Without raising your hand, how many of these have you (or someone you know) engaged in or still do? Alcohol * Cigarettes * Drug Use for Recreational or Altered-States Purposes * Money Lust * Food Lust * Porn Lust * Sex Lust * Gotta-Have-More-Stuff Lust * Workaholic * Fears Most People Don’t Have * Avid or Excessive Follower of Music, Movies, Sports, Famous People, News Pundits, etc. * Passive-Aggressive Behaviors * Co-Dependency of Any Kind * Above-Normal Need for Approval and or Acceptance * New Age Practices . . .
. . . on and on, including all the way down, into the depths of depravity some venture or tumble headlong into, intentionally or not. Because, you see, a corrupt existence, whatever the corruption may be, is miserable, so we will seek to fill ourselves with anything that distracts, numbs, or makes us feel in control of something, even if negative, even if it robs us of something worthwhile—and it will.
Addict: a person physically or psychologically dependent on some habit; an ardent supporter.
Idol: any object of ardent or excessive devotion or admiration; a false notion or idea that causes errors in thinking or reasoning; anything that has no substance but can be seen; an impostor.
Addictions and idols start out in our lives as a doorknob turned, a threshold crossed, and a descent begun. They fill an empty space in us, but only as long as their immediate and residual effects last. After that, we’re empty again. From a Harvard Medical School article, “How addiction hijacks the brain,” we read: “The word ‘addiction’ is derived from a Latin term for ‘enslaved by’ or ‘bound to.’As the article points out, we become enslaved or bound as the biochemistry of our brain gets rewired. And, once again—yes, I’m going there—Satan has succeeded in diminishing the image of God we are created in. Satan is the great purveyor/pusher of spiritual junk food.
From Carl Gallups’ book, Masquerade, we read: “…Jung…labeled alcohol addiction as partly caused by ‘the spiritual thirst of our being, for wholeness…the union with God…. Guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.” Gallups goes on to state that the ultimate outcome of addiction is a reassignment of what has supreme value in a person’s life to something else. I add this includes idols as well, as the two are interlinked in the way they pull our attention from what really deserves our focus. First and foremost is or should be our Lord God and the worthy life and true, eternal worth we get from Him, and only through Him.
In Paul E. Billheimer’s book, Destined for the Throne, under the accurate sub-header TOO BUSY TO PRAY, he wrote: “No angel was ever invited to share this high privilege. No archangel was ever invited into the throne room of the universe. Only redeemed humanity. And many of us are too busy—watching television, following sports, hunting and fishing, bathing and boating, engaging in farming or business. We are so busy with the cares and pleasures of this life, trying to keep up with trends in new cars, new homes, new appliances, new furniture, that we do not have time to pray.”
Ever tried to get the attention of a loved one focused on a sports event or in a chemically induced stupor? Welcome to a measure of Father God’s experience with us much of the time. Too many of us have a “foul-weather” relationship with Him. We’re like teens who want little interaction with parents, and have meager attention to give them when there are “flashier things and others” vying for our attention and misplaced devotion. That’s how it goes, until that moment we need to be rescued or remembered. Then those (or the One) we had no use for is who we need, at least for that moment. What kind of relationship is this?
But, you may say, Who has time for God when there’s so much happening in our country and world today?! That sentiment is a sign that Satan is winning at consuming the quality of our lives and relationship with our Lord and Redeemer. Satan, who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, tempts us with addictions and idols that deplete us. Our Lord Jesus redeems us from that downward-spiral prison.
During these covid-driven, quality-of-life-affecting months (it’s mid-October 2020 as I write this), those with eyes to see and ears to hear have observed how many of our idols and addictions are junk food, a false substitute for what genuinely nourishes us. Some fell deeper into that deceptive miasma, and desperately need our prayers. Some, once their attention was diverted, sat up and took notice of what they’d given too much of themselves to that wasn’t worth it. They saw what could be lost if they didn’t shift their attention to who and what is important. They realized that while too many have spent hours out of touch with God, the Adversary got serious about taking up squatters rights in our country, our families, and our lives.
Redemption begins with prayer. S. D. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” People often quote 2 Chronicles 7:14, but omit what’s in verse 13, and what God said we need to do before He’ll hear our prayers, which is as follows: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” And, in Matthew 13:15 NIV, Jesus says, “For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise, they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
Serving God, especially through prayer, leaves little room for addictions and idols, which Jesus will heal us of, if we ask Him. We can be victors, through Yeshua/Jesus, over the Adversary. May our Father God fulfill His will for you and bless you as only He knows how.