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“If we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition, when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

— The Weight of Glory, C.S. LEWIS

To my brothers and sisters in Christ struggling with alcohol, I understand the battle you are in. I had to lay down alcohol for good just over 12 years ago. As I thought about what I would write to you today and reflected on these past 12 years, this is the message that burns deepest within me: You are choosing a lesser life! You are making an illogical decision. As Lewis said above, you are choosing mud pies in the slum when there is a holiday at the sea being offered to you. Lewis is making an appeal to logic. It’s like choosing a fast-food hamburger when you could be eating a filet at a 5-star steakhouse or choosing to drive an old beat-up clunker when you could be driving a brand-new car. These decisions would make no sense. My friend, I have traveled both roads, and I can say with complete conviction that what I have given up cannot be compared to what I have gained. My heart breaks for you because of the life you are missing out on.

Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit....” (Ephesians 5:18). Most people would see this verse as a command or a spiritual appeal (which I do believe it is). But after twelve years of sobriety, I have also come to understand this verse in a very different way. I believe he is making a logical appeal as well. Paul is appealing to something GREATER! He is telling them not to be ignorant children, as Lewis would say, and make the obvious and correct decision. He is encouraging them to put down the lesser life and pick up the greater one.

In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

In this passage, Paul is saying that the Christian life is like a runner in a race. Now why does a runner throw off everything that hinders and entangles him? For the PRIZE! He then backs it up with the example of Jesus. Why did Jesus endure the pain and shame of the cross? For the JOY set before Him. The prize being offered to the runner makes anything that hinders his running illogical, and thus the runner throws these things aside quickly and violently.

The runner who sees the prize no longer finds himself asking questions like, “Am I really an alcoholic?” or “Is what I am doing wrong or sinful?” All these questions become irrelevant. When the child understands and sees how great the experience of a holiday at the sea will be, they no longer ask themself if it’s wrong or right to eat the mud pie. That question doesn’t matter to them anymore.

In light of what I have written above, there is something else you must understand. You are struggling with alcohol, and you think that God is displeased with you. Some of you may even envision a scowl on God’s face. Or maybe you believe the countenance on His face is one of disappointment in you. And that each time you fail, His disappointment grows. Oh no, my friend. You couldn’t be more wrong. Let me be clear. If you are His child, He is not angry with you. He is not disappointed in you today. He is disappointed for you! Please understand the difference. He is looking at you with tears running down His face. His heart weeps for you. He is your Dad. He is heartbroken. He is the Father of the prodigal, eagerly waiting on His child to grow tired of eating slop with the pigs and come home. He weeps because He wants to go on vacation with you; He wants to take you on a holiday at the sea.

As your fellow brother in Christ, I have written these words because I have been exactly where you are, and I am begging and pleading with you — put down the mud pie and come experience a holiday at the sea with me.

To read more of my thoughts on alcohol and the Christian life, visit


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