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Drug abuse and the BibleDrug Abuse and the Bible: Intoxication, Addiction, Sobriety

Drug Abuse and the Bible:
Intoxication, Addiction, and Sobriety

Drug abuse: Bible teaching about mind-altering drugs, intoxication, and addiction. What about marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, LSD, hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, hypnotics, psychedelics, and heroin?

Drug abuse has become a major problem in our society. What does the Bible teach about mind-altering drugs, intoxication, and addiction? Is drug use moral or immoral? What about marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, LSD, hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, hypnotics, psychedelics, and heroin? What does the word of God say a Christian should believe?

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Introduction:

Surely no one can deny that drug abuse is a serious moral problem in society today.

2/3 of American kids try an illegal drug before they finish high school. If alcohol is included, the number is closer to 90% (alcohol is illegal for high-school kids).

1/3 of American kids try an illegal drug other than marijuana before they finish high school.

The leading cause of death at ages 15-24 is drunk driving. (This and all previous statistics from "Kids on Drugs," pp. 1,2.)

During the early 1990's, marijuana use among teens increased by nearly 50% or more at every age level - "The New Pot Culture," USA Weekend, 2/16-18/1996.

Many forces influence people, especially young people, to begin drug use.

Much modern music, movies, and TV programs glorify illegal drugs, such as marijuana. "Today, marijuana is openly promoted at concerts, on CDs, even on clothes - sending teens a message of social acceptance..." Many specific examples are shown and cited - USA Weekend, 2/16-18/1996.

Young people at school are continually surrounded by drug users. I once asked a Bible class of public school junior high and high school students, how many personally knew people who used drugs. 7 out of 8 said they did.

School drug programs propose to help solve the problem. But nearly all of them teach situation ethics: it's up to each person whether or not to use drugs, moderate use may be all right if you don't get addicted, etc. They do not teach kids to avoid drugs, not even illegal drugs!

The purpose of this study is to examine the problem of drug abuse in light of the Bible.

We are not considering drugs prescribed by a doctor for medical purposes (cf. 1 Tim. 5:23). (This is not to say that prescribed drugs can never become a problem, but discussing that problem is not the purpose of this study.) We are discussing mind-altering drugs used for social purposes (partying, peer pressure), or to escape reality, or just to enjoy the effect on the mind, etc. What about marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, LSD, hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, hypnotics, psychedelics, and heroin? Is such drug use moral or immoral? What does the word of God teach a Christian should believe?

Note: The following study was written primarily to warn people - especially young people - about the dangers of drug abuse. For those who already know the dangers of the problem and are looking for Bible information to help the overcome it, we suggest you read our free articles about How to Change Yourself (Self-improvement) and You Can Serve God Successfully. See other helpful articles in the links at the end of this article.

Please consider these facts:


Part 1: Kinds and Characteristics of Mind-Altering Drugs


Unless otherwise indicated, the information in this section is taken from a series of pamphlets from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Public Health Service, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Note that specific effects may vary from person to person, but we will discuss general common effects.

A. Stimulants

These stimulate the nervous system, including the brain. This mainly includes amphetamines ("speed," "uppers," "dexies," "bennies," etc.). Some people classify cocaine here, but others view it as a narcotic.

Short-term effects (immediate effects under the influence of the drug):

Blurred vision, sleeplessness, anxiety, moodiness, and a high (intoxication) with a false sense of self-confidence, power, and well-being.

Can produce hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not present), delusions (irrational thought), paranoia (thinking people are out to get you), or violent behavior. Overdoses can cause death.

Long-term hazards (after the immediate effects have worn off):

Can cause ulcers, malnutrition, brain damage, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, or kidney disease.

Can produce dependence with a strong urge to continue use, even feeling it is necessary to function. Some take the drugs just to avoid the depression that comes when the effect wears off. Can lead to "tolerance," needing increasingly greater amounts to get the same effect.

B. Sedatives/Hypnotics

Opposite to stimulants, these depress the nervous system, including the brain. Includes barbiturates ("barbs," "downers"). Heroin, other opiates, and marijuana are sometimes classified here.

Short-term effects:

Intoxication with slurred speech, staggering, and poor judgment and reflexes. Large doses can cause unconsciousness or death. User may become so confused he takes more drugs without realizing the consequences.

