Ever think of God as a drug? The more I look around and study my fellow Christians, the more I get the feeling God is just another way to get high and forget about the hurts and needs of this world. Yes this is a big observation but I do not say it lightly. We live in world full of self indulgence. I can not help but notice how we as “Christians” are looking more and more like the world we claim to be trying to “save”.
There are two things that have inspired this post. First off, I have recently been impacted by a conversation/debate/argument (depending on who you ask) I have had with an old Church friend of mine about the topics of serving “the least of these” (Originating from Matthew 25: 31-46) and eternal damnation. Equally, I have been impacted by reading the book Gandhi An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth. In this book, Gandhi seek after God far better then myself. In Mohandas Gandhi’s autobiography I have seen a man devoted to truth. Gandhi was willing to push himself to extremes for his cause. I have seen a man who had a heart for loving his neighbors and helping the needy. He seemed to use every aspect of his gifting and recourses to seek out God.
A problem arose for me in my discussion with my friend when my friend kept on posing the argument that we, “need to first seek out God”, before something like helping “the least of these” is relevant. My argument was, “When we help ‘the least of these’ we show we are seeking out God”. My friend did not agree. We went on for days with emails back and forth, both posing some good arguments and I think both would admit some “less then par” arguments as well. Eventually my friend requested we end the conversation. I felt we were stopping in a very bad spot, but reluctantly agreed.
The idea we need to first “seek out God” before “helping the least of these is relevant“, bugged me. The problem becomes how then do we seek out God? The only answers from my friend seemed to be through verbal prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible. Through experience and observation I have found that God can easily become a selfish thing. Prayer can easily be just a way to get hyped up and usually does not go much farther then words. Fasting is often done for attention rather then to seek God out. And, reading the Bible often consists of finding verses that make God who you want Him to be, not figuring out who He really is.
When God is used in these ways He becomes just another drug we get high on. The problem with getting “high” on God is that it does not last. I have gone to Church conferences where the building seemed to be “on fire” for the Holy Spirit. I saw people dancing in the rows and falling down on the ground because they were so overpowered by the presence of God. I am not saying this was fake, that God was not really moving, but my problem was Nothing. Else. Happened. When we got back from the conference we talked a little about “how God moved”. We gave our testimonies to our Church congregations. Then life went back to normal, where we went to Church on Sunday morning and attended the weekly youth group. And, we began to look forward to the next conference where we could get our next high.
When we leave out a way of knowing or seeing God such as “helping the least of these”, we begin to make Christianity a very selfish thing. When we do not realize that loving our neighbor is directly related to loving God, Christianity becomes stagnate and insignificant to the rest of the world.
In Matthew 22: 37-40 Jesus replied to the Pharisees when asked what is the greatest commandment, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. The “Love your neighbor as yourself” was just as important as loving the Lord. The reason why Jesus answered with both is because they go hand in hand.
Even though we have been commanded to minister in this world we also were told not to be of this world. The world tells us that possession and power is what brings us happiness. However, Jesus taught us to go beyond our selfish desires and turn to humility and forgiveness. Jesus taught us that we are suppose to be God’s hands and feet and start to show the world the selfless love of God.
Just because you know the right name does not mean you are serving God better then those who have not even heard of Christianity. The Pharisees were the ones that were interested in the letter of the law. They knew all the “right names”. But, Jesus made it clear “knowing” was not what was going to save them (John 5:39). What God cares about is how we follow Him. Instead of making God just another drug we get high on, let’s start to own His principles along with His name and change the world.