Be Sober

by Steven Chan
10 April 2011

This past week, it was reported in the London newspapers that the body of an 18 year old student at Imperial College, London, was found in the lake in Hyde Park, after he had been missing since March 22, 2011. According to accounts of those who saw him last, he had been drinking with his friends until the late hours of the night when he decided to go back to his room on his own. It is believed that he may not have been very sober when he left the bar. He never reached his room and friends & family members had been looking for him until his body was found on 7th April, 2011. It is probable that he may have fallen into the lake while trying to make his way back to his room. This is truly a sad tragedy.

The Bible reminds us that one should “not get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you” (Eph 5:18, GNB) and that one ought to be “sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8). Unfortunately, some today still contend that God’s Word permits one to drink so long as one does not become drunk. Consider what God says in Prov 23:29-35: “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?
Those who linger long at the wine; those who go in search of mixed wine. Do not look on the wine when it is red; when it sparkles in the cup; when it swirls around smoothly; at the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; they have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?” According to Prov 20:1, “Wine is a mocker; strong drink is a brawler and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” The effect of drinking alcoholic beverages is that one becomes less sober regardless of when one is actually drunk – legally or mentally incapacitated – and God’s Word is clear that one should remain sober. That being the case, then why would one to engage in trying to be less sober?

The other thing about the sad episode of the young man who fell into the lake, was that no one helped him get home when he was not very sober. The Bible says in Eccl 4:10: “Woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” This is not to say that one may drink so long as one has friends looking after us. On the contrary, we need to have friends who will look after our best interest and discourage us from having alcoholic beverages that may affect our soberness. One needs to choose to have friends who will look out for our interest and help us when we are in trouble. One may have many companions to join us in our fun times but will they be there when one is down? We need to be wise in choosing our friends.

Brethren, we should endeavour to be sober because our adversary prowls around seeking whom he may devour. Stay far from intoxicating influence. We are to abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thess 5:22).