Live for Now?
The scatterer has come up against you. Man the ramparts; watch the road; dress for battle; collect all your strength. Nahum 2:1
When I first began to dabble in pills, I had no idea that I could be an addict and I was clueless about the coming consequences. By the time I started engaging in immoral, illegal behavior to get pills though, I knew the ramifications . . . and I did it anyway, because by that time, I was enslaved to the pill.
This is the definition of addiction, to repeatedly engage in some destructive behavior despite knowing or suffering significant consequences. I want to stop but I can’t! This isn’t just about drugs of course. When the pornography addict continues to engage in behavior that he knows will injure his marriage, that is addiction. When one continues to overeat, despite seeing the damage being done to his body, that is addiction.
In today’s passage, this is the condition in which the Old Testament city of Nineveh found itself. Jonah had previously preached the consequences of following their own way, and Nineveh repented. As the years passed though, apathy and laziness set in, and the people did what people do. They just naturally returned to their own destructive ways. Nineveh had been warned. Nineveh knew the consequences and Nineveh rebelled anyway.
To this, Nahum said, Enough. The destroyer is here. You can prepare, but it won’t matter. Your time has come.
I’ve been there. While using, I lived only for the moment. When life fell apart, I realized how horribly short-sighted that was. Regret and sorrow though, didn’t help me avoid the disaster, which came as sure as the dawn. In my misery, I went to God, asking what I must do to stop causing my own self-made misery. He said the only way to avoid following myself, was to daily make a genuine effort to abandon me and follow him.
This, not accidentally, is what Christ asks of all of us (Luke 9:23). If we want faith, recovery, and life, we must daily seek those things. We don’t naturally do them. We naturally live for now. To live as we were meant to, we must daily make an effort to abandon our self-destructive ways to follow the God who made us.