The Demon Pill
1 Corinthians 10:21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.
In my addiction, I came to be filled with self-hatred. I detested looking in the mirror as I despised what I saw. In my mind, I wanted God but my actions betrayed that I pursued evil. The conflict tore me apart. I could not handle the duplicity of believing one thing and living the opposite.
A man may refuse to believe in demons, but he who has known the self-inflicted misery of addiction cannot deny Paul’s metaphor of the cup of demons. He who has repeatedly chased the pill or the bottle to disaster cannot escape the reality of evil he has invited into his life. It is a reflection of hell, a living hell on earth, that a man creates when he drinks repeatedly of the cup of demons.
Paul, in today’s passage, insisted that I have two choices. I am continuously consuming something in this life. I am either drinking of God, or I am drinking not-God. I live a life pointed at God or pointed at something else. Everything else is, by definition, destructive as it leads me away from God. I drink his cup or I drink the cup of demons and destruction.
It is a profound lie to accept that I can drink a neutral cup. I like to think that I can pursue the me that is not harmful. I convince myself that I can ignore God and avoid consequences. I can just cheat a little. God will forgive me if I indulge just once in a while. No cost…
It was in my pursuit of me (not-God) that I fell deeper and deeper into my own appetites until, in my own small hell, I came to be enslaved to my demon pill. Though I no longer live in active addiction, my cup of demons now takes different forms. There are other temptations which continually attempt to distract my gaze from Christ. Pride, anger, food and all the desires of my flesh still tug at my affections, tempting me to fill myself with anything but God. This is the cup of demons, to drink of anything other than God.
Does this mean I must, like a mountain-top monk, live in a monastery, chanting all day? No, of course not. In walking with my eyes on God, everything I do, even the most mundane activities become of and for God. I do not do it well, but through discipline and practice, I can learn to go about my normal, everyday activities with my focus on God. I can learn to drink deeply of his cup, continuously filling myself with him. When I am drinking of God, everything I do, even brushing teeth and buying groceries, becomes part of a life in pursuit of God.
The opposite is true as well though. If my gaze is on not-God, then even the most noble deeds I may do become soiled by my inherent pursuit of evil and self. If I am not drinking of God, keeping my eyes on Christ, then I am, by definition, pursuing something else. This will always lead me away from God, no matter how good my intentions are. I cannot drink the cup of God and the cup of evil, demons or self, at the same time. I must continually choose one or the other.
Again, I do not do it perfectly, but I much prefer a life of drinking in God. I very much enjoy the peace and joy of not being enslaved to my demon pill. I like being able to look in the mirror these days.