Addictions

Everyone is addicted to something.  Too strong of statement?  Maybe.  Honestly though, I’m not sure that it is.  We humans are made to crave.  Addiction is an innate drive for something.  This innate drive leads to compulsive behavior.

According to Psychology Today, most addictive behavior is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues.  Rather, addiction is most commonly a reaction to emotional stress. Addiction is a wily vice.  It fools you into thinking that you are in control but in reality it’s dictating your life with an iron rule.

We’ve been created with a vacancy deep in our soul.  A vacancy that then instigates an insatiable craving.  A craving that God intends for us to fill with Him.  But instead we look everywhere else for satisfaction.

Think about it…what is it that you feel you can’t possibly do without?  Your phone, computer, movies, music, coffee, Mountain Dew, a caffeine fix, chocolate, food in general, shopping, words of affirmation, acceptance from your peer group, approval from your family, and the list could go on.  These things I just listed aren’t wrong in and of themselves but it’s when we need them in excess that the problem begins.  There’s both minor and major addictions.  The major addictions are things such as porn, sex, drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, gluttony, etc.

I’ve been battling a serious addiction for a couple of years.  At some points in the battle, I’ve been lackadaisical and cowardly; at other times I’ve been aggressively ambitious in fighting it.  Time and time again, I need to take myself to task.  How desperately I want to be free of my addiction determines how hard I fight against it.

The place of addiction can become comfortable and familiar.  It becomes our haven when life is too much to deal with.  Whatever our addiction may be, it becomes our god.  We turn to it instead of looking to God for help.  We then become self-sufficient.  We think we can handle life on our own and turn to our addiction anytime we feel the need for backup.  Addictions make us selfish because we focus more and more on how we can satisfy that craving.  Addiction when not dealt with becomes our master.

How would life change if we became “addicted” to good things?  Such as, God’s approval in our life, the Bible, reaching out to others, and seeking God in every aspect of our life.  How would my life be different if I would consistently fill my inner craving with God instead of other things?

With Faces Unveiled

This morning I read 2 Corinthians 3:18 “We all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”

With unveiled face – This is the prerequisite for being able to behold the glory of God.  Is my face unveiled?  What veils have I gathered to myself?  Why do I feel as though I need to veil my face in the presence of God’s glory?  More times than not, I have one of my veils in place when I come into God’s presence.  The veil of shame is the one most often present.  But I have other veils layered over my face.  Pride, self-sufficiency, doubt, unbelief, and indifference.  I mistakenly believe that if I hide behind my veils, God won’t see through my facades.  The veils don’t hinder God from seeing my heart and reading my mind.  The veils do hinder His permeating love and mercy.  They hinder His forgiveness and tender work in my heart.  I tell myself that I am too unworthy to behold His glory.  This is true if I try to approach Him on my own.  But Jesus extends to me the invitation to come boldly in His name before the Father.  In the previous verses, Paul tells us that the veil is caused by a hardened heart and closed mind but it can be removed only by believing in Christ.  Jesus is the only solution for removing these veils that seem to be etched into my face like irreversible tattoos.

Beholding the glory of the Lord – Do I take time to do this?  Or is all my time in His presence spent fighting against the removal of my “protective” veils?  What does it mean to me personally to behold God’s glory?  Once Jesus helps me remove those veils, do I lift up my eyes to behold God’s face or do I sit with downcast eyes in His presence?  God’s glory is life changing.  It transforms a person who spends time in His presence. The transformation is a slow process perhaps but all the same it is a measurable transformation according to this verse.  God longs to change us into the same image, an image that soaks up His glory and then reflects it to those around us.  Am I reflecting His glory or am I a distortion of it to those looking at my life?

I find it is one of the most challenging and yes, painful processes, this exercise of letting Jesus remove my self protection. And it seems when one layer comes off, He gently tugs at yet another layer, one that’s embedded even deeper than the one He just peeled away.  I long to better behold my Father’s glory and to learn to unveil my face in His presence and as I leave His presence to then authentically portray His image “from one degree of glory to another.”