Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Is 21 a Random Number, God? Drinking Series: Part 2

Because of my job, I am constantly praying for teenagers. One of my biggest prayers is that they would live in a trusting relationship with Jesus Christ. My prayer is that they would believe that God has a perfect and life-giving plan for their life. I believe when we settle for anything less than God’s best for our life, we are missing out. I don’t want them to miss out on God’s best for their life. I am constantly trying to drive home the truth that I will not judge them for the decisions they’ve made, nothing they’ve done can disappoint me, nothing they’ve done will surprise me, but if there is an area or areas in their life where they are selling themselves short of God’s best for their life I can encourage them to look to Jesus. I can pray for them to not settle, but to save themselves for only God’s best. God’s best is laid out for us in His word. Here is one particular text that speaks to an area of getting after God’s best for us. And one way he does this is through people in our life – namely – authority.

Romans 13:1-5 (NLT)
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

The past couple of weeks HUB has been focusing on drinking. Two weeks ago, Angie Ammon shared her heart with us. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Molly and how she died from drinking too much. My prayer along with Angie’s is that lives would be saved because of Molly’s story. Last week we looked at Ephesians 5, a passage that told us we can’t be filled with Christ when we are filled with alcohol. You can’t have both – you can’t live for God when you are living for yourself and consumed by drinking and partying. So this past Sunday night we looked at a passage about authority. How authority comes from God. We learn that the authorities are God’s servants, sent for our good. It all goes back to God’s best for our lives. There is a reason why the drinking age is 21.

Why 21? Is it just a random number the government decided? Through my research, I thought it was cool to see that this law was just another way of God protecting us and of God desiring what is best for us. The National Minimum Drinking Age Act of 1984 made the legal drinking age 21 in the United States. Before this was passed, researchers discovered that the human brain continues to grow and develop until the age of 21. Alcohol, therefore, has a more dangerous affect on these developing adolescent brains than it does on adults 21 and older. You see, it isn't some random law. It is all apart of God's good plan for our life. (Want to read more? Here's a website with easy take-away points http://www.legalflip.com/Article.aspx?id=20)

CBS did a report on this, too. Check out the difference in brain activity between a 15 year old non-drinker and a 15 year old heavy drinker. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-1778434.html

Here’s the thing with submitting to God. It’s an act of trust and a leap of faith as we let go of our way and grab ahold of his way.
Our lives are a reflection of our response to God. We are either choosing to love him and follow him or we are choosing to love ourselves. God has put in place people of authority to help guide us. People in the government, our parents, our teachers, our pastors…all of them are there to help us. The authorities are God’s servants – sent for your good. When we rebel against those in authority, we are ultimately rebelling against God.
It’s a heart thing. At the core of who we are (our sinful nature) we have a heart of rebellion. But Christ was sent to overcome our rebellion. So we can choose to rebel against God and live a life that is consumed with me. Or we can submit our lives to God. The thing that is incredible about God is that he doesn’t force us into submission. The choice is left up to us. That’s how much he loves us – he doesn’t force our hand – but allows us to decide for ourselves which of the two paths we want to take in his gift of free will. So we can either choose the road that leads to life with our Savior, life in a trusting relationship with the one who knows us best - or we can choose the road that leads to life away from God, doing things our own way, and living through the consequences of life separated from our loving God.
The choice is up to you. But I can promise you, living life loved by our Savior is the ultimate life path.

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