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Monday, August 23, 2010

Addictions

I have been in ministry since I was 19 years old and was doing a youth ministry internship in Macon, Georgia. So, for the last 24 years, I've been exposed to the ins and outs, ups and downs of people. After all, that's what ministry is about--taking people from where they are to where they need to be in a relationship with God. While I've seen a lot of things, I think one of the most frustrating to deal with is an addiction. Any kind of addiction. It is amazing to me the power that things can have over us and our free will. Addictions come in all shapes and sizes--pornography, sexual, alcohol, drugs, power and prestige. These poisonous "love affairs" dig their claws into our hearts and are unrelenting in their desire to master us. But they can be broken.

This morning, it struck me that the root of all of our problems comes down to one very powerful addiction. The one we have for ourselves. It makes us think of ourselves too much and too highly. It places our rights above everyone else and causes the whole universe to revolve around our feelings (at least in our minds). It can make us do crazy things, forget the ones we love and, worst of all, turn our back on God.

I was drawn to two stories this morning that reminded me of this truth. In one, Jesus has to rebuke James and John for desiring to sit on his right and left in heaven. He reminds them that those who want to be great must become the least; they must be willing to serve others. In the second, Jesus is questioned about the greatest law by a teacher. Jesus wisely answers that the greatest law is to love God with everything we are...the second is to love others more than we love ourselves.

In short, Jesus said, "Get over yourself. This life is not about you." I know our culture teaches us (especially men) that we should be able to handle life alone, be tough and stand on our own two feet. Jesus said, "Lean on me. Trust me. Believe in me." I don't know about you but I've tried the "doing it on my own thing." I need something bigger than me. I need something that causes me to stand in awe, something that comforts me when I feel overwhelmed. Call me weak or spineless, but I need to know that God is enough for my life. I've tried the other addiction and it's not all it's cracked up to be.

Maybe today--maybe for the first time ever or in a long time--you need to pray, "God, help me to get over myself. Help me to move beyond my addiction to me. Help me to desire more of you and to think more of others."

The world would be a better place if we weren't so consumed with "number one."

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