We are creatures of habit and we grow fond of what is familiar to us.
I have a few theories on habits and addictions.
About 5 years ago I gave up soda for an entire month. Which was hard for me because I drank soda all the time. After skateboarding, tons of exercise or with whatever meal. My body craved it. When I was thirsty my mind thought “soda”. Makes sense, it’s all I drank. It’s all that my body knew. So when I got rid of it for a month, I drank so much more water. It was like a soda detox, I started feeling more hydrated. With soda, it would quench my thirst for a while, but then I’d come back even more thirsty. So eventually, that month with no soda trained my mind to think “water” when I was thirsty, because it was familiar to me. It was the most recent drink that satisfied that particular craving so my mind told my body to get water. Water is in soda, but there is also so much more stuff, including sodium, that eventually dehydrates. So it will wet your whistle, but it won’t cure what ales ya.
(this isn’t an anti-soda blog).
Sometimes we eat stuff and say “that really hit the spot”. I believe a lot of times that spot is your body longing for a certain vitamin or mineral because it’s in need of it and when we eat something that contains that it’ll satisfy us. This isn’t always the case, but it certainly has been for me. Once I was on a tour with a band and after being in closed quarters in the van, I really started craving orange flavors. I knew that it was my body telling me it needed vitamin C because I felt like I was slowly getting sick, so I bought an orange and a ton of orange juice and it really hit the spot. I think, because my immune system was running out of ‘ammo’ to do it’s job right. I think fruits like strawberries and apples are natures candy and when we crave sweets, it’s really our body craving the sugars that it needs. Since fruits aren’t as convenient, we go for a sweet similar to that fruit. So our body craves the sugars in a strawberry and we eat skittles and my guess is we trick our brains into thinking it got what it needed. Or our brains start remembering skittles as the extent of obtaining sugars so the next time it needs them, it tells you “eat skittles”. Because your brain doesn’t remember getting those sugars any other way.
(this isn’t a pro-fruit blog).
Sometimes when we get lonely or just want to hang out with some people we’ll check Facebook, see what everybody is up to, hopefully to find something to do with everyone. Without knowing it, a few hours have went by and we get a small sense of hanging out with people so we can go to bed, close but not fulfilled in the way we needed human interaction that particular day. The next time we are lonely, we go back to whatever helped the last time we were and we get in a cycle.
(this isn’t an anti-social networking blog).
We kind of are like someone that needed money, went to his car ashtray first, before going to his wallet to get money and then the next time he needs money, he goes to his car ashtray, because it had money the last time. When really he could be getting the amount he needed from his wallet. Soda has water in it, skittles have sugars and even vitamins in them, facebook has friendships in them and car ashtrays do have money in them. But my point is, we aren’t going to the source, the cure for our need. We are settling for the first thing that starts to cure it, for a time. I believe we have only short term memory when it comes to cravings, we crave the most recent things that have scratched that itch. Even though, like soda it’ll just make us more thirsty, or with skittles it’ll make us need vitamins more, or with ashtrays it won’t pay our bills.
When you start training your body by eating carrots and strawberries regularly. You actually start to enjoy them. Then eventually you even like them more than the artificial alternatives.
I think this happens all the time with sin and God. Satan does a great job at making God look like the enemy and sin look like our friend. I’ve recently been realizing this in my own life. I was praying yesterday “I don’t see you as a friend anymore, I miss that”. I used to pray because I enjoyed it, not because I felt obligated or that God was mad at me. The more I sin, the more I start seeing God as this guy in the clouds that is mad at me. But the more I seek God the more I realize how wrong that is. I don’t think it’s possible for God to be appealing to us at the same time we find sin appealing. The Bible says “you can’t serve two masters” and that “if you love the world, the love of God is not in you”. When you enjoy sin and find it appealing, you might think you also enjoy God, but I think Satan is allowing you to have a distant admiration for Him instead of a deep love for Him.
(this is a blog about God)
God is the water that quenches our thirst, the vitamins that give us strength and the friend that gives us comfort we just have been settling for the first thing that starts to scratch our itch, the artificial substitutes that contain parts of good, but avoid it completely. Whatever is most convenient.
I realize now that God wants us to stop sinning, for a lot of reasons that stem in love, but one of them is because it’s a cheap substitute for what He has for us and also because it makes us see him as a nasty carrot. Instead of if we come to Him for nourishment, we start seeing everything else as stuff that will give us a stomach-ache or make us weak after time.
In Luke 15:11-31 Jesus gives the story of the prodigal son. A famous story about a son that leaves his wealthy father to pursue luxury on his own, and then becomes broke and after time passes, starts considering eating what the pigs eat, the longer he is away from his father, the more afraid and ashamed he gets of returning to him (just my speculation), eventually the son returns and the father rejoices and celebrates with a feast of a fatted calf.
I used to think that this parable was for long-term rebellion. People that have walked away from the faith and eventually came back, how God rejoices in that. Which I believe is true. But I think it’s also about short term rebellion. Us walking away from God by pursuing sin and coming back in repentance that day or week. God rejoices and welcomes us with a fatted calf. I’m really starting to believe that God has a fatted calf ready for every time I will screw up, for every time my heart wanders from Him. If I’m going to sin, God forbid, 3,000,004 times in my life, God has 3,000,004 fatted calfs ready to welcome me each time. What a beautiful Gospel!
We leave God every time we sin, but to avoid facing him, we consider feeding with the pigs. Sin very much separates us from God, not because God walks away, but because we think that God can’t forgive us or whatever else, it makes God look less approachable, less desirable, less accurate to how He really is. I think that is one of the many reasons God hates it.
Sin is like a person that gossips about a good friend of yours. The more you hang out with the gossip, the more inaccurately you see your friend and eventually the more you start hating your friend, thinking he isn’t loving, thinking he is unjust or mean or whatever else. Then when your good friend says “hey, you should consider not hanging out with that gossip, it’s affecting our relationship” we start saying “that gossip was right, you are mean and over-controlling!” and your friend might say “you should stop hanging out with that gossip because of how it’s making you treat other people and how it’s taking away your joy and everything else” and we again go “I knew you’d say something like that, you don’t even care about me”.
Sin is the gossip that is affecting our relationships and especially our relationship with God. And Satan is doing a hell of a job making sin look appealing and God less appealing that when God commands us to love, we just get more angry at him.
We’re a bunch of fools. Lord have mercy on us.
“Father forgive us, for we know not what we do…”
(cool stuff that joel shared and i benefited from. Amen, indeed.)