our “own”, we have been bought with a price and we are to “glorify” God in our body (1 Cor 6:20). This touches on the stewardship aspect, but it also deals with what we worship. God desires for His people to be “filled” or controlled by the Spirit (Eph 5:18) rather than be controlled by anything else, including alcohol (and by association, drugs). We are commanded to use our bodies as instruments of righteousness (Romans 6) since we are no longer “our own” but are His.

This idea of not being controlled by anything even goes into the realm of our human appetites. For instance, in 1 Cor 6, Paul lists those who will not be in heaven with God. He shows that those who practice/do (ongoing, habitually, consistently) these evil and sinful actions like fornication, like idolatry, like homosexuality, like drunkenness are not God’s people (1 Cor 6:9-10). But in verse 11, he says that such were some of you, but they have been saved. So they are now Christians, who have Christ. Right after that, he describes how even the things that are lawful but not beneficial should not have control, “mastered by anything” (1 Cor 6:12). He even goes so far as to say that food will not master him, which in context would be the Jewish dietary laws. Because he has a new Master, he will not be mastered by anything. Addiction to alcohol and drugs definitely “master” those who use them. This is the same line of thinking in Romans 6 with sin not mastering you anymore because you are a slave no longer to sinful things but a slave of the most High King, and therefore a slave to righteousness. So one of the biggest reasons drugs are sinful are because of “control” they have (addiction) and the effect they have (altering your mind and thinking). Christ wants you to be a worshipper of Him, living with a sober mind (1 Thess 5:6, 8; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8). The command to be sober has to do with having clear thinking, right thinking which is ready for action and for worship.

One question that I have come across is a Christian telling me that drugs actually help them worship better! Since one has the Holy Spirit, why would one need drugs to help you spiritually? If one thinks that way, that person is saying in so many words that they need something better than the Holy Spirit to enable them to think and worship better. To be sober in spirit, in your thinking and actions is to worship God rightly, through the work of the Spirit. To be controlled by the Spirit, filled, under the influence of the Spirit is in stark contrast to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The addictive nature of alcohol is one that makes you its slave rather than the slave of Christ.

As Christians, we need to realize that we are no longer our own but have been bought with a price, the very death of Christ. No one can serve two masters (Matt 6:24), you cannot be a slave of sin, serving money, sex, drugs, yourself and also be a slave of Christ’s, serving Him, using your body as an instrument of righteousness to bring Him glory while also using your body as an instrument of self gratification through drug use. So to re-summarize, drugs hinder your ability to think soberly, they control you, they impede your walk with God and they are show what you worship, yourself rather than God.

My hope is that as Christians, we would strive for “right” thinking. The effect of sin is a depraved mind (Romans 1:28). The impact of Christ is a mind that can now be transformed and renewed (Romans 12:1-2) but this is a process which is why we are to have sober thinking. Interestingly enough, from Romans 1-11, Paul outlines the wonderful news of the gospel that gives us the ability to have right thinking. As Christians we are now called to no longer live in the futility of our minds that is darkened in understanding (Ephesians 4:17-18) (which is a possibility for believers since Paul commands us not to). We are to live in a way that is constantly being renewed in our mind (Eph 4:23) which results in godly living of putting off sinful actions and putting on righteous actions (Eph 4:22-32).
Let me know what you think.


Betsy said...

Good morning, Jason. I found my way here from FB.

Dennis and I were just talking about this last night. I've smoked a lot of marijuana in my life, Dennis has never tried it.

I agree with you 100%. The sober minded aspect was my first thought. Being under the influence of marijuana turns you into a temporary glutten, can cause major lust issues, and slow your responses.

If I got an emergency call to go help a fellow Christian in need, would I be ready and able to jump in my car and go help them? No. If a prayer chain call came through, would I be ready to take it? No.

My first husband had cancer and tried it for pain and to help him to eat. It didn't work at all for him. At the time I certainly hoped it would. I wound up smoking it myself to escape for awhile. It only made me feel worse.

So, there's my Sunday morning two cents.

See you soon, Lord willing.

Anonymous said...

You say, "So to re-summarize, drugs hinder your ability to think soberly, they control you, they impede your walk with God and they are show what you worship, yourself rather than God."

Hmmmm... I don't mean to split hairs here, but... first, you should specify "recreational drugs." Second, since there is a possiblity that they can control (there are people that only smoke occasionally with), they, therefore, can impede your walk with God, etc. As can so many other things in this world. It would definitely fall on the issue of sobriety.

When the "temple of God" argument get thrown into the whole thing, it makes me cringe a little. Because, in that case, how come Christians aren't making a big deal out of obesity or even tanning (pre-cursor to cancer, as we all know)?? Seriously. I don't ever think I've heard a pastor preach on gluttony.

If it goes through, it probably will change things - for the worse. But I feel that it is a subject that each Christian must reflect on because it's not "black and white."