Drink of Choice
1 Corinthians 10:6 These things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.
It is painful to watch those who seem to be stuck in a revolving door in and out of jail. They come to bible study with good intentions while in jail but those good intentions never translate to transformed behavior when they get out. As soon as they find freedom, seemingly within minutes, they are back at the same behavior that got them locked up in the first place. It is truly maddening to watch.
Paul, in today’s passage, said so too was the Jewish nation in the wilderness. Having been set free from slavery in Egypt, they wandered literally and figuratively. Paul said they followed God, for a time. They knew what it meant to drink the water of Christ (v. 4). Though they knew God, they repeatedly turned their backs on him.
I recall, as a child, hearing the stories of their cycle of disobedience leading to misery, leading to repentance, leading to obedience and then back again to disobedience. It was a maddening story. Why would the Israelites turn from God to choose destruction over and over? Why would my friends choose to return to jail? What is wrong with them? Why do they choose destruction and death when they know where to find life and peace?
I only have to look inward to find the answer. I too, have tasted of the satisfaction found in Christ. I too then, have turned my back on him, to pursue instant gratification in the destructive desires of me. I did it because I wanted to. I continue to do it because it is in my nature to do so. I do it because, though I am saved and have a new spirit life, I still live in this damned flesh.
The truth is, I am always going to seek pleasure somewhere. I am always going to pursue some drink to satisfy my thirst. The question is, am I going to choose life, drinking deeply of Christ, or am I going to attempt to satisfy my thirst in the pleasures of my flesh? I know the consequences of pursuing me, but still, I want the immediate pleasure found in the desires of self.
Most of us know how we are intended to live. We know that we should abandon the instant gratification of our destructive nature to pursue joy which truly lasts. We understand this would be the best thing for us, but still, we bristle at giving up the things we want. We want those things for a reason. They feel good, temporarily. So, though we want God, we remain unwilling to abandon self and in doing so, we never really meet God. We believe in him intellectually but we do not know him experientially because we continue to pursue self above all. We never get to God because we are never willing to abandon ourselves to pursue him.
Though I do not say this flippantly to those I hurt, I am thankful for my addiction. It was only in my addiction and subsequent disaster, that I came to understand how badly I needed to abandon me to pursue God. The pleasure, peace and joy I have found in God is immeasurable compared to the pleasure (and subsequent misery) I found in the pursuits of me.
I do not do faith perfectly, but it is only in satisfying my thirst with God that I have come to know true joy, meaning and peace. It is in only drinking deeply of him that I am most deeply satisfied.