How it All Fell Apart
Luke 21:34 But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life…
I did not set out twenty years ago to become an addict. I had no intention of abusing my power and privilege as a physician to obtain those pills. If you had asked me ten years ago if I was capable of such destructive behavior, I would have felt confident that such a thing was impossible.
What happened? How did I get there? When everything fell apart, I desperately needed to answer those questions. The simple answer lies in today’s passage. I got where I was, by doing nothing. The terrifying reality is, destruction is my natural state and if I do nothing to avoid it, gravity will work its inexorable effect.
Jesus’ words here reveal a universal principle that I desperately need to understand. I must live purposefully. The life God intends for me does not happen automatically. Though God must take the first step towards me, it is my responsibility to daily pursue that relationship if I want to live the life He desires.
If I do not consciously choose this, I incrementally move away from God, gradually following self more and more. Some will insist that they just made one poor choice leading to destruction but most will recognize that it took hundreds of progressively poor (but natural) choices to get where they are.
Dissipation is the natural loss of heat or energy which is irreversible unless acted on by some outside force. The law of entropy (second law of thermodynamics) states that this is simply the way the universe works. Life is an escalator moving me continually down toward my base flesh life at the bottom. If I stand still, I will naturally always move towards myself. The spirit filled life in God, at the top, must be purposefully and continually pursued or I will never live there.
I am not saying that we earn God by our good behavior. Salvation is freely given, but if we want to live life in God, we need to purposefully choose to do so. Our natural state is to turn our gaze constantly towards self. We need only to attempt to pray for five minutes to realize this. Most of us can keep our minds on God for only seconds before it drifts to self.
Not everyone’s natural state will be as obviously destructive as mine. Subtle destruction may, in the end, be a worse condition as one does not need to address it. When I hit bottom, I could not avoid radical changes. Secret addictions or subtle destruction however, may be tolerated for years. It is a pitiful state to wallow in behavior that is just bad enough to keep me from God but not severe enough that I must deal with it.
If I want God, I must purposefully pursue him or I will naturally pursue self. It is only in pursuing him that I can abandon the natural disaster of me.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.