Long-term effects:

Addiction is common. Users think they must have the drug to function. Obtaining drugs becomes the main function of life. Tolerance requires greater amounts to get the same effect. Stopping causes extreme withdrawal effects (can be worse than heroin withdrawal): anxiety, convulsions, even death.

If pregnant mothers use sedatives, babies may have birth defects, behavioral problems, withdrawal symptoms.

C. Hallucinogens (Psychedelics)

These affect the brain causing one to lose touch with reality, seeing and hearing things not present (hallucinations). Includes LSD, mescaline, PCP, etc.

Short-term effects:

Effects are unpredictable. Rapid mood swings, loss of sense of reality, seeing and hearing unreal things; panic, confusion, anxiety. Bizarre, violent, and dangerous behavior can result (such as thinking one can fly, so he jumps off a tall building).

LSD can cause flashbacks in which the effects are repeated days or weeks after it was taken.

Long-term effects:

Possible brain damage, impaired memory, mental confusion. Dangerous acts while under the influence can lead to injury or death.

D. Narcotics

This includes derivatives of the opium plant: opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin. Some are used medically as pain relievers. Some authorities include cocaine in this category.

Short-term effects:

Intoxication or high, with a false sense of well-being. May alternate between drowsiness and alertness. Large doses can cause death.

Long-term effects:

Addiction is almost certain. Finding the drug becomes the main focus of life. Tolerance requires larger doses to get the same effect. Eventually the user needs the drug just to function and avoid withdrawal.

E. Marijuana

Similar in effect to several of the groups above, this is listed separately because it is the most commonly used drug, and some have denied it is dangerous. Also called "grass," "pot," "weed," "Mary Jane," etc., its most active ingredient is THC. Modern marijuana is ten times stronger than that of the early 70's.

Short-term effects:

A high (intoxication) with a false sense of well-being. Impairs memory, concentration, coordination, and judgment. Loss of interest or ability to do school work or job. It is as dangerous as alcohol in causing accidents, and the two taken together are especially dangerous.

Long-term effects:

Psychological dependence, difficult to limit use, tolerance (need more to get the same effect). Drug use may become the most important thing in life, may lead to problems on the job or in school or in relationships.

Other sources claim there is permanent damage to the brain, with permanent loss of willpower, memory, etc. Regular use by an expectant mother can kill the baby. Smoking damages the lungs like cigarettes do.


Part 2: Reasons Why God's People Should Not Abuse Drugs



I. Drug Abuse Is Illegal


All of these drugs are illegal without a doctor's prescription. Most cannot be obtained even with a prescription.

Use for social purposes, personal pleasure, to get a high, to escape reality, etc., is illegal.

Specifically, marijuana is illegal to sell, give away, or even possess. Possession of less than an ounce might lead to a year in prison, and possession of over an ounce can lead to several years in prison (per Ft. Wayne, Indiana, police department).

To disobey civil law is to sin against God.

Romans 13:1-5 - God ordained governing authorities. To resist them is to resist God's ordinance. Those who disobey may be punished by the authorities, but they also have harmed their conscience toward God.

1 Peter 2:13,14 - Submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. [Tit. 3:1]

This ought to settle the matter for every true believer. Drug abuse, including marijuana use, is illegal and therefore sinful.

Some people favor legalization of marijuana. But even if it is legalized, there are reasons Christians should not use it.


II. Drug Abuse Constitutes Intoxication


"Intoxication" is defined: "to affect temporarily with diminished control over the physical and mental powers, by means of alcoholic liquor, a drug, or other substance..." (Random House College Dictionary). Note that, if mental or physical powers are diminished, whether by alcohol or a drug, that is intoxication.

All drugs we have described alter the user's state of mind so as to cause intoxication.

Our discussion of drug effects showed that all of them produce an artificial "high," a sense of "euphoria," a false sense of well-being, or similar change in brain function.

Consider some other quotes confirming this.

"One marijuana cigarette causes a 41% decrease in driving skills. Two cigarettes cause a 63% decrease" - "The Facts about Marijuana," Dr. Harold Voth (via Focus on the Family Newsletter, 9/81).

