17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be zealous for the fear of the Lord all the day;
18 For surely there is a hereafter, And your hope will not be cut off.19 Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. 20 Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.

Proverbs 23:17-21

Proverbs 23:17-18 command us to zealously fear and reverence God. Believers should not live their lives envying the lost and undone. Instead, followers of Christ should behave in light of eternity and remember that we will stand before Christ’s judgement seat (2 Corinthians 5:10). Christians should use their time wisely and not waste their lives with drunkenness and gluttony. 

Verses 19-21 gives us specific warnings. God’s people are to avoid drunkenness and be sensible in our diets. Both drunkenness and gluttony lead to a poverty of spirit and monetary ruin. These sins cause people to lose their dignity and their ability to reason properly. We should flee these sins realizing the pain and destruction they cause.

Alcohol is powerful and deceptive. While the Bible does not give blanket restrictions on the consumption of alcohol, the Scriptures do give numerous warnings about getting drunk (1 Corinthians 5:11, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:18). Many terrible decisions are made when someone is under the influence of strong drink. Because of the deceptive nature of wine and spirits, Christians would do well to avoid alcoholic beverages as they often lead to heartache.

Believers are commanded to act with self-control. Paul teaches us that self-control is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:23). Let us be content with what God has provided and live by the Spirit. Such a course of action is far better than drunkenness.

Tony French

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