Under the influence – being impaired
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”They did so, 9 and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.(H) He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs(I) through which he revealed his glory;(J) and his disciples believed in him. John 2:7-11
“Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine”. That has often been a person’s justification for drinking alcohol, oftentimes in copious amounts. While the act of turning water to wine was in fact the first documented and highly popularized miracle that Jesus performed, He also gave ample caution to the consumption of alcohol in great volume.
In its various forms, alcohol is the most commonly used drug in the United States. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 9 million men suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Even more interesting 88,000 people die from alcohol-related incidents, of which men make up 62,000. Many would shrug off these statistics as explainable numbers, with no cause for concern.
However, from the Kingdom Man’s perspective this should raise eyebrows. Of the many attributes of Kingdom Men is that of a King or leader. Leaders are relied upon to make sound decisions which oftentimes will have eternal impacts on the ones they lead and shepherd. This leadership is one of the most important pillars that uphold the communities and households that Kingdom Men lead. This leadership can also easily become tainted by the callous, wavering of mind that alcoholism causes. When the breakdown of leadership and shepherding happens, we start to experience the breakdown of other areas of life, like the family unit, common courtesy and respect and civility.
Working in law enforcement for the past three years, this is exactly what I witnessed first-hand. I worked every weekend to stop impaired drivers, whose decisions served as a double-edged sword, creating victims from their carelessness and victims within their families. None of the impaired drivers I encountered wanted to hurt people, but their influence was simply mis-directed from Christ, to the temporary satisfaction that alcohol provided them with. In each case, their ability to lead and shepherd was greatly diminished. In the same regard our standing and adherence to our creed is greatly diminished.
Partaking in alcohol is not a bad thing. However, at the point that our ability to make sound decisions, to lead and shepherd our families and communities and honorably take our place as Kingdom Men is at stake is where the problem lies.
The Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as our paraclete. The exact opposite of the parasite, who takes and robs you of what’s internal, the paraclete deposits and contributes. In this regard, when we find ourselves under the influence of superfluities, such as alcohol, we too position ourselves as parasites, that rob our families and communities of the dignity found in those who operate under sound leadership. Kingdom Men should always be found to be paracletes, contributing to the edification and uprightness of our families and communities as we shepherd them in righteousness.
Today’s training: Aim daily to remain squarely under the influence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus’ example. In turn, those that we lead and shepherd will be able to remain under our influence, which is upright and just