I visited the supermarket on Tuesday, placing my items on the conveyor belt ahead of the checkout-lady scanning their bar codes. Midway through scanning, the lady stopped and gave me a sympathetic look. Oh dear, thought I. Zip undone? Odd shoes? Card rejected? Well it can’t have been that, I realised, for it wasn’t the time to pay. Picking up my 4-bottle pack of Kopparberg Cider, she suggested I had bought the wrong item. These, she gently explained, were alcohol free. “But it’s no problem at all, it’s not busy, so you can nip back and get the proper ones”. I explained that their minimal alcohol content was the very reason I’d bought them; a drink can be enjoyed without the trouble of inebriation. Judging by her reaction, the thought had not occurred to her. She explained that previously, several others had picked up this Kopparberg product and were only too glad to rectify their careless mistake. Within a few more beeps of the machine, she had changed the subject, and was passing the time with some fresh anecdote. 

I’m not here to write about the pros and cons of being teetotal. The Bible is clear- it’s not bad to drink and it’s not unwise to abstain. Yet many in Britain must imbibe stimulants because their dreary lives would otherwise be unbearable. For some folk, it’s alcohol that supplies life’s missing ingredient. For others, it’s white powders or little pills. We were designed to live in fellowship with God, enjoy His company, love His precepts. When we reject all that, and seek to live our own way, we must find substitutes to make life without Him more agreeable. Alcohol and drugs, if used as substitutes for fellowship with God, are nothing but killers and thieves: 

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” -Jesus, in John 10:10