Listen, I know this is hard stuff to hear. It’s hard for me. This morning, there was a fog over the room. A malaise, heaviness. Why is that? Why is this so hard to hear, so hard to fight through, so hard to face? Because you live in a world a war and you have two enemies fighting you on this. Satan doesn’t want you dealing with your addictions and your flesh is going to fight you at every step along the way. But Jesus is triumphant. He walked out of the tomb and, as a believer, He is restoring you.
So why fight it? Because these things limit you. They limit all you can accomplish and all you can enjoy as a son of God. He has so much more He wants for you but you’re going to have to give some things up. Abraham was asked to give up his one and only son, Isaac – to sacrifice him on an alter. Abraham was obedient to the end and did exactly what God asked of him. God stopped him and a ram was offered up as a substitute for Isaac … but … Abraham was willing. He was willing to give it all up. And because of his obedience and his faith, God said this to him, “Because you have not withheld your only son, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of Heaven.” (Gen 22)
There is nothing wrong with the beauty of Eve. To delight and enjoy in the beauty of your wife, that’s a good thing. A fine meal, a great hobby, the glorious beauty of nature, a sunset, time alone in the woods … all these things are good things. Sex within the confines of a marriage, what a wonderful gift that is! The things themselves are fine, it’s what we do with them that can be the problem. We can easily take a good thing, distort it and make it “the thing”. Stay with me on this…
I read this morning from Paul David Tripp’s excellent devotional “New Morning Mercies” … he gave an example of a family trip to Disney World and he wonders what it would be like to stop at the “Disney 120 miles” sign along the Interstate. Would that suffice for the real thing? He says we do this all the time …
“There is one thing that you know for sure – the sign is not the thing. The sign was created to point you to the thing. The sign cannot give you what the thing can deliver. The sign can only point you to where the thing can be found. So it is with the physical glories of creation. Here’s what you need to know – only two types of glory exist – sign glory and ultimate glory. Sign glory is all the wondrous display of sights, sounds, colors, textures, tastes, smells and experiences of the physical world that God created. These glories were not designed to satisfy your heart. They were not made to give you contentment, peace, meaning and purpose. They have no capacity to give you life. Earth will never be your savior. Rather, all of creation was designed to be one big sign that points you to the One of ultimate glory who alone has the power to give you life and to satisfy your heart. God alone is able to give you life. He alone is able to give rest to your searching heart. He designed his world to point to him, not to replace him. (read Psalm 19)
Where will you look for life today? Will you live like the father having his vacation next to the “Disney 120 miles” sign along the highway or will you run to where the sign points? It really is true that your heart will only be satisfied when it finds its satisfaction in Him.”
And to the point above about all these worldly pleasures we can enjoy, too many of us have turned to them for life. I may not officially be an addict to booze – or – to sex – or – to lust – or – to the need for approval from others – or – to money/success – or – to control. I may not be “addicted” to these but am I relying upon them? Depending on them? Are they (or others) what provides me relief from a long week at work? Do I hit one or more of them from time to time when I need to draw upon something to sustain me?
We get into trouble when we shift our focus on these things and we start needing them as our life source. We get into trouble if we find ourselves, more and more, needing to be entertained by these things. As the pressure mounts, as the bills come, as the demands at work grow, as my family needs more and more of me … what am I drawing upon for “life”?
I’ve asked you to ask yourself and the Father, “Where am I weak?” Yes, do that. But also, how about, “On what am I dependent?” and “What do I draw upon for life?”
I’ll just pause here and leave you with this one thought…