1 Corinthians 15:32,33 If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be deceived… Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning.
Paul, in today’s passage, described two paths in life. On the first, there is no God, and thus, no reason to live for anything but self. On the Godless path, I become god and live only for my desires. Nothing matters but living how I choose. My purpose and pleasure come only from the gratification I find in pursuing me. On the other path, God is at the center of all things and my only proper response is to love and pursue him above all. With God at the center, the appetites of my flesh seem petty as I realize the joy and purpose I find in knowing him.
As I pondered this passage yesterday, I automatically began dividing everyone I know, placing them on one path or the other. As this seemed pretty judgmental, I turned my gaze inward (as I should). I was quite tempted to divide my life into BA (before addiction) and AA (after addiction). I very much like to think that I used to have problems. I like to think that as I follow God now, I have no more struggles. I’m always on God’s path, right?
I started thinking then, of the last time I made a choice on the first path, following me. I did not have to go back three years. I did not have to go back three days. Though I never stop believing that God is at the center of it all, I do not always live like it. I always believe in the rightness of God’s path, I just often live on the me-path. Though I never actually believe that I am at the center, I naturally want to live that way. I believe in God but I still follow me.
I recently met with an addict who just came to understand this. Previously he had been greatly vexed by his continual desire for everything he believed to be evil. Why am I this way? Why do I do what I don’t want to do? He came to realize that it is simply not our nature to follow God, but to follow our own desires. This was an epiphany.
Though I always believe in the path that follows God, it is a continual choice to make my feet walk that path. In not choosing God’s path, I will almost always find my feet walking the path of me. It is in passivity and apathy that I do not choose and it is in not choosing that I have made the wrong choice. Then, when I look up and find myself in treatment, I wonder why. How did I get here?
I got there by not purposefully choosing the path of God. I thought my knowledge of God was enough to keep me on the right path. As I was saved once by faith, I thought walking the right path was a once-for-all decision. It is not though. Following God, instead of self, is a decision I must make a hundred times a day. If I do not consciously make the right choice, I have already made the wrong choice.