"Driving while stoned is as dangerous as driving while drunk, maybe more so. This fact has been proven many times over..." - Marijuana: Time for a Closer Look, Curtis Janeczek, pp. 88,89.

The First Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (1972) said regarding marijuana: "At low, usual 'social' doses, the intoxicated individual may experience an increased sense of well-being..." (via "Marijuana - It's Far from a Harmless High!," Plain Truth, 1/80, p. 28).

Note that marijuana causes intoxication even at "low, usual 'social' doses."

"The intake of 5 to 10 milligrams of delta-9-THC into the bloodstream is held to be sufficient to induce cannabis intoxication ... one can readily see that a single marijuana cigarette of the drug type is sufficient to induce a marijuana 'high'" - Marihuana Today, Russell, p. 6.

So even a single marijuana cigarette produces intoxication. And this is the mildest drug we are studying. All the others produce even greater degrees of intoxication.

The Bible clearly rebukes intoxication.

Like our English word, the Greek word for "drunk" refers to "intoxication, drunkenness ... to get drunk, become intoxicated..." (Thayer).

Romans 13:12-14 - Cast off the works of darkness, walk properly, not in drunkenness. Make no provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

Galatians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - People who are guilty of drunkenness, will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 5:11 - If a church member commits drunkenness and refuses to repent, he should be disciplined so we don't keep company with him.

Hence, whether caused by alcohol or by other drugs, intoxication violates God's word. But use of any drug we are studying, including just one marijuana cigarette, causes intoxication.

[Matt. 24:45-51; Luke 12:45; Eph. 5:18; 1 Thess. 5:6-8]


III. Drug Abuse Is a Lack Of Sobriety and Self-Control


One of the main reasons why God condemns intoxication is that, as Christians we face many serious temptations. In order to distinguish right from wrong and then have the will power to resist evil, our minds must think clearly and control our bodies. The Bible calls this sobriety and self-control.

Mind-altering drugs weaken the mind's ability to think clearly, distinguish right from wrong, and exercise will power.

This is true of all the drugs we have studied. Consider:

"...in a typical LSD trance ... a person's inhibitions tend to disappear. This breaks down a person's will to resist" - "Drug Addiction"/"Narcotics," D.C. Parks, p. 18.

In testimony to a U.S. Senate subcommittee, Dr. Hardin Jones said regarding marijuana users: "They are easily induced into risky, impetuous and foolish behavior, such as acceptance of heroin, LSD, and other dangerous drugs, and homosexual experience, which are later regretted" - Russell, p. 28.

Dr. Walter X. Lehmann, M.D., said: "Anyone who says 'pot' is harmless will get an argument from me. It hasn't been harmless for any of the nearly 3000 young people I've worked with as a specialist in adolescent medicine. Virtually all who became addicted to hard drugs started with marijuana, which distorted their judgment and put them into the drug scene" - "Marijuana Alert ... Enemy of Youth," Reader's Digest, 12/79 (reprint, p. 6).

"...hundreds of psychiatrists ... report these personality problems common to many chronic [marijuana] users: poor memory, loss of willpower and motivation..." - Janeczek, pp. 88,89.

Dr. Franz Winkler: "An early effect of marijuana and hashish use is a progressive loss of will power, already noticeable to the trained observer after about six weeks of moderate use. This loss of will power weakens the ability to resist coercion, so that marijuana users too often fall victim to hard drug pushers, extortionists, and deviates" - Russell, p. 33.

Note that this refers to loss of will power, not just when one is "high" or intoxicated, but between highs. This effect becomes progressively worse with continued use.

The Bible forbids participating, for the sake of personal pleasure, in practices that hinder our moral judgment or weaken our self-control.

1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 - Being sober is the opposite of being drunk and is associated with being alert and watchful.

1 Peter 1:13-17 - Be sober, gird up the loins of your mind so you can avoid lusts and be obedient and holy. This requires being alert.

1 Peter 5:8,9 - Be sober so we can be on guard for the devil, resist him, and not be devoured by him. Realizing how dangerous Satan is, we should keep our minds clear so we can recognize his deceit and resist his temptations.

1 Corinthians 9:25-27 - Bring our bodies into subjection to our minds, exercising temperance (self-control) like athletes in training, so our bodies will be properly guided by our minds.

