I remember the first time I walked into a party my freshman year of college. Held at the home of a teammate, it was a semi-private ordeal. But semi-private didn’t mean subdued. It was an interesting scene, to say the least. I wasn’t offended, as some might have guessed based upon my background, just perplexed. For some who participate in such activities, I suppose it is under their control. For others, it’s just a great way to ruin your life.

Proverbs 23:29-35 speaks at great length about the dangers of a life controlled by alcohol and partying.

Here’s a summary of what it says.

Those who “linger long over wine (read: alcohol)” are in danger of suffering many things. Woe (more pain in life than is usually expected), complaining (isn’t it interesting how those whose lives are controlled by something besides the Lord complain more than their fair share?), bruises for no reason (the alcohol causes them to do things they would otherwise avoid), and redness of eyes (blurring their vision literally and figuratively).

Sounds like a life ruined, if you ask me. I’ve never met anyone who wants more pain in life, wants to be known as a complainer, wants to do a bunch of things they’ll later regret, and wants to have trouble seeing what’s really important in life.

Those who find themselves controlled by alcohol, whether through addiction to the substance itself or to the atmosphere and attention that comes with its consumption, are those who linger long over it. Thus, they are the folks described in these verses.

Furthermore, the proverb says, all seems good at the start, as most tempting things do. Then, like a nasty curveball, it becomes overwhelming, biting “like a serpent” and stinging “like a viper.” And, for many, it becomes something they can no longer control and instead controls them (read Proverbs 23:33-35).

Three thoughts regarding these verses:

First, if you’re not of “drinking age,” not only is it potentially disastrous for you, but it’s illegal.

Second, even if you are of drinking age, it’s potentially disastrous for you. Depending upon what’s happened recently in your life, your family history, and perhaps the addictive nature of your personality, that first drink could be the pathway to more than you bargained for.

Third, God has more for you than any substance could ever deliver. Most folks will never realize that because they never take that long walk in the same direction with God.

Check out those verses. Let God speak to your heart about their content.

Lord Jesus, your word teaches us to be filled with your Holy Spirit as the alternative to being hooked on any particular substance. Please fill me with you today. Help me with the temptations I face when it comes to alcohol. I want your best, not a ruined life. Amen.