Purifying Ourselves From Substance Abuse

“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

2 Corinthians 7:1

Alcohol and drugs are two of the most destructive substances available for human consumption and use. They are addictive and have cost many people their jobs, their relationships, and even their lives. In addition to the physical repercussions, however, there are three spiritual reasons the Bible says that believers need to purify themselves from alcohol and drugs.

1. Love for God

When you become a Christian, you enter into a personal relationship with the God of the universe. Your actions, therefore, should reflect that relationship. Drugs and alcohol are things that draw us away from God, not bring us closer to Him as His children. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says, ” ‘I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.’ ”

Additionally, God clearly states that we should refrain from idols and not enslave ourselves to things of this world. He says this because He loves us! If we truly love God and take the relationship we have with him seriously, we will take care of our bodies and not contaminate them with things that harm us, such as drugs and alcohol.

2. Respect for God

Can a person be drunk and truly remain holy and blameless before God? Can a person get high and still serve God with everything they have? The answer, of course, is no. We cannot be holy and pure if we are drunk or high. If we are going to respect and serve the Lord, we have to be in full control of our faculties. Drugs and alcohol lower our inhibitions, making us disrespectful and negligent. Ultimately, these substances enslave us and, remember, “no man can serve two masters.” (Matthew 6:24)

3. Fear of God

The believer answers to no one other than God at the end of his life. He is the creator of the universe and is the one who will hold us accountable, so He deserves our respect and honor. If we want to present ourselves as pure and blameless, we have to abstain from drugs and alcohol. When we give in to them, we open ourselves up to sin.

Consider, for instance, how many murders, have occurred because an individual was drunk or high, became angry, and lost control. We do not know what we are capable of or who we might become under the influence of these substances. More than likely, though, they will cause us to go against God (not towards Him). He will still hold us accountable, even if we do something under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and that should spark a healthy fear within us.

But, you may ask, didn’t God come to save us from our sin? How come, then, are we still held accountable for our actions? An article from Christ Community Church explains,

“By faith in Christ, we will not be accountable for the death penalty our sins deserve. On the other hand, Christians are called to follow Christ, become like him through depending on the Holy Spirit to live obediently. Our habits of sinning are to diminish; our habits of living rightly are to increase. And, because we are responsible for cooperating with the Holy Spirit toward that end, we will be held accountable to God for that willing, obedient cooperation.”

Staying pure means abstaining from anything that distances us from our Father, distracts us from His purpose, or causes us to go against Him. If you find it difficult to turn away from drugs or alcohol, ask yourself why you are being tempted by them. If there is a void you are trying to fill, He can fill it. If there is a pain in our hearts, He can heal it.

We don’t need to drown our sorrows in alcohol or numb our pain with drugs because the God we serve knows our sorrows and our pain (Isaiah 53:3) and is the only one who can truly understand and help us.

This post was adapted from the sermon “Let Us Purify Ourselves,” which can be found here.