Liquid Courage: Finding Confidence in the Right Kind of Drinking

How many times in movies or TV have you seen a guy polish off a beer or drain a shot glass before approaching a girl? I can’t count the times, but it’s been a lot.

Perhaps the funniest example (except for the drunkenness) is from The Big Bang Theory. There’s a character named Raj who can only talk to women when he’s had a few drinks. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve only seen the first three seasons, so I can’t speak for the whole show. But it’s shocking when he does say something, as evidenced in this clip (whoever uploaded the video uploaded it flipped, so ignore that):

A common phrase for alcohol used to boost self-confidence is “liquid courage.” This kind of courage is one that often leads to shrugging off reason and sometimes moral character, but for whatever reason, it helps one get over fears and insecurities and pursue something wholeheartedly.

Courage is something that is often praised and hard to come by. It’s the latter that often initiates the former there. Shedding fears and insecurities is usually going against our very nature as humans. We’re often defined by what we can’t do or what we’re scared of — people are arachnophobic or afraid of heights, or guys won’t talk to girls without a little help in some way, or we’re scared of getting rejected by a company who has our dream job. In those circumstances, it takes courage to stand up and do something that freaks us out.

We need a well to draw from to find that courage, to get the guts to go through with something that scares us. Some turn to alcohol, which can be incredibly dangerous and, if consumed to the point of drunkenness, sinful. But others have turned to the right liquid courage. Let’s reconnect with our buddy Asa.

After leading his army to a great victory against the Ethiopians in 2 Chronicles 14, the next chapter finds Asa meeting with a prophet named Azariah. Here is what he says to Asa in 2 Chronicles 15:1-7 —

The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded, and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress. But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

Azariah talks about how the nation of Israel was without God, but when they sought Him, they found Him. God then turned His protection upon Israel. If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll remember that Asa was the king of Judah. If you’re not aware of biblical geography – which is totally OK, by the way, it can be a little complicated – Judah was the neighboring nation to Israel. The two nations were birthed out of the 12 tribes of Jacob. Ten of them made up Israel, and the two others made up Judah.

So Azariah tells Asa about how faithful God was to Israel, but also shares how faithful God will be to Judah if they seek Him as well. The response from Asa is immediate. Verse 8 —

As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the LORD that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the LORD.

Azariah challenged Asa to be courageous, and Asa was courageous, he took courage. But what was it that spawned this confidence in Asa?

It was the the Word of God.

See, Asa had reason to trust God based on God’s faithfulness to the people of Judah. But it was God’s Word continuing to reach him that motivated Asa to continue to be faithful to God and seek Him. By “put(tting) away detestable idols” and “repair(ing) the altar of the LORD,” Asa was sending a signal that God would be made to be preeminent in his land. God would be the one worshipped. There would be no other gods before God in his kingdom. And he took the courage to take that step, to do that, from the Word of God being spoken to him.

Azariah’s prophecy was the starter’s gun. Verse 8 – “As soon as Asa heard these words…he took courage.”

Just like Asa, we can take courage from the Word of God. We don’t have to drum it up out of nowhere. All that is necessary is that we believe that God’s Word is true and apply it to our lives.

We can take courage when we don’t know what’s going to happen next in our lives, because God’s Word says, “And we know that for those who love God all things worth together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

We can take courage when we’re afraid that we don’t have enough or we fear rejection by man, because God’s Word says that He says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” and we can say back, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5b,6)

We can take courage when we’re stressed and worried about any situation, because God’s Word says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

And we can take courage when we’re afraid that God doesn’t love us and that we’re not enough, because God’s Word says, “So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:16a, 18a).

The next time you’re afraid, drink from the well of God’s Word. This post is not a critique of alcohol or a condemnation of alcohol. This is simply promoting a different kind of confidence, a confidence that doesn’t fade away when the buzz wears off. This is a well you can go to time and time again that benefits your soul.

Drink it in.


Taking God At His Word Is Probably The Best Thing You’ll Ever Do

Have you ever been given some advice that you knew was really good, but decided to just nod, say thanks and then not follow it?

Story of my life. I’ve written before about my stubborn streak and how much I love listening to other people. I also like sarcasm.

I was reading in 2 Kings today – by the way, the Old Testament is super rad – and was trying to make an intentional effort to learn something about God while reading. I think sometimes it’s easy for us to read just to find one little nugget to take away no matter what it’s about, but I really wanted to grasp something about God from my time in the Word this morning.

I read 2 Kings 5-6, and chapter five tells the story of Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria. He was well-regarded as a leader “because by him the LORD had given victory to Syria” (v. 1). He was a “mighty man of valor,” but he was also a leper. Leprosy, for those who don’t know, causes exterior disfigurations of the face and other skin, as well as a lack of ability to feel pain. In Hebrew society, lepers were outcasts, but in Syria things must have been different if Naaman was the commander of the army of the king of Syria.

Back to the story. In one of Syria’s recent raids, they had captured a servant girl who worked in the house of the king of Israel. The servant girl said that there was a prophet in Samaria who could cure Naaman of his leprosy. So Naaman saddled up a crew and they went to Samaria. After getting turned away at the king of Israel’s gate, God’s prophet Elisha sent for Naaman and his crew to come to him. Verses 9-14:

So Naaman came with his horses and chariots and stood at the door of Elisha’s house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.” But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, “Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

One of the biggest struggles I face is taking God at His Word. Now, I know that it’s true and accurate and, as 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” I get it. I understand that to be true.

But sometimes I don’t feel it. To be honest, lots of times I don’t feel it. I can be a slave to my emotions, my attitude and my day hinging on how I feeling. There’s some of this that is good – emotions can be helpful, warning signs, encouragements, so on and so forth. But to be lead by emotion is a dangerous thing. We become like drunkards, speaking and acting at our own whimsy.

The story of Naaman proves one thing: Sometimes we see God’s answer to our issue and we get frustrated because it’s not what we thought it would be. But when we submit to His answer and His way, that’s when true healing comes.

pic-biblicalI was reminded today that God’s Word is always beneficial and always profitable, no matter how I feel or how I initially react to it. It’s a pride thing, really. I think I’ve either got it all figured out or I’m just one breakthrough away from understanding it on my own. But instead, I need to submit myself to God’s truth each and every day.

It’s a grace-infused process because we won’t do that. We won’t ever really do what we need to. But God gives us the grace to give it another shot when we fail. When I look back at my life and realize all the times I haven’t taken God at His Word, I don’t have to sit in regret. I accept that I sinned, receive the grace and mercy that He’s given me through Jesus and move forward, giving it another shot. God is the God of 10,000 chances. And one of the many great things about God’s Word is that it never changes, it never alters. We don’t have to be rechecking Romans 8:1 every day to make sure that we’re still not condemned if we’re in Christ. We can trust it and believe it.

God desires the best for us, even if it’s leading us to something we don’t desire to do or don’t feel like doing, because He loves us and cares for us. God’s love for us is at the root of each and every action He takes and each and every word He says. That’s a huge concept we must grasp and wrestle with and believe. He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Because of those things, we can take God at His Word. Each and every day. For the rest of eternity. Hallelujah. Can’t explain to you how that makes me feel. Overwhelmed by grace. Overwhelmed by love. Overwhelmed by my sinfulness and my mistakes. Overwhelmed by the fact that He cares for me enough to send His Word to me. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord.

Every time I get swayed by the temptations of this world, I can come back to the good God of the world who in His Word unconditionally tells me, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” It might take six or seven dips in the water of His Word to get it, but each and every one is worth it.