Proverbs 4:23 - Keep your heart (mind) with all diligence because it must decide the issues of life.

Struggling against evil is difficult and dangerous at best, even with the clearest of faculties. That is why God has forbidden intoxication. There are other ways to violate these principles, but drug abuse is surely one way.

[2 Tim. 1:7; 1 Pet. 4:1-7; Tit. 2:2,4,6,12; Acts 24:25; Gal. 5:23; 2 Pet. 1:6]


IV. Drug Abuse Tempts People to Fall Farther and Deeper into Sin.


A. The Bible Warns Us to Avoid Temptations and Evil Influences

We should not participate, to please ourselves or other people, in activities that tempt us to sin or that endanger our service to God.

Proverbs 22:3 - A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished. Instead of walking into spiritually dangerous situations, we should hide from them.

1 Corinthians 15:33 - Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."

Matthew 6:13 - We should pray for God to deliver us from evil and temptation. How can we sincerely pray this and then knowingly do things that tempt or encourage us to do evil?

Matthew 18:8,9 - We should cut off our hand or foot or eye or anything that tempts us to sin. While this is not literal, it teaches that entering eternal life and avoiding hell are so important that we should do whatever it takes to avoid sin.

Proverbs 23:17,20,21 - Specifically this principle of avoiding temptation should be applied to people who practice intoxication (drunkenness). If we want to avoid their destiny, we should not envy them or mix with them.

[Prov. 13:20; 4:14,15; 24:1,2; 1 Cor. 5:6,7; 2 Cor. 6:14-17; Heb. 12:15. Matt. 26:41; 1 Pet. 4:3,4; James 4:4; Psalm 26:5; 119:63]

B. Applications of This Principle to Drug Abuse

Use of drugs is wrong from the very beginning because all involvement tempts to greater drug use.

The person who uses drugs generally starts because of peer pressure - he gives in to temptation from others. The more involved he becomes, the greater the temptations become and the weaker his will to resist.

"...research shows peer pressure (wanting to be part of the crowd) is the most likely reason people start using grass" - Janeczek, p. 14.

"Virtually all who became addicted to hard drugs started with marijuana, which distorted their judgment and put them into the drug scene" - Lehmann (quoted previously).

"90% of those using hard drugs such as heroin started with marijuana" - Voth.

"An early effect of marijuana and hashish use is a progressive loss of will power, ... so that marijuana users too often fall victim to hard drug pushers, extortionists, and deviates" - Dr. Franz Winkler (quoted previously).

"Although marijuana serves as the major 'gateway drug' into the use of illegal drugs, the major gateway drugs into marijuana use are two legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol ... A child's decision to begin smoking cigarettes is one of the most important indicators that s/he will try marijuana ... In 1976, Dr. Robert L. DuPont, then Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, pointed out that various surveys clearly demonstrated that 'marijuana is the gateway into illicit drug use in America today. If people do not use marijuana, they simply do not use other illicit substances.' [He reported:] Marijuana use is a precursor for those who go on to other drugs. Among users of stimulants and sedatives ... 97 percent report previously using marijuana; 100 percent of hallucinogen users report using marijuana; and 100 percent of cocaine users reported using marijuana..." - Parents, Peers, and Pot, Monatt, pp. 50-53.

So alcohol and cigarettes are the first step toward marijuana use. To use them is to take drugs for pleasure, so why not move on to greater "pleasure"? Users are told marijuana is harmless, friends encourage them, so they try it. They enjoy the "high" and want it more often. Then they start having problems at school, on the job, and at home, so they use it more and more to escape reality.

Then they want a bigger high. They are already using an illegal drug that weakens their judgment and inhibition, so they have removed the barriers against stronger drugs. Soon they become another drug addict statistic.

And why did it happen? Because they were not obeying God's instructions to avoid tempting situations and tempting people.

Drug use is wrong because it tempts those who are involved to participate in other sins as well.

Drug users run with other drug users. They begin because of the influence of others. They attend parties where drugs are abused. They must obtain their drugs from drug pushers or friends who use drugs.

So they become companions of people who enjoy illegal activities and who rebel against parents and authority. But this kind of people will practice other sins too. So drug users are soon tempted to all kinds of sins, including:

* Lying to cover up drug use from parents, teachers, police, and other authorities. See Rev. 21:8; 1 Tim. 1:10,11; etc.

