July 9, 2012
We were on a vacation last week that felt like a Twilight Zone episode. Everywhere we went, BOOM, a Starbucks appeared. If you take into account Dunkin Donuts, WaWa, 7-11, local Starbucks wannabees, specialty coffee shops, favorite breakfast spots, church lobbies, and various energy drinks, the real message is, “Caffeine on every corner.” Caffeine is so harmful in many ways. Think about it. If you must using something because without it you will have uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like headaches, that should send you a serious warning that it ain’t good for you. You can’t even recognize some youth pastors without their caffeine drink in hand.
You see, the world is a very need place and we are incredibly needy people. Looking for your boost, energy, or life from this world is a road that ends in loneliness, frustration, and insecurity. All this world provides is a temporary band-aid at best … distracting us from the true source of life and fulfillment … often harming us physiologically, psychologically, and especially spiritually. Even when the temporary fixes are “good” and are provided by God, we may start to use them as primary solutions, forgetting they are intended to point us to the real solution – God.
To soothe your neediness, resist the knee-jerk impulse to reach for immediate comfort, the bargain sale item the world offers like a snake oil salesman … sucking you in as a repeat customer … headed for long-term destruction once you’re hooked. Don’t think I’m talking about heroin or crack. No, I’m talking about caffeine. Learn to go to your Lord and depend on Him first. When you turn to Him your weakness will be replaced with His power. Find completeness in God. Then He will provide for you and speak to you directly, or lead you to other people or things of this world to show His love and direction.
When you depend on God first, you can then help other people without using them to meet your own needs. Let God’s light shine brightly in you. Then God will shine through you to help others. The quality of your relationships with others will powerfully explode with fulfillment, and opportunities to influence others will expand greatly. Think about it. Have you ever met a regular caffeine drinker who is relaxed and at peace?
Today, consider where you first look to meet your needs. Yourself … your intellect, looks, or a personality trait? Feelings like anger, self-pity, anxiety, or arrogance? Perhaps other people, like a spouse, kids or parents? Sometimes it may be material things, sex, food, money, toys, drugs, even caffeine. Try a detox period, spiritually called a fast, from the “drug” you use to soothe yourself and instead, “suffer well” by going to God’s Word and see what He says to you. Hopefully, you can “kick the habit!” What you use to keep going is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I confess that I often turn to the world for my needs, and many times what I take from the world keeps me separated from You. The merry-go-round of life seems to be spinning faster and faster. Things seem out of control. Yet I know through Your Word and by my faith that there is a calm at the center of the storms in my life. This calm is only found through a union with You. Thank You, my Father. Help me return to this center of calm … this soothing center more often, for this is where I will find completeness, Love, Joy and Peace. I pray in the name of my sustaining life-force, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips. Psalm 16:1-4
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law., Galatians 5:22
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12