There Is Life Beyond Drugs

Have you been to a church service where the praise songs that are sung for God are all actually not about God but about those who sing it, in which God is just their servant who takes care of their needs and their troubles, who makes life even easier and more comfortable than they truly deserve? The testimonies are not about what God does to advance his Kingdom but about how God helped them to enjoy life even better! If you look deeper into such an attitude you will quickly see that the people are the kings and the real King himself is their servant!

The Lord is my servant I shall not want.

He makes me to sit down again and again in the church pews,

to warm up the chairs…

You dress up nice and go to church on a Sunday morning, sit somewhere in the back and wait for the program to start. Sometimes it takes a while for the soul, spirit and emotions to join in the flow. But then comes this cool song that just has the right melody and rhythm, that kindles your emotions. You like it, you stand up, close your eyes and mumble the song quietly. By the end of the song you feel so close to God, you even dare to lift up your hands as you sing. Then comes the next song, eyes still closed, you feel your heart flow with love, awe and honor, at the same time you feel so small, unworthy and undeserving. But somewhere in between, you have reached God’s presence and you feel God impart in you that what you’ve been longing for. Right then the intimate time alone with God during the congregational fellowship ends because it is now time to hear the sermon.

Being made to be prepared for 45 minutes to come into the presence of God, you sit there listening to the sermon. Sometimes you wonder that the pastor has his head somewhere hidden in the clouds that he doesn’t know anymore the realities of life. And yet you try to listen because at some point he is going to give a clue on how to live a victorious life in Jesus. You write down those points, happy that the sermon is over, think about the chicken and the potatoes in the oven, greet your fellow Christians, thank the pastor for the good sermon and head towards a restaurant or your dining table. Physically, spiritually, emotionally your tank is full and you are ready for the week to begin.

It is now Monday. You are still on high from the Sunday-drug. You now know for sure that God  knows you , he knows your struggles, he loves you still, he is faithful and he will not let you down. Now you want to show your loyalty to him after all that experience yesterday. You try to digest some of its practicality in real life. You are scared about what your co-workers would think of you if you share them your incredible experience yesterday. So you take time to pray and think about it. You ask God to open doors to speak to your co-workers. You tell God that he will please somehow save them sometime soon, that your friends will somehow find Jesus. If you are daring you may even ask Jesus to give you courage to tell them about him.

Tuesday: You gather all your courage during lunch break and hesitantly open up a topic that  might hopefully lead at the end to talk about God. Usually you sense a bit later than your friends, how this is all gonna end. You find yourself right smack in the middle of a spiritual battle field, you are attacked, you hurt, but you don’t give up that easily. You try again, because this is exactly what the pastor had preached two days ago. You go home, ask your wife and children to pray with you, for you, for your friends.

Wednesday: You are back at the office and you see this smirk that tries to hide on your co-workers faces. You hear some nudging comments thrown on your way. But you are a Christian, you bear all the insults, you behave good, you keep some distance but you are ready to help when they need you. Within you is turmoil. You don’t understand why these people ignore God, why they think they don’t need God to save them while they can save themselves. You know their life is a mess and you have the remedy, but they don’t see the need for it. Somehow you are discouraged and disappointed. You start to doubt the sermon from last Sunday, the emotional meter is dropping too. And the effects of the Sunday-drug fades.

Thursday: You remember Jesus and how he was rejected by his own people. And how he sacrificed himself for man kind. You remember his sufferings, you even identify with him. So you are in a way sad and yet rejoice in your sufferings for Jesus.

Friday: No signs of fruit yet, you are in pain, the co-workers have rejected you and the work-week is coming to an end. You feel guilty, you doubt your faith, you think God is mad at you and you need to earn his love. Tired and longing for the Sunday-drug you enter the weekend.

Saturday: Deprived of hope and confidence, you help with family chores, take an afternoon walk, watch a family movie, eat a healthy meal and go to bed, longing for the Sunday-drug.