* Disobedience to parents - Most people start drug abuse while still subject to their parents' authority, knowing that their parents object. See Eph. 6:1-3; Rom. 1:30; etc. [2 Tim. 3:2]

* Failure to do ones job or schoolwork - Drug users lose interest or ability to do work or schoolwork. They become negligent, are often absent, make careless mistakes, etc. See Ecc. 9:10; Eph. 6:5-8; etc. [Tit. 2:9,10; 2 Thess. 3:10; 1 Thess. 4:11,12; Col. 3:22-24; 1 Pet. 2:18].

* Stealing - Many drug users steal to pay for their habit, especially when they cannot get a good job because they have neglected their schoolwork or their job, etc. See 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 13:8-10; etc. [Matt. 15:19,20]

* Neglect of Bible study, prayer, worship, church work, etc. People involved in drug abuse lose interest in spiritual things because they feel guilty and because they are more interested in getting high. See 1 Cor. 15:58; Matt. 6:33; etc. [Rom. 12:1,2; Heb. 10:25; Acts 17:11; Psa. 1; 1 Thess. 5:17; Matt. 16:24]

Our point is that drug abuse is wrong even before people actually begin to practice these sins, because from the beginning it tempts people toward these things. Drug abuse is a failure to avoid temptation.

C. Some Examples Showing How Drug Use Leads to Greater Involvement in Sin

Dr. Walter Lehmann describes a typical example of the young people he treats who are on marijuana:

Dynamic, self-possessed, he confided to me that he himself had been smoking pot, cautiously but regularly two to five times a week, enjoyed getting moderately high and had suffered no untoward effects. He felt fine, his grades remained well above average, he was captain of the soccer team and had been accepted at an Ivy League college.
 
How often we hear of such overachieving easy riders among our middle-class friends nowadays. I tried to warn him about the gradual, long-term changes I had seen in other outstanding young people, but nothing would dissuade him from continuing his "moderate" marijuana use. I saw him again late that summer, just before he left for college. He was slovenly, unkempt, apathetic, slow. He admitted that he had been smoking pot heavily during summer vacation. I pleaded with him to get off it, but he ignored my advice.
He was home by December, having been asked to leave college. By then, he was a typical heavy user. He didn't care about anything except getting high every day. His parents brought him back to me. Eventually he began to perceive what marijuana had done to him and decided he had to kick the habit.
 
It wasn't easy - it rarely is. I used to think that marijuana created only a psychological dependence, without physical addiction. But now I am persuaded otherwise. I have seen too many youngsters suffer the terrible anxiety, the sleeplessness, sweating, the lack of appetite, the nausea and the general malaise of withdrawal. Fortunately, my patient had enough fortitude left in him to do it.
 
He's back in college now, doing okay. His academic performance is acceptable, if mediocre - it's the best he can do, but it isn't close to the promise he once showed. He has not regained that sharp edge, that quality of drive, spirit and capability that once made him a standout. I am not optimistic that he will ever regain it. From what I have seen, there is no question that marijuana wreaks a havoc in the body, brain and psyche that can't be entirely undone - Lehmann, pp. 6,7.

Letter from Jenny.

I started getting high to be "in," to go along with my friends. I immediately went down in school. Pot disrupts the memory banks in your brain ... And pot DOES lead to the use of other drugs. People who get stoned get to where they don't care about anything but getting high. And after a while pot just doesn't get you high enough. I got kicked out of cheerleading and eventually kicked out of school completely 'cause I was always skipping out to get high. Finally I got kicked out of my parents' house (after getting put in jail several times) because I became moody, restless, incommunicative and because I was out all hours of the day and night partying with my friends. I've been living on the streets supporting myself for a year. I've done every drug you can think of. I with through h--- getting off speed. Messed up my nose terribly on coke (and my arms) and three times I almost OD'ed on Acid. I'd been doing drugs for 3 years and I finally quit cold turkey a few months ago. I got some friends to talk to and I got a steady job. For the first time in 3 years I can think clearly and I'm really free. Drugs are a trap. Once you're gone you can never come back. I've seen plenty of people die of overdoses. And I've seen several people murdered over dope deals. All of them, including me, started out just smoking an occasional joint on weekends "to go along with our friends." I know I ruined my life. I once had a pretty bright future with a lot of opportunities. Now I work all day to stay alive. I'm 16 ... - Young Once, March, 1980 (reprinted in Powerline, Vol. V, #9).

