Question: What's wrong with using street drugs like marijuana?
Answer: God wants everyone to have a good physical life (John 10:10; 3 John 2) and then, through acceptance of His way of life, receive eternal life (John 3:16). The connection human beings make with God is through our minds—the organ that allows us to determine and complete our actions.
Recognizing how vitally important one's mind is, Proverbs 4:23 says, "Keep your heart [mind] with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." The problem with illegal drugs is that they destroy or impede our ability to think soundly. When we don't have a sound mind, it becomes much more difficult to have a relationship with our Creator.
Another problem with drugs is that they damage our health (www.news.com.au). The Bible teaches us that because our bodies are to be the temples (places of residence) for God's Spirit, we need to take care of them. Doing so glorifies—shows respect to—God who made us (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Then there is the important addiction issue addressed below.
Q: It seems everyone around me is using drugs. What's wrong with just trying it once to see what it's like?
A: Many people have gotten hooked on drugs after deciding that they just wanted to try them once. So to chance this at all is utterly dangerous. Some drugs are physically addictive, affecting some people even more strongly than others. In addition, people get hooked on the high—the euphoric feeling they have while under the influence of the drug. It feels so good that they want to do it again and again and will do just about anything—including illegal and immoral behavior—just to get another "fix" so they can again enjoy the effects of the drug. A wise person will not take the chance of getting hooked, which amounts to idolatry—putting other things before God and his laws.
Sadly the character issue is often overlooked. But it is absolutely vital. God wants people to develop righteous character in this life in preparation for the next one. Righteous character is developed by determining right from wrong, choosing to do what is right and then following through with the proper action. It is a matter of character to choose not to do what is illegal, disrespectful of God and potentially damaging to our health and spiritual well-being.
Q: What's the difference between using alcohol in moderation and drugs?
A: God permits the use of alcohol in moderation and within legal limits (see Romans 13:1; Judges 9:13; 1 Timothy 5:23)—legal issues being age, driving, location, etc. Christians are not to be "heavy drinkers," but to be self-controlled and moderate (Titus 1:7-8; 2:3, New Living Translation). Moderation means using good sense so as to not come close to becoming drunk. Drunkenness is a sin that can keep a person out of God's Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
Studies have shown that the moderate use of alcohol can actually be good for your health (www.hsph.harvard.edu).
Drugs are a different story. Because their use causes intoxication (similar to drunkenness) and is detrimental to one's health, their use is inappropriate for people who want to honor God.
Q. Since peer pressure is a major cause of youth trying illegal drugs, how can one resist this influence?
A. Learning to resist pressures to do what is wrong is an important part of being a Christian. The book of Proverbs, specifically written as advice for young people, says, "My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent" (Proverbs 1:10). When we become adults, we are likewise to resist the world's temptations to sin.
One way to resist negative peer pressure is to spend time with people who don't tempt us to sin. Choose the right kind of friends and associates. God says not to keep company with a drunkard (1 Corinthians 5:11). While we will undoubtedly meet and have to interact with people who break God's laws, if we are wise, we will spend the majority of our time with those who are also striving to live honorable lives.
Q: Doesn't God want young people to have fun?
A: God tells us to enjoy things that don't cause pain to us or others in the long run. He wants young people to enjoy their youth (Ecclesiastes 11:9) and all that goes with it. This entails the excitement of learning, doing new things and spending time with others who share good values—as well as their knowledge of God (Psalm 5:11), since this knowledge will be the key to getting the most out of life. God also encourages us to enjoy the weekly Sabbath and His Holy Days (Isaiah 58:13; Deuteronomy 12:18; 16:14).
Godly fun is fun we can tell our parents and, later even our grandchildren, all about. Godly fun is always in harmony with God's laws and is something one never regrets. Godly fun doesn't harm our bodies. (For ideas, see the article "Alternative Entertainment 101" from our April-June 2006 issue at www.verticalthought.org/issues/vt11/entertainment.htm.) VT