Love Like an Addict
If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15
In my addiction, I pursued the object of my addiction – the drug – above all else. I sacrificed everything to get the one and only thing I desperately desired. My family, my faith, and my career all took a back seat as my addiction assumed control of my life. When I could use, I used. When I couldn’t use, my brain was obsessed with my next use. I was absolutely devoted to the drug, worshipping it as a god, above all else.
It was a false god though. Sure, it led to brief pleasure, but it never satisfied for long and when the high wore off, there was always a terrible price to pay. My false god promised fulfillment but, in the end, robbed me and my loved ones of life, joy, and peace.
Though I loved and lived for a false god, my devotion was still impressive. In today’s passage, Jesus said it’s this kind of radical commitment that I must have for him and his commandments. If I claim to believe in Christ, then I must follow his way above all else. Just as I once pursued the drug, letting nothing stand in my way, I now must pursue Jesus and his words. I should love and follow him, just as I once loved and followed my addiction.
Following the drug – or any self-destructive behavior – is the exact opposite experience of following Christ. Where the drug leads only grief and misery, Jesus promises eternal, authentic life. Where the drug enslaves, he promises freedom. Where following our way leads to pain, destruction and anguish, Christ’s path leads to peace, joy, and hope.
Very much unlike the drug, God never enslaves. He never forces me to follow his path. The drug, like a cancer, metastasized throughout my mind, taking control, but God asks that I continually choose to follow him. He derives pleasure from my volitional obedience and so, he never forces me into servitude. God’s way is the opposite of my way. So, If I’m sick of the misery of my way, I must abandon it to follow his.
Daily, if we want to know life and joy, instead of death and pain, we must make the conscious choice to radically follow Christ. It may sound odd, but we must learn to love God as the addict loves the drug.