There has been a growing cultural positivity toward marijuana over the past half-century, but only recently have states begun legalizing it for recreational use. The combination of culture and legislation has skyrocketed cannibas’s popularity and expediency (in 2020 Gallop reported that 70% of American thought smoking weed was “morally good”, up 22% since 2013). This raises a question – What should the Christian think about recreational marijuana? The debate over this topic helps us discover and refine our beliefs of who God is and what we ought to do as His people. What follows are three areas of Scriptural consideration that will help us look at this topic rightly – that there is little room in Scripture for the use of marijuana and, if we are being honest, there is no room in Scripture for the use of marijuana recreationally.
Christians are to be vigilant. Sober-mindedness and awareness are crucial attributes of the Christian’s life (1 Pete. 5:8; Mark 13:32-37). God has entrusted the believer with the message of the gospel and the duty to share it with others via word and action. We stand ready to minister the gospel at a moment’s notice. Gospel readiness and impairment (the purposeful alteration of one’s cognitive state; marijuana’s primary and fundamental use) run opposed to each other. Moreover, both passages carry warnings: First, lack of vigilance makes you a target for a prowling Satan; second, Jesus, our Master, is returning and will hold us accountable for how we handled His gospel charge. Does your lifestyle maintain your gospel-readiness?
Christians find their re-creation in God. God calls His people into the habit of rest, primarily in Christ’s finished work (Heb. 4:9-10) and then in the good things the Lord provides (Eccl. 2:24-26). Yet, in our culture we have reformed recreation into leisure, in doing so we have removed responsibility from rest. Marijuana’s impairment detracts from dutifulness. Our hobbies and free time must be distinctly godly. Why? First, putting work down to rest in God signifies humble faith in God. Second, God prepares His people for future faithfulness by providing rest. Recreation is not “off-duty” time, rather it is the time to faithfully enjoy God and his blessings in order to increase worship. Is rest your escape from life or engagement with God? A way you can tell is if you feel the need to abandon godly ideals for refreshment.
Christians pursue God’s glory. Though celebrities, peers, and media outlets celebrate something, though elected government officials legalize something, our duty is first to God’s glory. Pursuing God’s glory is not a mystery, it is living according to His wisdom. 1 Cor 6:12 details the wisdom of self-control, “‘Everything [other than sin!] is permissible for me,’ but not everything is beneficial. ‘Everything [other than sin!] is permissible for me,’ but I will not be mastered by anything.” Christians enjoy freely glorifying God through self-control. We glorify God in all things by clinging to only what builds up and to God as our only Master (vv19-20 cf: our bodies). The short- and long-term negative effects of marijuana on the mind and body, coupled with its addictive and impairing properties, pitch a person away from self-control, wisdom, and thus glorifying God. Pursuing God’s glory will intrinsically set us apart from the world.
As with all things, let’s do the hard work of inspecting ourselves through the lens of God’s Word and responding in faith.