Sunday, May 25, 2008

Addicted to a Spiritual "Crack"

Paul David Tripp recently published a powerfully piercing book on the human heart called "Quest for More: Living for Something Bigger than You." I recommend the careful reading of this book. It is well written with few wasted words.

In chapter 2 he talks about our pursuit of satisfaction in small things that were never meant to satisfy and which become like "spiritual crack." I will let you read from pages 30-31.

When the enemy somehow tricks you into squeezing the size of your life to the size of your personal dreams, wants, and needs, he has got you right where he wants you. He has won a victory every time he successfully tempts you to exchange the God-centered more for which you were created, replacing it with one of the endless catalog of me-centered "mores" that dangle before us in this fallen world. His lie is this: "Transcendence is really found when you live at the center of your world." Or, "Ultimate joy and satisfaction is found when you live for you."

Now you may be saying, "Come on, Paul, I'm biblically smart enough to know that that isn't true!" You probably do, but the struggle I am describing very often takes place inside the borders of good theology and regular participation in the scheduled programs of the church. It is possible, and maybe even quite regular, to participate in these things and still be settling, in the little moments of my daily existence, for much, much less than the transcendence for which you were created. Things as mundane as wardrobe, menu, schedule, workload, location, traffic, weather, being right, getting affirmed, money, housing, employment, gardens, family rooms, sex, leisure, who's in the bathroom first, who did what with my newspaper, who ate the last of the cereal, etc.—all of which are important in some way—rise to a spiritually dangerous level of importance in the heat of the moment. These are the moments we live in every day. The normal day is a 24-hour collection of little moments. Day after day, week after week, and year after year, these little moments set the character of a person's life.

When little things become the big thing for which I consistently fight, I have forsaken transcendence for the temporary shadow glories of creation. The temporary satisfaction and pleasure that I get will not last. These things are like spiritual crack; they will give me a quick emotional or spiritual rush, while leaving me unfilled and hungering for the next rush.

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