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Christ Loves

 

Jesusís Love is the Drug for Me


Some may say what a horrible analogy this is, but it is my personal experience.

One line in the bible I often like to refer to is:

ECC 8:15 - So I commend the enjoyment of life, because nothing is better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany him in his work all the days of the life God has given him under the sun.

ECC 2:24 A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, [25] for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

ECC 3:12 I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. [13] That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.

The way Iíve broken down and interpreted this is that the drinking is from the Spirit* of God or Jesus, and the eating is of the Word of God.

Take, for example, where Paul says:

1CO 3:1 Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly--mere infants in Christ. [2] I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

HEB 5:11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. [12] In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! [13] Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. [14] But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Or we can take other parts of the bible where it compares the Word of God as food:

EZE 3:3 Then he said to me, "Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it." So I ate it, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth.

PR 4:20 My son, pay attention to what I say;

listen closely to my words.

PR 4:21 Do not let them out of your sight,

keep them within your heart;

PR 4:22 for they are life to those who find them

and health to a man's whole body.

When I havenít read or heard the word of God for a while, I truly did feel like my soul was becoming starved for Godís food. And when I havenít eaten Godís word, I feel like Iím lacking the Spirit. It feels like it is waning away and the darkness of the past, when I was not filled with the Spirit, returns to me once again. So I read the bible like some drug, so that I could feel fulfilled.

Then we could find scripture where it talks about drinking from the Spirit:

1CO 12:13 - For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

PS 65:9 The streams of God are filled with water

JN 4:13 Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, [14] but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

AndÖ

JN 6:53 Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. [54] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. [56] Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. [57] Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. [58] This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."

OrÖ

JN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning.

JN 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. [4] In him was life, and that life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

JN 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. [7] He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. [8] He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. [9] The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

JN 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. [11] He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. [12] Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- [13] children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

JN 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Think about drinking Jesusís blood. Of course this message turned off a lot of people, as Jesus said was intentional (a part of separating the sheep from the goats, the chaff from the threshing floor). Taken literally, it cannot make too much sense, can it? This is just one example of why I believe in the symbolic meaning of the bible, not just the literal.

But just from my own experience I can say that this symbolic meaning (of drinking from the Spirit, which helps when reading the Word) rings true to my heart.

Paul speaks of satisfying the flesh like a "mere chasing after the wind" (or ECC 6:9). When I look back at my life, at those times when I used manmade drugs to "fill my soul", so to speak (and I believe that God might have let me go down this path so that I could compare the two extremes and write about my experiences), in hindsight it really does now seem like a chasing after the wind, because it never really did satisfy me. It was like a distraction covering up the gaping hole in my heart, which I did not want to face. Lest I stare straight into the hollow meaninglessness of my existence and feel compelled to jump off a bridge.

There is the line:

ISA 57:10 You were wearied by all your ways,

but you would not say, `It is hopeless.'

You found renewal of your strength,

and so you did not faint.

This is how I felt back then, and how others seem to me who constantly pursue the next party, as some means to avoid facing the cold reality of their loneliness and emptiness. Always busy bodying themselves with errands and useless meaningless chores rather than to stop, sit down, and reflect on what they are doing. Talkity talk talk talk, "godless chatter" as God calls it, in an effort to avoid the dreaded truth of meaningless existence. Sometimes I blurt out in a social gathering something which seems to touch to the core of the matter, and often people stare at me with gaping mouths, in disbelieve that I could have just openly said what everyone secretly knew but was trying to avoid thinking about. A bombshell on the conversation. Where the conversation was like some carefully constructed but fragile structure of thin sticks piled one by one against each other, building towards some fantastic hurrah, but where my blunt statement of truth pulled the carpet from beneath it and sent it cascading flat to the floor for what it really is. Well, you can understand why such people werenít so enthusiastic about inviting me to their social gatherings again. Or theyíd rather take their conversation elsewhere lest I reveal the naked truth about the entire futility and prevent them from building up again to the great hurrah.

Nevertheless, all these things, including the drugs, seemed as a means to avoid the issue of what thoughts would keep surfacing and troubling me from within. I do not want to seem judgmental, but when I look at how others indulge in the same and when I listen to their conversation, it seems they are partaking in the same exercise. Anything to avoid the bare truth of the matter. And (in those days) Iíd keep chattering and keep taking more substances (whether alcohol or whatever) until I became so oblivious that I could stumble home in complete unconsciousness and wake up the next day, at some late hour, when I felt so horrible that the screaming awareness alone would drown out any thoughts of emptiness. Or at least I could blame the hangover for those lingering feelings, and look forward to when I could start the cycle again, in a mad pursuit to become oblivious again and forget those thoughts.

But once I tasted the sweet Spirit of Jesus, it was so fulfilling that any thought of blemishing it with manmade drugs and hollow conversation was outright absurd. I bathed in the beauty of Godís sun and soaked in the wonderful feeling, and could not imagine numbing my body in any way to feel it less.

But as the bible says, a dog always returns to its own vomit, I was tempted again, and I eventually returned to my previous ways.