Sunday:  You dress up nice and go to church on a Sunday morning, sit somewhere in the back and wait for the program to start. Sometimes it takes a while for the soul, spirit and emotions to join in the flow. But then comes this cool song that just has the right melody and rhythm, that kindles your emotions. You like it…

Deep down, your conscience tells you this can’t be all it. But you don’t know the way out. You need the weekly dose of drug that stretches you away from God and pulls you back again like an elastic band. Your forefathers were conditioned like this before and now you. You wonder if there is a way to get out of this addiction. Somehow through someone, it is whispered to you that there is an alternative. You secretly go there to find it out. You sit there, listen and get this fresh breath of air, something new, something different, something that turns you on. You go back home and the routine sets in. You realize that without the Sunday-drug, you can’t make it through the week.

You know you fear to admit: “Hi, my name is Christian, and I am an addict.”

Would you like to share with us your story, how you found life beyond Sunday-drugs?

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2 comments

  1. Excellent thoughts.

    The problem seems to be that church is doing its best to implant the members with mechanisms of christianity that they should learn in their heads and go and practice in order to appear like christians should.

    However the method leaves the individual christian as a non-performing member in some sort of religious charade.

    Jesus said, “I only do what I see my father doing”.- Present tense!

    He didn’t say, “I only did what I thought my Father might have wanted me to do”

    The church Of Jesus Christ, the members of His Body have totally lost touch with the Head of the Body!

    There are now so many alternative heads in each and every church building. We can take our pick of the ones which give us the best feel-good factor, and make our lives feel easier.

    Why try to hear the voice of an invisible head, (Jesus), when we can look just as christian as is necessary and hear a visible head, (pastor) speaking just along the road.

    Maturity is hearing and doing what the father asks of us. The idea of actually hearing God’s voice would be beyond “belief” to most “believers”.

    The idea of hearing him, outside the confines of a religious structure, talking about the realities of, say, how to fix your car, or where to get the next business contract or pay your tax bill would be a total none starter for them.

    How can we do what he asks when we don’t know his voice.

    The church as we know it is the biggest obstacle in christianity to actually hearing and therefore serving God . Going to church simply makes christians think they have paid their dues to God for the week.

    That’s why I left!

    I might add, that trying to walk close to God, discerning his voice, actually got me thrown out of or totally gagged in several churches before I got the hint and did what God had been saying for ages! Walk away, walk with me.

  2. RE: The Religion Drug

    This note is and is and is not about the religion drug. Its really about battles and transformations. Hang with me a second and I will explain.

    I have been struggling with what is really going on in this world for a while now and I think I am getting close to something that seems to me like a tsunami of good news for this world. There is a battle going on and the battle itself is working to prove something very important. In fact the battle has already been fought and won. The battles we are in now (pick your poison) are just echoes of that battle. You see in the garden of Eden we asked for an education. Its only righteous that we get it. If we don’t look closer at what happened to Israel we are skipping class. Ezekiel helps sort this out.

    Ezekiel tells us God knows the end from the beginning. We know that he chose the Jews/Israel and he did bless them and we know that the nations of the earth will be blessed through them but what is coming next is the mystery about how this will happen (is happening). Because we haven’t looked closely enough at this, we ourselves, the ones that should be the first fruit have ourselves gone into exile, still being fed and cared for but in exile indeed.

    He chose the jews to prove something (or some things) very important. Man cannot make it on their own. The Jews were given every possible opportunity. He culled them out and isolated them from interference, made his presence known beyond a shadow of a doubt and yet they still turned away. He had to know they would turn away. Just as John said, he knew what was in a man. If you threw a bunch of people in a dark room you know they are going to skin their legs. Do you really think God did not know what would happen? It couldn’t turn out any other way could it?

    The laws he gave them were good in the sense that any good person would follow them; they were bad in the sense that they can not change a human (in case you don’t get this part, a human is not good). Since his requirement IS to create something good, then in that sense the laws were bad; he knew they could not meet this requirement. But they were useful to that end (as a step towards the end). That is why Ezekiel says in chapter 20 “I myself gave them over to laws that were no good” and yet Jesus says anyone who breaks the least of my commands will be the least in the kingdom. Before you say “how is this fair?”, remember what we asked for in the garden of Eden, remember that the steps to the final outcome are not nearly as important as the outcome (the blessings on the world promised to Abraham) and if that doesn’t help just try to have faith that he is fair and this will all work out nicely and fairly (he seems to favor righteousness and mercy as his name). The bottom line is laws can’t change our nature because we can’t change our nature, but by trying to follow the law our nature is/was exposed. This had to be proved and it had to be learned or else in the end we would say “this was not fair, you did not give us a fair chance”. But did we learn? Look about you.