This is where marijuana use can lead. And the end result follows because people fail to heed God's warning to avoid temptation and evil influence.

Proverbs 6:27,28 - Can a man take fire to his bosom and not be burned? The sensible person, who wants to please God, will avoid playing with fire.


V. Drug Abuse Harms the Body


A. All Mind-Altering Drugs, Including Marijuana, Harm the Body.

This is true for all drugs we have discussed, when used for "recreational and social purposes." We earlier cited specific diseases, infections, and even permanent damage to the brain, heart, lungs, etc. Drugs often lead to accidents or other dangerous or even violent behavior. Many people die or are seriously injured due to overdoses. And many suffer torment from withdrawal.

Consider some further evidence, especially about marijuana:

"Marijuana smoke clearly can damage the lungs. The most recent information indicates it is more harmful than tobacco smoke ... Daily [use] ... increases a woman's risk of losing her child before birth" - Janeczek, pp. 88,89.

"...CELLS DON'T LIKE POT! Period! This is probably the best known scientific fact known about the stuff ... Marijuana is poison to cells! ... That goes for lung cells, blood cells, sperm cells, brain cells..." - Janeczek, p. 23.

"Five marijuana cigarettes a week have the same cancer causing capacity as 112 conventional cigarettes" - Voth.

Dr. Hardin B. Jones, professor of Medical Physics and Physiology at Univ. of California in Berkeley, testified to U.S. Senate subcommittee: "As an expert in human radiation effects, ... chromosome damage ... even in those who use ... (marijuana) moderately, is roughly the same type and degree of damage as in persons surviving atom bombing with a heavy level of radiation exposure ... The implications are the same" - "In Loving Memory of Larry."

Yet the people who protest nuclear energy, even for peaceful uses, are often the same people who use marijuana and want it to be legalized!

Testimony to the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate in May, 1974: "...Marijuana, even when used in moderate amounts, causes massive damage to the entire cellular process ... there is a growing body of evidence that marijuana inflicts irreversible damage on the brain, ... when used in a chronic manner for several years ... Chronic cannabis smoking can produce ... bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory difficulties in a year or less, as opposed to ten or twenty years of cigarette smoking to produce comparable complications ... Cannabis smoke, or cannabis smoke mixed with cigarette smoke, is far more damaging to lung tissues than tobacco smoke alone. The damage done is described as 'precancerous'..." - Russell, p. 8.
 
The Federal government began allowing experimentation on marijuana in 1969. "These six years of research have provided strong indications that the drug in its various forms is far more hazardous than was originally suspected. In fact, eminent scientists from around the world agree that, based on recent findings, marijuana must be considered a very dangerous drug. Several of these scientists have gone so far as to state that they consider cannabis the most dangerous drug on the market today" - Russell, p. 7.

Finally, if a person moves on to the stronger drugs and becomes dependent, notice this description of withdrawal, by Henry L. Giordano, Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics:

When he cannot get the drug, he becomes very uneasy after a little time, later he becomes restless and irritable. His eyes water as though he had hay fever. He yawns and mucus runs from his nose. Still later his muscles start to twitch violently and his back, arms and legs ache severely. He has violent pains in the stomach, vomits, has diarrhea, kicks his legs and jerks his arms. He curls up in bed or on the floor and puts on as many blankets as he can find, even in the hottest weather. His feet twitch continually. If he sleeps at all, he is extremely restless. Finally sleep becomes impossible. Because he cannot retain food or liquid in his stomach, he loses weight rapidly, as much as ten pounds within twenty-four hours. About the third day without the drug, he is in the very depths of torment. He is unkempt, disheveled, dirty, neglecting all thought of personal hygiene and decency. He is utterly wretched - via "Drug Addiction," D.C. Parks, p. 3.

B. The Bible Teaches that Christians Should Care for their Bodies and Use Them to Serve God.

It is wrong - simply to please self or others - to do things that can reasonably be expected to harm our health and lives.

