January 17, 2017

1 Timothy 4:4-5 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

This passage clearly counters any dietary restrictions. That is clear not only from the words here but from the context of all of Paul’s letters. That said, this short passage doesn’t touch on the matter of moderation and other considerations. Paul knew nothing of nutritional science, and assorted human concoctions were centuries in the future. Gluttony is one of the traditional Seven Deadly Sins, even though that ranking is hard to justify from Scripture. That said, gluttony can certainly be physically deadly, and it is clearly a form of idolatry. Just because something isn’t bad doesn’t mean you need more of it. This passage has been applied to alcohol, and I’m sure someone has probably applied it to marijuana as well. In genuine moderation, alcohol can help the circulatory system and it serves as a relaxant, but even the Bible is loaded with cautions about over-use. Though it does not appear in the Bible, the same can be said of marijuana. The fiber has been used since prehistoric days for rope, and assorted medical benefits have been demonstrated, but with the recent huge increase in usage in America, assorted medical problems of over-use are being identified as well. One factor in that is that through selective breeding, mankind has greatly increased the intoxicating chemicals in it, rather than those that have medical benefits. It might be hard to identify the modern form as “something God created!” What we’re back to is being submitted to God, placing Him first rather than anything else. That is the best insulation against any misuse of what He has created.

This naturally applies to me as much as it does to anyone. Thankfully, I have never liked the taste of beer. For that matter, not many alcoholic drinks have tasted good to me. I also seem to be well endowed with the enzyme that breaks down ethanol, because the one time I actually tried to get drunk I didn’t succeed. That said, I know that it would be easier for me than for many people to become dependent on alcohol precisely because I can “handle it,” so that is one of several reasons I don’t drink at all. The same can be said of marijuana. Having been in the US Army in Hawaii in 1970-71 I’ve certainly been exposed to it, though not the much more potent modern varieties. Since I stopped smoking a pipe in college after I decided I liked to taste my food more than I liked to smoke, the idea of deliberately drawing any kind of smoke into my lungs has not appealed to me. (It also helped that I had an uncle on one side of the family who was a biochemist doing cancer research, and one on the other side who died of lung cancer after a life of smoking.) However, I can say that crushed marijuana seed makes a very nice seasoning for beef gravy (discovered in an Army mess hall in Hawaii). Recently the medical benefits of canabinol oil have come to my attention, and that is not the intoxicating (THC) part. That has real potential to be of personal benefit in the future. It all comes down to personal accountability before God, serving Him in such a way that those who see me will be motivated likewise to serve God, for His pleasure and glory.

Father, thank You for all that You have created. Help me be the steward of it that You intend, yielding no territory to the devil, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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