Addicted America

With the recent vote on legalizing marijuana in Ohio it once again brings into sharp focus the addictive nature of the American society. Regardless of the spin that was used to get the vote out, the American society has an addiction problem. Research has placed marijuana on the lower end of the addiction scale with the higher end being drugs like cocaine and heroin. Even though marijuana is on the lower end of the scale it still has its addictive substance, THC. Compared to alcohol, marijuana is just as addictive, if not more so with today’s genetically engineered plants. Some people can live their entire lives without having any problems with drinking or smoking pot, but others will find themselves dependent if not addicted. People just want to escape from life’s pressures by getting high. We are constantly seeking a high to escape if just for a moment in order to feel good about ourselves and the lives we live. Our judgment at the very least is impaired when we use any mind altering substance. It’s like driving our cars after two beers. We can drive the car, but our judgment is impaired. It all reflects our lost condition; it shows our need for something meaningful within our lives. This addictive nature of the American society is not limited to alcohol and drugs it reaches even deeper into the depth of the soul.   Sexual addictions, pornography, gambling, and the like show the reaches of Satan’s deception and the void in our souls.

This same addictive mindset is creeping into the church. It is much more subtle, but it is still finding its way into our congregations and our thinking is becoming increasingly worldly. We say that Jesus turned the water into wine as a justification for getting mellow or even stoned. This is not a correct interpretation of Jesus’ miracle at all. The miracle of turning the water into wine is about being changed and becoming new. It is true a glass of wine will not send you to hell and even Paul encourages it for medicinal purposes. A beer will not bring down God’s wrath on you. My concern is the way we as believers justify our views and manipulate scripture for our own selfish pleasures when God is calling us to a higher standard.

That higher standard is holiness. The call to holiness is about being pure and available to God. As a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection our salvation is costly. Jesus died for our sins. We are not our own, we have been bought with a price, Jesus’ death (1 Cor 6:19-20). Our bodies belong to the Lord and for His use. We are a temple unto the Lord in which His spirit dwells. Whatever we eat or drink is to glorify God in our bodies. This changes the way we view our bodies, we are an instrument unto the Lord. Having a party buzz on, getting high or stoned does not glorify God in your body. It brings harm to the temple of God. How can we worship in spirit and truth when we are coming down from a high? How can we be like minded in the church when our judgments are impaired? Are we not still behaving worldly? Where is the separated life unto the Lord? Where is our sanctification? We are to give our bodies one hundred percent unto the Lord for His use. Holiness is about being physically fit to be used of God.  

We are called to have a holy mind. We may not be able to control every thought that runs through our minds, but we can take captive every thought and make it obedient (2 Cor 10:5-6). The ability to take captive every thought is critical to our walk of faith. The way we think and process decisions determines our walk of obedience. Job has said “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” (Job 31:1). Apostle Paul said “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things” (Phil 4:8). There comes a time in our obedience that we must take responsibility for the way we think. Our fantasies, desires, lust, envy, jealousies and the like must come under the control of the Holy Spirit. To take responsibility for our thoughts starts with surrendering them to the Lord. We need to be honest with ourselves that our thoughts don’t always reflect the glory of God. Viewing porn, fantasizing about a relationship, being jealous of another is all a part of our fleshly nature. We must crucify the old man and allow the new man to take control of our lives. How can we hear what the spirit of God says when our minds are fogged in with lust and desire? How can we have sound judgments when our thinking is selfish? To be a disciple of Christ our minds must be at His disposal. We have been given the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). Being in the mind of Christ has little to do with one’s intellectual ability, but more about our sense of worth and identity in Christ. We need clear minds and sound bodies to be used of God. Peter writes “Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray” (1 Peter 4:7 NIV).

For the holiness journey to be complete we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. The human spirit is our identity, our personhood, and our character combined. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we are the same person but sanctified. The Holy Spirit brings you ever increasing into a relationship with God the Father. Your moral center becomes pure love because God is Love. Godly character is both love and justice, both grace and truth. Your whole disposition changes, your perspective of life is heaven ward, and God is being gloried through you all because of pure love. You are a vessel for the Kingdom of God. You are God’s workmanship, created to do good works, prepared in advance for you.

To be holy before the Lord means that your body, mind and spirit belong to Him. You are placing yourself in a position to clearly hear Gods voice speaking in your life. You are ready to respond to His call to serve. You are physically ready to give to His full service. You are above reproach. You become a living testimony and witness in your body, mind and spirit.

I don’t want anything to cloud my judgment and faith. I want control over my life and body. I want my walk of faith to glorify God. I want my witness beyond reproach. Paul tells us that anything that does not come from your faith experience with the Lord Jesus Christ is sin (Romans 14:23). Basically it’s telling us that our body, minds and spirit are to be His. I don’t need to get a buzz on or to get high to escape life and its responsibilities; my life is full and meaningful. I want to live life fully conscious of the presence of God within me.

 

“Everything is permissible for me”-but not everything is beneficial.

“Everything is permissible for me”-but I will not be mastered by anything.

1 Cor 6:12-13

Love, Pastor Jeff