Addiction is powerful.
Even a ‘non-chemical’ addiction such as pornography has the ability to rewire our brains to the extent that we don’t feel.
(And of course, any learned person knows that there are plenty of neurochemicals in a pornography addiction.)
Addiction is ultimately about numbness – either causing it or seeking it.
In David’s great psalm of repentance, after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba, Psalm 51, he continually calls for God to return and awaken emotion within him. He prays, “Let me hear joy and gladness. … Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” Part of repentance is returning to a delight in the Lord; it is also mourning the places we have grieved Him.
When I look at the person of Jesus, I see the polar opposite of numbness. I see someone who was entirely alive to His emotions, the full spectrum. I see a man who wept at the passing of his dear friend. In the Christian world, I often hear the verse thrown around as a bit of trivia: Do you know the shortest verse in the Bible?
Do we ever take time to think about the implications of these two words?
God … cries.
If we are to be like Jesus, then we are to be alive to our emotions.
Seeking to escape the hard times and numb the pain is not what God wants in us. The enemy may lure us in with the promise of a pain-free life, but what ends up happening is reality becomes dimmed.
To be like God is to embrace the reality around us with the emotions He has wired into us, not to escape it.
I never would promote emotionalism for the sake of emotionalism, but emotions absolutely have their place – especially in the response to truth.
I picture Jesus on the mountain, crying out to the Father for guidance. I see Him in the temple courts, fiery with rage at injustice. And there He is in the garden, nervous and terrified of the suffering He is about to go through.
And as He hangs on the cross, shattered and dying, He is offered a drink to ease the pain. I have read multiple sources stating that this cocktail may have been designed to reduce the agony of those suffering torture so they could slip into death with some amount of comfort.
But He turned it down.
Jesus refused to partake in anything that would reduce His experience, the good and the bad, in life and in death.
Saint Irenaeus said that “the glory of God is man fully alive.”
Jesus was fully alive.
From the moment he emerged from Mary’s womb til’ the blood dripped from His toes onto the dirt beneath the cross, I see a man who embraced every ounce of His life and continues to from His place on high.
To embrace addiction is to escape life.
Whether it is alcohol, drugs or pornography – You are just dimming your own light that Jesus said is to shine (Matthew 5:16)
So let us cling to Jesus. Let us cling to the One who gives to each of us life, and life to the fullest.
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”