I was just a 7th grader when I first saw some. My best friend and I were hanging out on his back porch when he grabbed a Ziploc bag out of his backpack. “You wanna try some of this?” It felt like a scene right out of an after-school TV special. The dry leaves inside that bag might as well have been spinach because I was not the least bit tempted. I was a rule-follower and besides, if my dad found out, I would have never made it to the 8th grade. But for the first time in my life, I had access to marijuana. Thankfully, it wasn’t hard to ‘just say no.’
And now, for the first time in our state, we have easier access to marijuana thanks to the new medical marijuana law. Based on the majority of voters that passed the law, it wasn’t hard for us to just say yes. If social trends continue, recreational use will be next to pass at the ballot box. Rather than debate the wisdom of such legislation, it’s now time for us Christians to have a candid discussion about the wisdom of using pot.
Is it okay for Christians to smoke weed?
Truthfully, a decent case can be made in the secular world for marijuana. That defense often includes a comparison between alcohol and cannabis to justify legalization. For the Christian, these secular sentiments should hold no weight though. We respect the law of the land but within the family of God, we are ambassadors for another land, a different kingdom. Our laws aren’t derived from an amended constitution but from a timeless sacred text. With that said, I will appeal to one verse in the Bible to advocate for complete abstinence for the Christian when it comes to pot.
“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.”
– Ephesians 5:18
Alcohol is okay, why not weed?
Though many of my Baptist brethren would disagree with me, I cannot find texts in the Bible demanding total abstinence from alcohol. It seems that God gave alcohol for a host of purposes, one of which might be to simply consume. But the Bible is crystal clear about one thing. Drunkenness is a sin. I don’t drink and it’s not because I hate the taste but because I know my heart. Something inside me longs to escape the me that I deal with every day. Something in me craves a mental buzz that would allow me to float above my insecurities if only for a few moments. If I allowed it, alcohol could become that deadly escape hatch for me. But for many Christians, they don’t drink to get that drunken buzz. They drink because they honestly enjoy the oaky texture of the wine (insert puke emoji) or the relaxing sensation of a beer at dinner.
What does this have to do with marijuana? The purpose of puffing on a joint is not to enjoy the oaky flavor of the smoke. Let’s be real. People smoke to get high. Any enjoyment of the joint itself is only secondary to the mental effects it has on the user. Studies show that “significant THC concentrations are noted following even a single puff or hit of a marijuana cigarette.” And after just four puffs, the user can be considered significantly intoxicated. For a follower of Christ to refrain from this kind of intoxication (ie. drunkenness), that person would need to stop using after two or three puffs at most.
Why we want to get high
People smoke because they want to get high. The real question we should be asking ourselves is why. Why do we want to get high? The desire to be high should give us a clue. Dear Christian, we were made to enjoy something higher and you know it. But lasting joy isn’t found at the end of a joint. Its found in fellowship with God through his Holy Spirit. So beware of Paul’s brutally honest words in Ephesians, you can’t smoke pot and enjoy the Holy Spirit. When you put it like that, it’s much easier to just say no.
For a more complete discussion of this topic, I recommend this article.