“It’s not for you, O Lemuel!”
Did you know that Colorado and Washington State just voted to legalize marijuana for personal and recreational use? As Christian families, we need to prepare our teenagers to think through the issues of our day. We need to equip our youth to resist temptation, by God's grace, and to live for His glory!
Our country is becoming an increasingly post-Christian society. Many actions may be legal, yet in God’s eyes they are wrong and sinful (such looking at pornography, “sleeping together” before marriage, or getting an abortion). Other actions may be illegal, yet in God’s eyes they are good (such as reading the Bible in a classroom or having a US military chaplain pray in Jesus’ name).
Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. Just because everybody’s doing it, doesn’t mean we do it.
So let’s take a look at what just happened, regarding marijuana use, in the 2012 election.
In Colorado, Amendment 64 passed by an estimated 53% of the vote giving residents the freedom to possess marijuana for personal use and to give away. Just ponder that phrase, “to give away.” Colorado residents can now give “marijuana-gifts” to their friends and loved ones. Perhaps for Christmas? Or a unique college graduation present? Or maybe for a birthday?
But wait – and I’m obviously being facetious here -- the “societal benefits of marijuana” get even better. Sales from these drugs will help schools. Wow. In Colorado, marijuana sales will require licensing from the Colorado Department of Revenue at a rate of 15%, adding perhaps $4 to $21 million each year (estimated by the Colorado Legislative Counsel) for new school construction. Especially in these struggling economic times, it sounds like the state is expecting many new users and some high marijuana sales . . . but it’s all for the benefit of schools and for kids, so it’s good, right? Doesn't the end justify the means?
In Washington State, Initiative 502 passed by an estimated 55%, legalizing “recreational” marijuana for people over 21. New marijuana licensing for growers and sellers will be handled by the Washington liquor control board and a 25% sales tax (on wholesale and retail sales) will raise money for even more benefits to society – for health insurance, schools, and drug prevention.
Speaking as a mother, I think the irony of this “benefit” is absolutely crazy! As a society, we’re officially saying that drugs are now okay; but then we’re using drug-money (from drug-taxes and drug-licensing) to tell kids that drugs are bad. Well that sounds logical, don’t you think, especially to a teenager? It reminds me of that parenting motto that’s been tried for years:
“Do as I say, not as I do.”
Young people are not dumb. We need to respect the intelligence of our kids and encourage our sons and daughters to rise up in our fallen world to God’s standard for kingdom-advancing leadership. As parents, we need to train our kids to think clearly from a solid biblical worldview of truth, so they can come to their own inwardly-motivated conclusions.
So let’s talk about it with our teenagers. What’s wrong with legalized marijuana?
Supporters claim that marijuana isn’t nearly as bad as other drugs like meth (methamphetamine), cocaine, or heroin. And it’s not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco. Some say legalized marijuana will prevent drinking and driving accidents, because some people will use marijuana rather than alcohol (which is a strange “benefit” – because people can now combine excessive drinking with marijuana use, which is even more dangerous). One survey by voters in California estimated that legal marijuana sales would be 80% cheaper than the previous price on the black market, which means this “recreation” will be accessible to even more people. And increased sales will be good for the economy, right? And the taxes and legislation will help pay for schools, health care, and anti-drug classes, which is also good, right?
Oh, what a strange world we live in.
As Christians, we’re called to be sober-minded . . . and to follow God.
God wants for our lives to be surrendered to Him, with obedient hearts. God’s desire is for our whole life to be led, willingly, by His Lordship in every area.
Like any drug, marijuana takes control. It contains an ingredient called THC which is a mild hallucinogen. It can also act as a sedative, with potential to impair memory and judgment. Marijuana (or Cannabis, which is the official term) is a psychoactive drug. What does that mean?
Well, according to Wikipedia . . .
"A psychoactive drug . . . is a chemical substance that crosses the blood–brain barrier and acts primarily upon the central nervous system where it affects brain function, resulting in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, and behavior. These substances may be used recreationally, to purposefully alter one's consciousness, as entheogens, for ritual, spiritual, and/or shamanic purposes, as a tool for studying or augmenting the mind, or therapeutically as medication.
