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Do you know me?

Updated: Mar 15, 2023

I literally had just entered a room full of two dozen men or so. Some were over me in authority, some were under me, some were equal. A few moments before, as I walked down the hallway I could hear that the room was involved in a very passionate discussion about alcohol, drinking, and the Bible.

When I entered the room, all talking stopped. All eyes looked at me. "Well," I thought to myself ,"looks like this is really about to happen."

"Tanner?" one man says, "Do you drink?"

"No," I replied, "I haven't drank since I turned 21."

Before anything else was spoken, someone else blurts out angrily, "The Bible doesn't say you can't drink alcohol!"

Now it was on! "I don't drink alcohol... but it's not because the Bible says I cant..." I replied.

It's been several years since that happened. The young man who spoke up posts on facebook often... not much of it good. I pray he truly finds Christ and hope.

I couldn't tell that group the whole story, for the sake of time. It seems now, I have more time, and I will tell it all.

What follows is the story of the foundation that my conviction grew upon. Conviction starts out small and little by little the Lord makes it bigger, stronger, clearer. Brick by brick He builds into us over a lifetime. Unfortunately, when I was young I had no conviction... eventually that changed. While I am far from perfect, this is one area where Christ has made me... one with Him, whole.

I started out like many teens in the late ''80s early 90's did, drinking at parties once or twice with high school buddies, later with the occasional college friend. I didn't know who I was back then. I followed the crowd for acceptance. I drank because the crowd did. It didn't matter that I really didn't care for the taste of beer or for vomiting in the toilet either. What mattered then was... it was all I knew. I had a life to fill, and the world had plenty to fill it with.

At age 19 I met the woman I would eventually marry. She had fire. She had conviction. "Drinking alcohol was wrong," she said. Cut. Dried. Black. White.

I had never heard that before.

This girl also said she knew Jesus. I had never heard that before either. You can laugh about it... I am. My whole motive for investigating Christ was wrapped up in a five foot one, lightly freckled and red haired princess whose beauty, inside and out, captured my complete attention, but that's another story. That's how it started though.

The first brick in the wall of conviction not to drink alcohol? The girl I loved didn't drink.

Not long after meeting Heather, I too, knew Jesus, and a new life had started. The first stop? Honesty. I took a long hard look at the first 19 years of my life, the joys, the pain, the good times, the bad, what little good I had done, the mountain of bad I had also done. I had to face things I had tried to ignore or bury.

Searching led me to look at my childhood. I had to forgive some and ask others for forgiveness. As far as alcohol was concerned... alcohol was involved in all of the most painful memories of growing up. So when Jesus saved me, forgave me, made me new... it wasn't hard to let go of alcohol, because it had hurt me and those I love. So by age 20 or 21, with His help, I stopped drinking completely.

The second brick in my wall of conviction? Alcohol hurt me and my family growing up. I didn't want to continue the cycle of hurt.

Growing up as a young christian, I knew nothing. Even if I thought I knew something, THAT might have been something, but I knew that I didn't know. I was as wet behind the ears as a follower of Jesus could be. I did have one solid thing going for me besides Jesus though, the church I was a part of didn't tolerate alcohol use in leadership either.

The third brick? My christian friends as a rule, didn't drink.

My girlfriend, Heather, became my wife. Our pastor led us into children's ministries. Man, were we surrounded by a great crowd of strong leaders. They weren't afraid to send us away for training at the hands of men and women with much larger influence than their own. I am so thankful for them all. Somewhere along the way more conviction grew.

Brick number four? I never wanted a child or teen to see me drinking alcohol and cause them to stumble in their walk with Christ.

As I became a man, more thoughts were added from Scripture. The pain and damage caused by drunkenness is clearly laid out in the Bible. The command for us to filled with the Holy Spirit, not intoxication is also clear, but there was more.

The fifth brick? I wanted to be led by the Holy Spirit into a deeper connection to Jesus and I just didn't see any evidence in Scripture that the Lord valued this so much that he wanted me to drink.

Even that wasn't the biggest reason though. The finishing stroke that the Lord laid upon my heart that set me apart forever for Him concerning this subject was what He spoke to me in Proverbs chapter 31. I am royalty. Alcohol's purpose doesn't fit me anymore. I know my calling.

This is what it says...

"1 The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him:

2 What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows?

3 Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.

4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5 Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.

6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart.

7 Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more.

8 Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.

9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy."

1 Peter tells us that we are part of God's chosen nation, a royal priesthood... yes? If King Jesus died to save me, to make me one with Him, I too am royalty.

I am called by the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

I should no longer give my strength to anything that would jeopardize my connection to Him. It is not for me to drink wine, nor anything that would impair my connection to Christ.

When He sends the lost, the hurting, the broken, near to me, it is for one purpose... that through me they would receive Him. Anything that would affect me like alcohol did, would stand in opposition to His very will for me and those who may come to believe in Him through me.

Alcohol, sadly has a place and a use in the world that just didn't fit me anymore.

It is for those who are perishing... but I have eternal life!

It is for those who are bitter of heart, yet bitterness no longer has a place in my heart.

It is for the impoverished, yet I am rich!

It is to help the miserable forget their misery, but that's just not my nature anymore, thanks to Christ. I am not miserable! I have hope, faith, love, and joy.

So as I enjoy my NOT drinking alcohol... I also know my calling...

My mouth is reserved to speak for those with no voice. Those who have been beaten down by this world.

My feet were created to walk with those who are stumbling to without the Lord.

If my mouth is permitted to be open, out of it should come the righteous decisions and counsel and love of Jesus. His Spirit and His life!

In prayer, I will soberly, steadfastly, faithfully, lift up those around me who don't have the riches in Christ that I do or who haven't come to know Him as the One Who Provides for every need as I have come to know Him.

The final brick in my wall of conviction? Why I don't drink alcohol?

We are called to a life that overflows with the priceless treasures of faith, hope, and love... why fill our hearts with anything worth less?

Love, Pastor David

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