    Paul explained the new way in Romans 7. But its hard to hear. What we most often hear from Romans is (paraphrasing) “what I want to do I do not and what I do not want to do that I do”. Let me say this another way, the way I think we often hear this. “This is the way its going to be…I’m going to continue to struggle with sin”. But Paul was not consoling us. He was describing what it is like being under the law. We have to ask ourselves hard questions when we feel this way (like we are constantly still struggling). Why hasn’t Jesus rescued us? We have to reject as false the idea that we are going to struggle with this until we die (that is until our bodies are quickened). We will find delight in weakness but the delight now is not what we think. Its the delight that the hammer feels when it sees the nail. Its the delight in purpose. The delight when we see bad changed to good. Are we not baptized into Jesus? Then are we not dead already? And if dead to sin then how can we still be slaves to sin? This is why Jesus says “Remain in me and I will remain in you”. We have been duped with substitutes and magic cookies, religion, and idolatry, all clever substitutes for the transformation (the victory) Jesus won.

    So the good news comes in looking at what happed to the jews so we don’t recreate that same problem. The good news to the world is to look at the jews, understand that if they couldn’t do it then none of us can do it either. When the world looks at the jews now, the world sees yet another religion and yet another claim on a special relationship with God. This it true in a sense but in His craftiness, its true in a way that is actually appealing to the world when shown truthfully. The Jewish experience will bless the world when the world (the part of the world that is not of the world, the part he has chose already) sees that the Jewish way is the way of world and was done in a way the world can never top.

    That jewish experience proved that we can’t get there on our own. In a real sense, the Jews worshiped at the same temple the world worships at now; the temple of human effort. And by showing the world that the Jews did what they did it in a way that could not be improved upon, the world can understand that their own ways will not work either.
    But I still haven’t said anything about Drugs or Religion have I? Or haven’t I?

    Drugs are a manufactured heaven (e.g. human effort raises it ugly head again). Religion is a manufactured Drug with an overcoat that has the appearance of heavenly things. Read Hebrew 8. If this was true for the “pattern” of the things reveal by God to Moses (that the pattern was a shadow) then how much more so are many of the Christian religious practices today that are themselves fashioned after the Jewish practices (they are also fashioned after many other Pagan practices, further darkening the shadow). But now I’m getting sticky and I don’t want to. This is not where I am going. Let me continue with the good news.

    We know there is only one way and that way is the “I will do this myself” way that Ezekiel talked about in chapter 34. Jesus does the work. Our work is to follow him, to expect to be transformed and to die with him. And when we don’t see the transformation, we have to cry out, to appeal to him to rescue us (remember Ezekiel 34 “I will search out the lost”). Jesus is the only answer. He is the “I” in Ezekiel We must accept no substitute; no emotion, no feeling, no religion; these are just shadows, smoke and mirrors. They have the resemblance of truth but are empty. All of these are man-made and are all golden calves, constructed at the temple of human effort.

    The part that then tingles my brain is that He consistently chooses to do and reveal and create and heal and search out THROUGH what looks like human effort. That is, through the actions, dreams, thoughts, prayers, hands and feet of his people. To me this is the Coup De Gras. Humility and purpose reigns on high. The king-servant, serves his people. ACTUALLY servers them, not by taking orders from them or feeding their selfish desires but by transforming them and letting them demonstrate their transformation through their actions. The master teacher both teaches by example and by letting the student learn through practice. He came as the example and now stands by our side humbly transforming us as we get to participate in his transforming of the world.

    “This is the Lords doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

    Thanks for letting me get this out of my heart and into words. I felt like I was going to explode. Usual disclaimers apply (we all know in part in prophesy in part so I apologize in advance if there are major flaws in what I am seeing and saying). I need your help in working out the fine print.

    Hope to hear your thoughts.

    Cheers,
    David

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