The Christian And Recreational Marijuana
Updated: Mar 29, 2019
Now that it’s legal, can Christians use pot?
The Bible doesn’t directly address the issue of recreational marijuana. In fact, the word marijuana doesn’t appear in Scripture. Thus, we must draw our conclusions about it from the general moral teachings of God’s Word. Christians must use prayer, discernment, godly teachers and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
I live in California, a state which has voted to legalize recreational marijuana. Several other states have done the same (despite that federal law prohibits it so far). So, if this is not an issue in your location, it might become one soon.
So how should Christians respond?
Here are 4 biblical issues to consider regarding recreational marijuana:
1. Legalization doesn’t mean God approves.
God commands that we obey the laws of the land (see Romans 13:1-7). But that doesn’t mean that we must take part in an activity, such as recreational marijuana.
There are many examples of this:
The Holocaust in WWII Germany
Legalized prostitution, such as in the state of Nevada and in the Netherlands
God’s desire is that we obey the government, but if it commands or allows us to do something immoral, then another law kicks in: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)
2. Scripture warns about the recreational use of drugs.
Like so many things in this world, drugs can be used for great good, but also great harm:
Dynamite is used to mine diamonds, but also as a weapon to kill and maim
The internet can educate and inspire, but also to create hate, lust, gossip, bullying, anger, fear, violence and so on.
Education is used to inform and create a better society, but also to brainwash and mislead.
Currently I am on a daily regimen of medications to help my heart. One of them keeps my blood pressure in check which could save me from a stroke or heart attack. I’m grateful!
Please note that some have a chemical imbalance in their brains. Medications can be helpful in assisting with these imbalances.
But the Bible warns about the immoral use of drugs. GotQuestions.org says:
Use of intoxicants has also been closely associated with witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible. The Greek word pharmakeia, translated “sorcery,” literally means “to administer drugs.” As with our English word “drugs,” the context must be considered to determine the meaning. In biblical times, pagans incorporated the use of drugs to induce altered states of consciousness, during which they supposedly communed with their gods. This would be similar to the modern-day practice of voodoo. The apostles strongly condemned the use of such drugs to produce altered mind states because the drugs lowered inhibitions and self-control. (Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 9:20-21; 21:8; 22:15).
So just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is permissible in God’s eyes.
3. Our “highs” should come from the Holy Spirit, not alcohol, marijuana or other drugs.
Scripture gives a clear juxtaposition in Ephesians 5:18; “Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (NLT)
While the drug in this verse is alcohol, the same principle applies to other recreational drugs, including recreational marijuana.
Why do people get drunk or get high on a drug like recreational marijuana? Perhaps to feel better, to forget their problems, to numb their thinking, to achieve an altered state of mind.
But this verse says we can (and should) be doing something similar through the filling of God’s Holy Spirit. It’s saying:
Don’t be drunk through alcohol, be drunk through the Holy Spirit.Don’t get high on drugs like marijuana, get high on the Holy Spirit.
If this sounds odd or sacrilegious, don’t blame me—it’s Scripture!
Additionally, a spiritual high is a different kind of high:
It’s not temporary—it last 24/7, not just when you’ve had a joint, fix, or drink.It’s not a forgetting of your problems so much as peace during trials.
When Christian friends say they “need a drink” it says to me they might be reaching for the wrong kind of high. The same would be true of recreational marijuana.
4. Loving our neighbor means maintaining clear-mindedness.
When Jesus was asked “what is the greatest commandment,” he answered:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”(Matthew 22:37-40 ESV)
The USA is a very individualistic society. Our heroes are usually rugged “Lone Rangers” who “buck the system” and “do their own thing.”
Frankly, other societies have a more biblical approach. They ask not just “what’s in it for me,” but also “how will my activities impact my family, friends and neighbors?”
What’s the point? We must ask “even if it is legal recreational marijuana, what impact will my being high on weed have on others?”
Here are some specific examples:
Will using pot be a good role model for my children, coworkers, neighbors, and so on?
Am I likely to think more clearly with or without getting high?
Will smoking pot help or hinder my testimony for Christ?
Might I endanger lives by getting high?
Since society is just beginning to experiment with legalized recreational marijuana, examples are less abundant. But examples of the tragedies from the drug of alcohol abound:
Tens of thousands of children are traumatized by alcoholic parents.
It might be tempting to say, “Recreational marijuana is my own personal decision.” But it isn’t.
The Bible is clear, and even graphic, about the need to focus on concern for our neighbor. Jesus said, “But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone hung around your neck.” (Mark 9:42 NLT)
IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is a biblical Christian perspective on recreational marijuana. If you are not yet a follower of Jesus and would like to find out more, click HERE. Jesus wants to give you a clean conscience and assurance of eternal salvation!
For more help with a biblical approach to medications, alcohol, drugs and other ethical issues see these resources on my website:
Podcast: Should Christians gamble?
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