Sunday, October 5, 2014

Addictions...

It is possible to evade a multitude of sorrows through the cultivation of an insignificant life. Indeed, if a man's ambition is to avoid the troubles of life, the recipe is simple: shed your ambitions in every direction, cut the wings of every soaring purpose, and seek a life with the fewest contacts and relations. If you want to get through the world with the smallest trouble, you must reduce yourself to the smallest compass. Tiny souls can dodge through life; bigger souls are blocked on every side. As soon as a man begins to enlarge his life, his resistances are multiplied. Let a man remove his petty selfish purposes and enthrone Christ, and his sufferings will be increased on every side. ~ J. Henry Jowett

I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the Saints,) 1 Corinthians 16:15 KJV

This morning I spoke about taking risks (blogged a little about it yesterday). It seems that faith at work in God's people characterized them with such a disposition. They took chances. 

I realize there is a danger in becoming addicted to risk/excitement -- the need to create circumstances that release a surge of adrenalin. Believers throughout the ages have misinterpreted such moments and tendencies as spiritual highs and spiritual warfare. They were neither. They have even discovered that following such spiritually manic times the pendulum swings back and something else occurs: we can feel insignificant -- if we are not embroiled in some kind of turmoil, commotion, or off-the-chain activity. Spiritual or otherwise. 

Jowett talks of an equally addictive habit. It is every bit as destructive and not uncommon among Christ-followers. One in which we either consciously or sub-consciously commit to: the cultivation of an insignificant life. The driving ambition becomes avoiding risky ambitions. Cultivating a world where we stay clear of challenges that would require us to enter into the messy-ness of others lives or chart a course into the unknown, we prioritize comfort, smallness, and detachment. In short, we reduce our landscape to one so tiny there is no need for a growing and courageous faith. Would it be fair to call this spiritual immaturity?

It's probably a good thing to prayerfully take stock of our lives and ask ourselves, "Has the pendulum swung in either direction too far? Is there a place where my soul is engaged and expanded simply because Christ is enthroned? Am I venturing out where the risk is worthy and the reward eternal?" 

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