Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ultimate Compulsion

If you've ever watched someone you love walk through an addiction or experienced one yourself you know how terrible they can be.  Earth shatteringly difficult.  All consuming.  Life controlling.

By the grace of God I've never experienced a major addiction, but there are times I've had to tell myself more than once to shop 'bargain' shopping, stop eating more than what I really need, stop staying up too late at night reading.  We can all relate and I'm sure you can add a few of your own!  Small compulsions that could easily become an addiction.

It seems that part of our human condition is addiction and compulsive behavior, a weakness because we are often drawn to things that harm us. Seems like I've been hearing One Republic's song "Counting Stars" everywhere I go lately.  The chorus says:

I-I-I-I-I feel something so right 
Doing the wrong thing
I-I-I-I-I feel something so wrong
Doing the right thing
I could lie, couldn't I, could lie
Everything that kills me---makes me feel alive.

Sounds familiar?  Paul says the same and sums us up here:

"I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  I want to do what is right, but I can’t.  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it."   (Romans 7:15-20)

Yup, human nature and sin that harms us have been around for a looong time.

What would happen, however, if we could turn our compulsion towards Him?  If HE becomes our greatest desire, our passion, our source of survival?  I hate how this is so hard when negative compulsions are so easy.  But it seems that we usually have to fight for anything truly worthwhile.......

We don't have to be controlled by our compulsions.  Someone who struggled with addictions once told me that he had to, "Live harder for God than I ever lived for the world," to overcome his addictions.  It's hard to go against the thing that "makes me feel alive," momentarily for the thing that will actually make me alive for eternity.  We have to go against how we feel to change how we act. 

Kay Warren said, "What we think determines how we act, and how we act determines how we feel.  I was operating on the belief that I needed to feel differently before I could think differently.  But the formula is reversed.  Our thinking changes first, our actions come next, and our feelings follow."  

Think-Act-Feel.  The battle is in our mind.

"Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart."
(Ps. 37:4)

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

If we delight ourselves in Him, then He will be our delight and the desire of our heart.  And we will have what we desire-----Him.  It's not a 'God will just give me what I want' scenario, it's our hearts changing to what will truly satisfy us.  Filling the deepest parts of us with something that will LAST.

Any other compulsion or addiction is a shallow, hollow copy not even worth our time.  

"For the Lord your God is living among you.  He's a mighty savior.  
He will take delight in you with gladness.  
With his love, he will calm all your fears...."  (Zeph. 3:17)

"...I still belong to you;  you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
I desire you more than anything on earth."
My heart may fail, and my spirit grow weak, 
but God remains the strength of my heart;
he is mine forever."  (Ps. 73:23-26)

Be our desire. Ours forever. Our biggest compulsion.  Our greatest joy.