A completely drug-free human being is a rare specimen. I’m talking about alcohol, tobacco, weed, opiates, and prescription medication, to be sure. But I’m also talking about coffee, caffeine and herbs like Ashwagandha, Kava Kava, etc. that exert a powerful effect on the mind and body in their own right. In addition to myriad drugs—prescription, over-the-counter, legal, and illicit—people commonly resort to food, sex, and technology as a means of stimulation, often in immoderate and unhealthy amounts.
Why are drug abuse and unhealthy lifestyle habits so common?
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good? Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!”Psalm 4:6
The answer is that the human condition lends itself to anxiety and restlessness. 17th-century French scientist and theologian Blaise Pascal said, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Many of us are not comfortable in our own skin. We constantly look for ways to upgrade our consciousness, or at least experience some temporary improvement in our emotional state. The common human tendency toward anxiety and dissatisfaction is reflected in Psalm 4:6, Who will show us some good?
The Christian Alternative To Drunkenness
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.Ephesians 5:18
In Galatians, the Apostle Paul exhorts the reader not to get drunk with wine (a common drug of choice during the 1st century AD), which drunkenness tends toward evil and the absence of moral restraint, as many of us can attest. (See John Piper’s Lust Is Like Drunkenness). The command, however, is two-part. There is the harmful thing to avoid, on one hand, but also the good thing to pursue, on the other.
The second part of the verse is the injunction to replace wine—or the thing that functions like wine in our lives, which we resort to for comfort, relief, and feel-good vibes—with the Holy Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:23
The Holy Spirit is the remedy for our distressed nature as a species. When we abound in the fruit of the Spirit, we feel positively stimulated by our inner life such that our need for external stimulation diminishes. Unlike many drugs and narcotics, “there is no law” that prohibits or punishes the fruit of the Spirit. It is ours to cultivate and ours to keep.
I’m not saying that using legal drugs, like caffeine, and alcohol, in moderation, is wrong. What I am suggesting is that God offers—even commands—a deeper relation-based solution for our lives, whose half-life is for all time.
The question isn’t whether we as people need stimulation. The question is WHO and WHAT we fulfill our human need for stimulation with.