[management by God] control or be controlled

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

October 21, 2010

Is drinking alcohol okay for Christians?

Personally, I’m not against alcohol, but only rarely enjoy a drink (a glass if wine a few times a year). But I used to be a big drinker when I was in the Marine Corps and in college. Not only do I have first-hand understanding about the principles that I’m about to discuss here, but I’ve also seen the effects that it has on others.

While we look at the third qualification for the manager-leader we discover this issue of not being “addicted to much wine”. Often in a statement like this the focus falls on the “what” or the idea that it’s “wine” that one should beware of.

But could the root issue be at at the beginning of the statement, not at the end? I believe that the real issue is in the idea of being “addicted”. It’s the “to what” that helps us to look at specific problems that this addiction could bring…

Health Implications

One expositor (John Gill) of this text points out that there are health implications attached to being addicted to much wine. While my intent isn’t to provide a medical detail about the effects of alcohol on the body, it’s important to understand that this is a true statement. I personally have watched people’s bodies literally break down right before my eyes from long-term addiction to alcohol.

The important part here is that as a leader, you have a responsibility to the people around you to stay healthy. As the leader of my home I expressed to my wife that the health of her and our son were more important to me than my own health. (That’s me trying to be sacrificial like Jesus.) She promptly responded by letting me know that to them, it is actually my health that was more important. If something were to happen to me, then they would totally loose their leader, protector, and provider.

It’s the same thing in the workplace. Leaders need to build confidence by showing that they physically can make it as long as is needed.

Mental Implications

Another example that Gill points out are the effects of alcohol on the mind. He even goes so far as to state that it “stupefies the mind”. Alcohol not only has it’s short-term, drunken-state effects on our thinking, but because it kills brain cells (among others) it also has a long-term effect on our thinking.

This is another area that as leaders we owe to the people who follow us. We must be able to think through things clearly. Not being able to think clearly will eventually lead to poor decisions that will affect those that follow you.

The Issue of Control

But one of the biggest issues that I have with this idea of “being addicted to much wine” is the issue of people being controlled by it.

Even the one who states that they “have it under control” really doesn’t if they can’t walk away from it without harboring harsh feelings about it.

As a leader it is important for us to be able to maintain a state of control over the things in our lives. People can easily see whether we have control over something, or whether something has control over us.

Imagine working for someone who’s controlled by alcohol. How can you have confidence in the decisions that they make that affect you? How can you know for sure that the decision was made in your best interest, or was if it was clouded by a strong desire to just go have a drink? You cannot let something control your life, or else it’s controlling the lives of those that follow you as well, and that’s not fair to them.

Questions to consider:

  • What controls your life?
  • Do you need to put it down for a while so that you can regain control over it (and everything else in your life)?

See more from the management by God series!


  1. goodwordediting

    There are things in my life that I’ve put down and hope to never pick up again. I do love a good glass of wine in the evening, though. Or a good beer, but that has too many calories. 🙁

    In our house, one concern is how to present moderate drinking as a normal thing without subtly encouraging our kids to think excessive drinking is a normal thing. (We do not drink to excess, but I still worry that seeing us drink somehow makes it seem okay when people drink to excess.)

    We talk about it a lot though.

    • @bibledude

      I’ve heard it said that what we do as ‘normal’ our kids will do in excess. So it’s important to have those conversations and set boundaries like you mention. It’s things like this that can end up controlling our minds and emotions in a way that interferes with our ability to make sound judgement in leadership positions.

      I appreciate the thoughts and feedback Marcus! You rock dude!


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[management by God] control or be controlled

by Dan King time to read: 3 min