Alcohol has been called the great truth serum. If you want to get to the bottom of yourself—to truly know yourself better—grab a bottle.
People drink for lots of reasons. Many drink to experience freedom, an unrestrained, unchecked and uninhibited ‘me.’ What comes out when you’re drunk—in person, over the phone, on social media, or in text messages—is supposed to be the real you, what you really think and feel under all the put-together masks you wear. The promise on tap is that excessive alcohol will unlock you to yourself and all your friends. It’s liberation by libation.
But the Bible presents a different picture of freedom. “For freedom Christ has set us free. … Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:1, Galatians 5.13″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>13). Freedom, then, is not the selfish, reckless wielding of cravings and opinions. Freedom, rather, is the sober, calculated, sacrificial laying down of our lives for the good of others.
“Freedom is the sober, calculated, sacrificial laying down of our lives for the good of others.”
If that doesn’t sound like freedom to us—and it won’t to most of us—then we may have had a few too many glasses of what the world is serving.
Sobriety About Drunkenness
Is drunk you the real you? It’s true, alcohol does not bring anything out of a person that was not already there. The heart is always the tapped keg of any anger, lust or profanity that pours out (Matthew 12:34). Therefore, who you are when you’re drunk is you.
That person is you, but it’s a small, pitiful, broken and incomplete you—a you marred by sin, consumed with self, blind to truth and therefore numb to reality. He or she is not the you God created you to be, not the you that’s most in tune with real life, and not the fullest and happiest you. Drunkenness may expose and unleash things deep inside of you, but it doesn’t have any good news for the darkness that emerges. It will show you all of you, and then soothingly promise that laughing at what you see will make it all better.
The gospel also exposes that secret side of you, but then it frees you from you. Instead of drowning yourself in something that numbs the pain and blurs reality, why not drown yourself in the grace that will forgive and heal what’s broken and hidden inside of you?
Forfeiting and Filling
Again, the Bible says,
Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5.18–21″ data-version=”esv” data-purpose=”bible-reference”>Ephesians 5:18–21)