Because psychoactive substances bring about subjective changes in consciousness and mood that the user may find pleasant (e.g. euphoria) or advantageous (e.g. increased alertness), many psychoactive substances are abused, that is, used excessively, despite health risks or negative consequences. With sustained use of some substances, psychological and physical dependence ("addiction") may develop, making the cycle of abuse even more difficult to interrupt."
My summary is simple. It's a substance that messes with your brain. And I tell you, in our family, we need all the self-control over our brains as possible! We want God to be the ONLY LORD and Master of our lives. We're praying daily to surrender to Him, with willing hearts. Why would we ever want to give up the full-control of our brains for a "feel good" experience?
We're not living for a cheap moment of pleasuse -- like Esau, who sold his birthright for a bowl of stew, or like King David, who fell into adultery and had to pay some hard consequences).
No way. It's not for us.
Listen to Joshua 24:15, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
I agree with a loud "Amen!" As for my husband and me, and our house and our kids, we're living for the GLORY of God. . . and for eternity.
How the Bible explains the "snare of the devil" (with an illustration from The Avengers)
It’s just like the devil to offer the temptation of uninhibited "freedom” -- to do “whatever feels good” and “whatever you want” – in exchange for his captivity and control.
Look at what God says in II Timothy 2:25-26: "in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will."
In the super-hero movie, The Avengers, one of the “good guys” is a special agent named Hawkeye who becomes completely controlled, through the heart, by the villain Loki. It’s not until another special agent Avenger, the beautiful Black Widow, finally knocks Hawkeye in the head -- and back to his senses -- that’s he’s able to rejoin the team and to fulfill his mission.
I Peter 5:8 tells us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (ESV).
We need to guard our hearts, with diligence.
Why on earth would we, as Christians (and I’m speaking here to both parents and to teenagers), ever want to take any mind-altering substance -- some drug or some drink -- that will mess with our minds and take control of our brains? In case you haven't noticed, we're in a serious battle here on earth and we have a real enemy (the devil) who hates our guts. None of us, at any age, is immune to the devil's temptations. However, God has promised us that He will never allow us to be tempted without giving us a way of escape (I Corinthians 10:13). He will always be there to help us to resist temptation. Always.
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are God’s ambassadors and His representatives here on earth. We have a mission assignment to rescue people who are lost and dying. We're called compel others to come to God’s salvation through Jesus Christ (II Corinthians 5:20). Our focus is on glorifying God and pleasing Him and expanding His kingdom on this earth . . . not just doing what we want.
As Christians, I Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
So regarding this issue about “legalized” marijuana (or any other thing or action that might be “legal” but bad or contrary to God’s best), here’s what I would tell my teens:
“It’s not for you, O Lemuel.”
The quote is taken from Proverbs 31:3-5. In this chapter about the virtuous woman, a godly mom imparts some timeless advice to her son, Lemuel, who will someday be king. Her bottom-line wisdom is simple: If you want to be a future leader, stay away those things that destroy kings. It’s not for you.
“Do not give your strength to women,
Nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel;
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Nor for princes intoxicating drink;
Lest they drink and forget the law
And pervert the justice of all the afflicted.”
As Great Commission Christians, we’re on a mission with a special assignment to advance the kingdom of God, both locally and globally.
Throughout our lives, as parents and as young people, there will be countless opportunities and temptations to participate in something that is perhaps legal, yet wrong, or not best. Our calling is higher than merely “going along with crowd” or doing “whatever feels good.”
We’re not living for the moment. We’re living for God’s glory and for eternity. And by God’s grace (and because He promised He would help us), we’re not going to fall for the enemy’s trap.
Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right.
No way. It's not for us.
My bottom-line: As Christian parents, let's raise sober-minded teens -- who aren't taken "captive by the enemy" by surrendering their brain or their body to any drug or drink. Let's train our sons and daughters to rise up and be leaders in God's kingdom for God's GLORY!
(P.S. Avoid foolish disputes.)