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Drink of Choice

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.

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  1. Wendy Haider says:

    This brings up something that I’ve been experiencing this last week..A good friend of mine that has been in and out of jail herself for the most part of her life, was recently clean and sober for over two years, is now, once again, losing the battle of addiction. She did really well in her recovery until she started possessing things like her own money, her own car and her Freedom..Now she is back on her old stomping grounds of the Minneapolis streets, prostituting, stealing, and again using crack cocaine. I had a gut feeling that I knew this would happen as soon as she started feeling that Freedom..her demeanor changed, she’d talk about all this money she was making(never talking about using it wisely), her car and being able to go where she wanted..In this time, her talk of God vanished..Good indication to me she wasn’t working her program according to God anymore, but only for herself and those gratifications that one self has to continue to chase in order to keep feeling pleasure, but only causing destruction to oneself. So when you talk about pursuing God or self..This is a prime example..No matter how sad it is to me! I knew there wasn’t anything I could do besides remind her of all that God possesses if she keeps following him and not the demons within herself..That I did, however, with no success! So does that go to say she was never pursuing God in her time of recovery? I say yes and no..I believe she was in a way allowing herself to remain clean and sober for the time she was and no because she ultimately let self take over God..As you said, “It’s Maddening!” I liked to hear your thoughts, Scott, if you think she was following God in the time of recovery to help me maybe see something I’m missing..Thanks!

    • Scott says:

      I often want to judge someone’s sincerity by whether or not they fail again. I have been sincere and then still failed. I still do. At my best, I realize it is not my job to determine someone else’s sincerity. At my worst, I am horribly judgmental. All I think I can do, is be honest about where that person is at now and what they need: Nonjudgmental love and truth. And of course, sometimes, I just need to maintain boundaries if my interaction with that person becomes toxic.

      • Wendy Haider says:

        Thanks for getting back to me Scott! Judgment was one of my huge demons.. I loved to judge others in a way to avoid judgement of myself! I guess I’m curious as to if someone really can follow God but then relapse.. I guess I do believe it possible..Prime example of my friend! She worked her program like no other..I think the problem was her temptation to run was stronger than her desire to follow God..It’s just so Sad! I’ve been able to talk to her since she took off..She’s back to using! It amazed me that when I talk to her about relapsing..She was so worried about disappointing me..Not herself! I talked to her when coming down from crack cocaine and she was feeling bad about hurting others..But, didn’t want to go back to sobriety saying there’s no light at the end of her tunnel..Since then, I haven’t been able to get ahold of her so I know she’s using again..Breaks my heart!

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