Romans 12:1,2; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 - Your body and life belong to God and are entrusted to you to use to accomplish His will. This is a stewardship. We are responsible to care for property that belongs to someone else but has been entrusted to us for a purpose. We must use that property for the purpose of the owner, not destroy it for selfish purposes. We will give account to the owner for how we used his property - Luke 12:42ff; 1 Peter 4:10; 1 Cor. 4:2.

3 John 2 - We pray for good health. Is it fair to ask God to protect our health and cure us of diseases, then turn around and selfishly practice things we know harm our health? [James 5:13; 2 Kings 20:1-7; 2 Cor. 12:7-10; 2 Sam. 12:13-23]

Matthew 25:35,36,43 - Christians should have compassion on the sick and care for them. People who knowingly harm their health for self-pleasure, are working contrary to Christian goals. Should we knowingly harm our health and then expect other Christians to have compassion on us when our habits destroy our health?

When simply for the sake of pleasing himself or his friends, a Christian participates in activities that are known to harm his health, that person has abused his stewardship and misused his God-given health. Yet this is exactly what happens when people abuse drugs.


VI. Drug Abuse Sets a Bad Example and Constitutes Fellowship with Sin.


A. Many Passages Teach Christians to Set a Good Example and Avoid Fellowship with Sinful Conduct.

1 Timothy 4:12 - Even in our youth, our manner of life, purity, etc., should be a good example to others.

Matthew 18:6,7 - Woe to people whose example leads other people to sin.

Matthew 5:13-16 - Our lives should be such that they lead others to give glory to God.

Ephesians 5:11 - Don't fellowship the works of darkness, but reprove them.

[1 Pet. 2:15,16; 3:16; 1 Tim. 5:22; Tit. 2:7,8; Rom. 1:32; Prov. 28:10]

B. Drug Abusers Violate These Passages by Setting a Bad Example and Having Fellowship with Sin.

Consider the drug user's influence and fellowship with the following people:

Fellowship with drug dealers

All people realize that dealing drugs is evil. It is definitely illegal. It promotes and encourages sin, causing harm and grief to many people. When you buy drugs, you share in the dealers' sin and you support him financially when you should be rebuking them. You are having direct fellowship in his sin. Note 2 John 9-11.

Influence on drug users or potential drug users

People almost never begin using drugs alone. They begin because they want to go along with the crowd, please others, be a part of the group, etc. Several earlier quotations establish this.

If your example encourages others to begin or to continue using drugs, you are violating the passages about influence. You are having fellowship with sin, not reproving it. You encourage people to enter sin and stay in sin, when you should be urging them to leave it.

Specifically, reformed drug addicts must completely abstain from drugs. Their first use of drugs will addict them again. If your example encourages them to return to drugs, you share in the guilt.

Influence on people who need to become Christians

Christians should help sinners learn the gospel, leave their sins, and serve Christ. We should never do anything to hinder their salvation.

But a drug abuser generally doesn't care about the salvation of the lost. If he did try to teach others, his own example would turn people off so they would not listen. And if he claims to be a Christian, his example would hinder the efforts of other Christians to save lost sinners.

Instead of fulfilling God's command to be a good example and save souls, the drug abuser is a barrier to the salvation of the lost.

Conclusion

Unfortunately, for far too many people, drug abuse totally ruins their lives here and for eternity.

Many examples could be given. Consider these examples:

A 23-year-old young woman was found dead in a car in Reidesville, NC.

Her death was ruled a suicide. With her in the car was a written note saying:

"Jail didn't cure me. Nor did hospitalization help me for long. The doctor told my family it would have been better, and indeed kinder, if the person who got me hooked on dope had taken a gun and blown my brains out. And I wish to God he had. My God, how I wish it!" [I will assume this is a prayer, not a profanity.]

Also found with her was the following perverted form of Psalm 23:

"King Heroin is my shepherd. I shall always want. He maketh me to lie down in the gutters.
"He leadeth me beside the troubled waters. He destroyeth my soul.
"He leadeth me in the paths of wickedness.
"Yea, I shall walk through the valley of poverty and will fear no evil, for thou, Heroin, are with me.
"Thy Needle and Capsule comfort me. Thou strippest the table of groceries in the presence of my family. Thou robbest my head of reason.
"My cup of sorrow runneth over. Surely heroin addiction shall stalk me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the House of the Damned forever." - "Dear Abby," Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel, 5/80.