But this time I was equipped with the arsenal of knowledge of a wonderful alternative, and I was no longer running away from some emptiness but rather longing for the sweet fullness that my memory painted for me. And for years I would sway back and forth between the two, during the week tempted to the pub by my friends, out of ritual and habit Iíd indulge in the usual avoidances, until Sunday would roll around and Iíd long to join my fellowship at church and listen to the inspiring messages of my preacher so that I could tank up on Jesusís Spirit, like a cocaine addict might feel when sinking the needle into his veins after a long and uncomfortable dry spell.

How much grace God and Jesus must have to allow me to sway between these two pillars, like a prostitute returning as a worn out dog every weekend to her loving husband.

And over time the Spirit I would receive would grow fainter, such that I would have to get serious about not visiting the other pillar and come to God in sufficient contriteness and open and sincere heart, in order that I might more fully drink from his overflowing cup and fill up my empty soul again. Or the fellowship was not what it used to be, or the preacher left and was replaced by someone whose message was just not inspiring enough for me. Which is when I would instead stay home and diligently read the bible on Sundays, soaking in every page, no matter how many times I had already read it before, absorbing it like fresh water after a long crawl in the arid desert.

But maybe thatís just me. Maybe my composition is such that I need this drug. I look at others and they seem to scoff with disdain and disgust at my concept, belittling me like some lost basket case who really does not know what he wants.

I can only explain to you how I felt in these times and give you my own testimony. If you got to know me, you would not earmark me like a lost basket case, but rather as someone who is fairly firmly planted on his feet. But perhaps the smug scoffers like to imagine Iím in such a state of desperate loss.

Perhaps the smug scoffers truly are satisfied with lathering their egos how fantastic they are, and listening to themselves regurgitate great and worldly trivia and humorous anecdotes, perhaps repeatedly presented until it becomes a masterpiece of entertainment, sure to draw great applause when delivered to untrained ears.

But when you think about it, if there was no Spirit for me to drink from, and I already tasted what flowed from the other pillar, do you not think it would be impossible that I would strive to deny myself of all that the other pillar offers just to purify myself and more enjoy the river of life? If there truly was no Spirit to motivate me away from my previous indulgences, why would I not just drown myself in every possible distraction and mind altering drug, and continue down that road in ever increasing measure? After all, many do follow down that road, often to their very death. The harder they pursue it, the more they realise it is not satisfying them. Maybe it is my disposition to pursue the extreme and not be satisfied with middle of the road which has driven me to this end. But if that is my disposition, do you truly believe I could make such a concerted effort to abandon the obvious, deny myself of all bodily pleasures and pursue the fruits of the Spirit if there were none to pursue? Could anybody? Could anybody survive in such a state on mental reasoning alone? If I were to choose some mental reasoning in an effort to abandon myself from drowning in endless indulgence, would I not select something which was gratifying in some other way? Such as the rush of power from torturing people? If there was no gratification from Jesusís living Spirit, I honestly cannot imagine why anyone would pursue this "religion called God", as the atheist would look at it. On this logic alone anyone would have to admit that there must be truth and substance to the Spirit. It is the entire basis of the gospel, and the driving force behind a majority of the planet who believe in God and make at least some effort to deny their bodies of earthly pleasure in an attempt to win favour with God and drink from his Spirit.

JOB 34:14 If it were his intention

and he withdrew his Spirit and breath,

JOB 34:15 all mankind would perish together

and man would return to the dust.

And God knows this. Sometimes I enter a dark period and feel God is holding his Spirit back to send me a stern message not to be such a fence sitter and abuse his grace. And rightfully so. And it is at these times when I get more serious about my obedience, double up my efforts to deny myself, and once again return to the sweet feeling I felt when I first discovered Jesus. I admit that Iím pathetic and weak. I am only trying to convince you that the Spirit is really there, and how my motivations work. Jesusís love is truly the drug for me, and I want all of it.

RO 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 


 

 

* "Spirit" is capitalised in those cases where it refers to the Holy Spirit or Godís spirit. The bible capitalises certain words, like the Sovereign Lord, when it refers to God, as opposed to god or gods, which the bible acknowledges the existence of (other gods). The bible speaks of man having a spirit, but I believe the capitalisation depicts a consolidation of all spirits. One might perceive it as the unified theory or relativity. For example:

ECC 12:5 Then man goes to his eternal home Ö

ECC 12:7 and the dust returns to the ground it came from,

and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Hence, for me to maintain accuracy here, I capitalised the word spirit wherever it referred to Godís Spirit of eternal life which he granted us out of his grace, his Spirit which is also his love, and eternal life at the same time.

Some more lines in the bible which I feel reinforce this page in general:

JAS 1:16 Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. [17] Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. [18] He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.

1JN 3:14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in deathÖ and has no eternal life in him.

JN 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] He was with God in the beginning.

[4] In him was life, and that life was the light of men. [5] The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

JN 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. [7] He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. [8] He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. [9] The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world <Jesus>.

JN 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. [11] He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him <the Jews>. [12] Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God-- [13] children born <as in leading to a new life, inspired from hearing the Word of God and drinking in or receiving his Spirit> not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

JN 1:14 The Word became flesh <Jesus> and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

AC 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. [45] The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles. [46]

Then Peter said, [47] "Can anyone keep these people from being baptized with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have."

AC 5:32 - We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

REV 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. [7] He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

 

 


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