I love the joy of the Lord, I love the intoxication of the Spirit. Just ask my friends, there are times I’m just wandering around the church buzzed out of my gord on the mercies of Jesus. But I think there is a very real danger of us falling into abusing God in the midst of ecstasy, if we are not careful.
Abusing God? What in the world are you talking about? Simple. When you abuse someone, you use them for your own purposes without regard for them as an individual. You violate their free will and/or dignity.
I had fallen into this. I was addicted to stimulation (see my previous article), more precisely, to video games and television. I loved the adrenaline, the rush, the excitement, the accomplishment. But I realized that this was wrong because I was supposed to be getting “what I need” from God. So instead of playing video games, I was going to God to feel the joy, the peace, the rush of his presence. But I was not spending time worshipping him, I was not spending time getting to know him… apart from how he makes me feel.
Don’t get me wrong, God is amazing, there is pleasure in his presence (Psalms 36:8). I mean he calls himself Prince of Peace, and says that His joy is our strength. We are expected to feel good in God’s presence. But when pleasure, joy, and peace become the reason we are seeking God, then we are missing the point.
Relationship is the point of seeking God. God created us for relationship. Think about, why did God bother to create in the first place? He knew we would royally screw things up. That we would cause a lot of suffering, death, and destruction. Why did he do it? Because God is Love and love longs for an outlet. God craved someone to love. He was complete in and of himself and he could have continue for eternity that way. But he chose more, and that is why he craved, because he chose to. So when he made us, he made us with the need for love, for relationship, we crave relationship too. But sin messed it up.
When Adam and Eve ate of the tree, the lie they believed was “God does not have your best at heart. Take care of your own needs.” So Adam and Eve, in rebellion and selfishness, did just that, they took. They believed the lie and abused the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They chose selfish needs over their relationship with God. And to this day, we still do it. We still take what we need selfishly without regard for others or how we affect them. But this leaves us addicted and empty.
It is far more fulfilling to have a relationship with God that may or may not result in us feeling the “rush” of his presence. If we seek God because we want relationship with him, because we love him, because we are thankful for all that he has done for us, to worship him, to make God feel good… then we are doing it for the right reasons. And knowing that is its own reward.
So my prayer is that you realize how special you are to God, that he longs to have a real, lasting, fulfilling relationship with you as you mutually surrender yourselves to each other.
P.S. Some people might say “If He knew it was going to be so bad why did he do it anyways… my life sucks and I wish God had never made me” First and foremost, I am truly sorry that your life has been that bad. I cannot imagine what you are going through, but God can. By nature, God is everywhere, he knows what you have gone through and he has wept tears for your pain. But you can choose today to give up the pain. You can let God take all the crap that the devil has thrown at you to make you feel that way and he can turn it into victory. God does worse than defeat the devil, he takes every bad thing he ever did and turns it to victory. When it is all said and done and we go to spend eternity with God in a never ending love relationship that will blow our minds, I think we will completely forget about the devil. God will do worse than defeat the devil, he will make it like the devil never existed to begin with. And he can start the process of wiping the devil from history with you, right now. Just ask Jesus to come into your heart, to turn what the devil meant to be your destruction and shame, into the greatest victory, and begin wiping the devil from your memory. It all starts with a simple prayer of “Jesus, I need you to come into my life. Forgive me for all the bad I have done to other people, especially to you. I need you to save me from my sin. Please show me the plan you have for my life. Please turn my defeats into victory. Please take every way the devil has tried to destroy me and turn it around.”
P.P.S. We may not see it now, but I know when we stand before Jesus we will says it was worth it all.