I have a small addiction. I admit it.
My drug of choice is coffee. A socially acceptable drug of course, fueled by my morning need for a boost of caffeine and my evening desire for a warm, relaxing, beverage.
Like most addicts, I have someone who enables me. My oldest daughter is a barista at the local Starbucks, which ensures me a great discount on prepared drinks and a constant supply of coffee beans.
Having this love for caffeine, specifically coffee, causes problems in my life. See, I don’t function properly without it first thing in the morning. In fact, my family would say I am downright grumpy until I have it. They would be right. They would also say they know not to approach me until the first cup is finished and I am nursing the second Again, they would be accurate.
The difficulties don’t end there, however. I need a pick-me-up cup of this elixir in the afternoon to get past the mid-day slump. And, midway through my evening meal I start craving my evening hit.
My one cup in the afternoon can quickly turn to two or more. My after dinner dose often becomes two or three. I once spent the late afternoon until evening taking down an entire pot by myself. Which, of course, led to a sleepless night of tossing and turning and vowing to cut back starting tomorrow.
Yes, there is some sarcasm in my words Perhaps someone reading this is enraged. “You really shouldn’t make light of addiction. It’s a terrible life destroyer!”
Trust me. I know. I’ve experienced it. I’ve seen the devastation and destruction addiction inflicts. But let’s be honest for a minute. We all have addictions. We all have things that tie us up inside. We can’t let them go. For some it is alcohol, drugs, pornography, shopping, food, social media (did I just say that?!?), anger, gossip, bitterness, jealousy…the list is endless. They are all addictions.
Addictions bring us back again and again. We experience something that is enjoyable, that gives us a rush, pleasure, security. It’s all false of course, and fleeting. And when the dam bursts from our addictive behavior, the destruction left behind will be hard to manage and take a long time to correct.
Most addiction I listed are socially acceptable. But is anything that is mastering us (or controlling us) really acceptable? We tend to gloss over those things that are socially acceptable because, hey, everyone is doing it. Or are they?
Maybe using my love for coffee makes this seem a bit irrelevant but sometimes you have to use something common to make a point, right?
We live in a culture that is mastering us on so many levels. It is not supposed to be this way. We are children of God, children of the light. Yet the darkness is pulling us in by the droves and we are accepting it because “everyone else is doing it,” therefore, it must be okay.
Culture is telling us how to think, how to behave, how to look, and how to react. It is telling us what is acceptable and what is not. It is showing us that to live Godly lives devoted to Christ is outdated, unfashionable, narrow-minded, and unintelligent.
But I don’t agree with the culture. In fact, I believe that to not question the world’s idea of wisdom, to go along with the flow for the sake of not rocking the boat, to believe something simply because it is popular thought, pushed by a celebrity, feels good, or seems right in our own eyes, is the more unintelligent thing.
Here is the truth: Jesus said that if we follow Him, we will have trouble. Life won’t be easy. Everything will not go our way. We won’t always be rich, well liked, loved by all, or popular. In fact, He said we would suffer. If the world hated Him who is our Master, why would it love us?
So, there’s that – we are addicted and mastered because we can’t handle rejection. There’s more to it though. We are also mastered by these feeble addictions because we can’t stand having a Master over us. With an addiction, we think we are in charge. We think we can stop when we want. We can change on a whim. We can’t – you can’t – I can’t.
Yet, we feel as if we are in control. We don’t want a Master (Christ) telling us to live a certain way, avoid certain things.
Yet our desire to be our own master has led us into addictions that leave us destitute in the end. Broken. Needy. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Disappointed…
With Christ as Master, the way we are told to live is not to kill our joy, but to keep us from harm. It is protective. It is caring and nurturing.
“This book of the law shall not depart from your moth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” ~ Joshua 1:8