Saturday, March 6, 2010

Partnering in Prayer - A Lenten Devotion - Day 17 - The Only Safe Addiction

Day 17 – Friday
The Only Safe Addiction

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?"
-Psalm 42:1-3

It’s been said that everybody’s addicted to something. You may not think you’re addicted to anything, but something drives you. Something has that first place in your life. Something is so valuable to you that you wouldn’t want to go on without it. For some, that addiction may be to a chemical like alcohol or ecstasy. For others, it may be an all-consuming, unhealthy relationship with someone who consumes the identity and threatens selfhood. You may be addicted to antiquing, to food, or to NASCAR. Cigarettes could be your thing, or sex, or sewing. Whatever takes first place in your life, that’s your addiction.

Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other (Matthew 6:24).” Everybody has a master. The question is what your master will be.

Some people struggle to break free of an addiction all their lives, because they never find the only safe addiction—an absolute devotion to God’s presence, found through prayer. The more you pray, the more God gets a hold of you. The more God grips you, the looser Satan’s bonds become. When the Son sets you free, then you are free indeed (John 9:36)! But Satan’s bonds won’t let go on their own. The One who is free indeed must then choose to once again enter into servitude. He must decide to become addicted again—but this time, addicted to Jesus.

You’re going to be addicted to something. That’s a fact. The addictions of the world hold you bound, but addiction to Jesus sets you free. Jesus is the only safe addiction, the only all-consuming fire that builds your soul rather than devouring it completely.

Some may say of the spiritual person, “She’s gone overboard!” or “He’s a real fanatic.” They may use words like “religious nut” or “Jesus freak.” But if my 100% devotion to Jesus breaks the bondages of unhealthy obsessions in my life, then I’ll take those kinds of labels with pride! I find myself addicted to prayer. The more I pray, the more I need it. The more Jesus has of my life, the more of me I give Him. It’s been said that “Either Jesus is Lord of all in my life, or He’s not Lord at all in my life.” And I think that’s true. He doesn’t want part of me—He wants my whole being.

As physical and emotional addictions are replaced by a dependency on Jesus, we become inwardly transformed. But not only that, but our bodies become liberated from the chemical and physiological slaveries they once had. As our souls are redeemed, so our bodies become redeemed, because the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses.

We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies…In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses (Romans 8:23, 26a).

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