I'm reading this book, THE JOURNEY OF DESIRE: SEARCHING FOR THE LIFE WE'VE ONLY DREAMED OF, by John Eldredge. As the title would give away, he likens the Christian life to a journey of desire. I just read this passage in chapter eleven that I think is really thought provoking. Here it is:
"The fact is, at this point in our journey, we have only three options: (1) to be alive and thirsty, (2) to be dead, or (3) to be addicted. There are no other choices. Most of the world lives in addiction; most of the church has chosen deadness. The Christian is called to the life of holy longing." (page 182 from "Letting Go")
1. Do you agree with the bold "there are no other choices" statement?
2. Do you believe that, "most of the world lives in addiction" as Eldredge asserts?
3. Do you think "most of the church has chosen deadness" is true?
Go ahead and read the passage again. It's loaded.
I personally lived much of my life in addiction. I understand where the author is coming from. I want to point out that we cannot limit the word addiction to just chemical addictions. If you use a broad definition then I think it is probably true. For example, perfectionism, control, anger, television, or work could be addictions. Don't you think?
Honestly, there are still things I must battle so that they do not become an addiction. I don't know, ChapStick, coffee, concerts, or sex, all of these things have the potential to overtake my holy longing at any moment, but are they addictions? Right now, I believe that I am living in balance and that even my most latent addictions are in check.
Sadly, I know where Eldredge is coming from when he says the church has chosen deadness. God did not call us to a life of safety; he certainly didn't call us to a life of passionless duty. He called us to a full life of adventure and joy. Christ said he came to give us an abundant life which brings us to choice number one: alive and thirsty.
I think of Paul writing in Ephesians 3:19, "Then you will be filled with the fullness of life" or Jesus in John 10:10 saying, "My purpose is to give life in all its fullness." Think of that. My savior didn't say his purpose was to cramp my style, keep me safe, or even get me into Heaven. "My purpose is to give life." He's talking about the here and now and he wants me to be fully alive. I love the translation of the famous John 3:16 from THE MESSAGE because it reads "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." You see, it's not just about "eternal life" because what good is the promise of eternity if, in this life, you are addicted or merely technically alive, but dead to desires?
So what about me? Alive? Check. Thirsty? Check. Thirsty for the way things are supposed to be. Thirsty for wholeness.
I believe that's me right now. I'm alive and thirsty. I feel really alive and I'm thirsty for the abundant life that Jesus promised.
How about you?