Suicide tape of a young man on drugs:

Here is the suicide message tape recorded by a young man before he took his life.

Well ... can't think, can't think [repeated]. Well, about all I have to say is, the reason I'm doing this - well actually the real reason is that I really don't know. There's so many things that I don't know - I'm not sure of. A lot of things I can't face.
 
I'll tell you one thing: you can really get messed up on that stuff. You might hear it sooner or later, Mom, but your little boy has turned into an LSD addict. I'm sorry, Mom. It's bad news. It really is. I didn't think it was when I was first taking it. But I've been getting pretty stoned lately, and you just don't know what's real and what isn't real. You really don't.
 
All I can say is, I had to find out myself. This stuff, I don't know. You just don't know if you did the right thing or the wrong thing. It's hard to distinguish between right and wrong, hard to distinguish between real and unreal. I really don't know. I really don't know what to say, actually. I had enough problems of my own without taking LSD to keep my mind bent. But some things around me in everyday living that I just don't know if it's real or ... [censored] ...
 
It says in the Bible that he who kills himself will not be resurrected. Well, this is a great punishment that I am bestowing upon myself, not only physically, but from what I've read I'm going to be suffering eternally for this. But life sometimes seems so long to wait. I really don't have - all I'm actually doing is existing. I've thought it over many times and there really is nothing to live for. I don't think there is.
 
I get my words twisted up. I can hardly talk sometimes. Well, I can actually sit here and jabber on and jabber on about my troubles, but I'm not going to because I just don't feel like it. Everybody has troubles, you know. So I won't talk anymore about my problems.
 
All I've got to say is I'm not going to give no sentimental speech here, if you know what I mean. So I think I'll just close with a blank statement, maybe kind of an idiotic statement. But a lot of things are crazy. So I'll close with the statement that this is Dexter Gardner speaking and signing off. [The next sound on the tape is the gunshot that took Dexter's life.] - From "Life School Assembly Lecture" by Jerry Johnston, Capture America, PO Box 12193, Shawnee Mission KS 66212

From beginning to tragic ending, drug abuse is a tragedy and a shame. People with good judgment and devotion to God will avoid it.

People need to realize that Jesus, not drugs, is the answer to their need.

1 Corinthians 10:13 - God provides the means to handle any temptation or problem in life. You do not need to escape reality by means of drugs. You can avoid drugs and find your needs met in Jesus.

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

2 Peter 1:3 - Jesus provides all things that pertain to life and godliness.

A life of drugs is a life of despair, hopelessness, guilt, sorrow, and eventual death physically and eternally. Jesus is the real answer. His way is a way of life, hope, salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life.

[Psa. 138:3; Rom. 8:31-39; James 1:17; Eph. 3:20,21; 5:18]

If you have used drugs or even are addicted, you can be forgiven and change your habits.

You can be free from the chains and guilt of drug abuse. You must trust Jesus and let Him change your life.

John 8:32 - You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - The church in Corinth contained drunkards who had been washed, cleansed, and justified from their sins by Jesus.

Hebrews 5:9; 7:25 - Jesus is the author of eternal salvation, able to save to the uttermost those who turn to Him in obedience.

Matthew 11:28-30 - Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.

(C) Copyright 1986, 1992, 2002, David E. Pratte
Local churches and individuals may, within limits, distribute this Bible study guide for free, but not for sale.  Web sites may link to this page but not reproduce it. For details click here for our copyright guidelines.

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Topics for further Bible study

(Click for more information. Use your "back" key to return here.)

Bible Principles of Moral Conduct
Drinking Alcoholic Beverages
How to Change Yourself (Self-improvement)
You Can Serve God Successfully
The Importance of Bible Instruction
God Helps Your Troubles & Problems
How Can You Be Sure of Forgiveness?
Why Do We Need Forgiveness of Sins?
Anger, Controlling Your Temper
Importance of Repentance
Lying and deceitfulness
Evidences for God, Jesus, & the Bible

Photo crtedit: Christine Dela Cerna distributed under Creative Commons license, via Wikimedia Commons

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