August 18, 2017
Going into town the other day was like an episode from the Twilight Zone. Everywhere I went, BOOM, coffee. Trouble getting to the bank in our grocery store because the Starbucks drive thru was about 20 cars and blocking everything. If you take into account Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, WaWa, 7-11, specialty coffee shops, favorite breakfast spots, church lobbies, and various energy drinks, you soon realize the real message is, “Caffeine, you can’t live without it so we’ll put it on every corner.” Although many people like caffeine, it’s actually harmful in many ways.
A teen in Maryland died of an accidental caffeine OD from several energy drinks. A couple others have died from the potent powder caffeine some are using to cut weight and fat as a workout supplement. Think about it. Having uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like headaches is a serious warning that caffeine just ain’t good for you. Unfortunately, the most distinguishing physical trait for many youth pastors, and even some senior pastors, is having coffee or a caffeine drink in hand to help them get going in their morning sermon.
You see, the world is a very needy place and we are incredibly needy people. Looking for your boost, energy, pick-me-up, high, or ‘this-is-what-life-is-all-about” from this world is a road that ends in loneliness, frustration, and insecurity. This world provides a temporary band-aid at best … distracting us from the true source of life and fulfillment … while often harming us physiologically, psychologically, and spiritually. Even when the temporary fixes are “good,” (think spouse, children, vocation, or house – not chemicals like caffeine, wine, or beer) 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, you must resist the knee-jerk impulse to reach for immediate comfort. Like a snake oil salesman, the world offers a bargain sale item … hooking you into becoming a repeat customer headed for long-term destruction. Don’t think I’m talking about a shot of alcohol, or heroin or crack. No! I’m talking about caffeine, chocolate, carbs, pornography, racy novels, or other escape/numbing quick fixes. 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. Opportunities to influence others will greatly expand. Think about it. Have you ever met a regular caffeine drinker who is relaxed and at peace? They will tell you they are. But ask them before their first cup of caffeine, or at 1PM when they still haven’t had any.
Today, consider the first place you 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. Instead, “suffer well” by going to God’s Word. See what He says to you and asks of you. Hopefully, you can “kick the habit!” If you need help, call our Lighthouse Helpline 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242). Whether you turn to God to get you going each day, or you go for whatever is being pushed on the street corners of your life 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, because 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.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
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