Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Chapter 7

If the root of our problem is false worship, then the answer is knowing and worshipping the Lord.

The Bible doesn’t give us a method, it points us to a relationship with God. Principles and steps tend to be self-serving. A better goal is God’s glory.

Jesus has been domesticated. C.S. Lewis said that Aslan was a good lion, but he wasn’t safe. We misunderstand unconditional love. It came a huge cost: Jesus’ life, death, resurrection. We expect never to be scolded or reprimanded by him. He loves us very much and always will, but life isn’t just about us and what we want. He prefers the term “countercondional love” to “unconditional love” since God’s love for us is counter to what we deserve.

God is holy. We have lost a sense of God’s holiness and treat him as a normal friend. He expresses both holy love and a holy justice. He feels that we tend to be too open, too quick to voice our anger to God. It is my impression that the Psalms often bleed raw emotion, so I am not sure I agree about being too open with God – not sure it is possible. But I do believe he has a point that we treat God as common and tend to lose a sense of his holiness.

 An addiction views something else as more desirable and more important than God’s holy love and holy justice.

Great quote: “When principles or steps wander from Christ himself, they become self-serving guidelines. They make our marriages, families, friendships, and work go better, but the goal is our own betterment more than the glory of God. Yes, it is a good thing to align yourself with God’s way of living. There is a certain wisdom in it even when it is divorced from the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of Christ. But for God’s people, the motive should self-consciously be for Christ.”

Practical theology: Our question shouldn’t be “What works?” but rather “Whom do I worship?” We shouldn’t hang around Jesus as a fair-weather friend as long as we think he will make our lives better. We need to pursue a real relationship with him.

Why doesn’t God change us instantly? We don’t know, but one benefit is that it builds faith and trust. It causes us to say, “I need you” to him.

On a practical level, an addict believes lies about God. He believes that God doesn’t see all, doesn’t care, loves others but not the addict, reluctantly forgives, is far away. The addict should not assume that he or she knows Jesus. They should read the gospels. They should pray Eph 1:17-19, and read books like “Knowing God” by Packer, “Desiring God” by Piper, and books by Max Lucado.

Here is the Eph passage: 

17I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength…

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