JUST SAY NO

What comes next may seem like a strange way to begin a devotional aimed at building up your faith in Christ.

Crack cocaine is one of the most addictive recreational drugs. It is also one of the most abused. According to the US Government, more than 40 million people in the United States use crack. Marijuana takes the number one spot for illegal drug use, with as many as 269 million people worldwide abusing themselves with it.

One in four internet searches are related to pornography. More than a third of all internet downloads are downloading porn.

Some of the strangest addictions people admit to are eating dirt, chalk, laundry detergent or even glass. Some people are addicted to drinking blood or urine. I’ve read many worse addictions, but they’re too disgusting to add in here.

People seem to take a very short-term view of long term problems. All over the world we seem to be willing to give control of our lives over to things which will destroy us and those we value most.

Today’s verse warns us clearly …
DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD

This applies to much more than addictions, of course; I simply used them to illustrate the scope of the problem. We can easily allow our lives to get focused on the wrong things. Things that will initially attract us, then control us – and eventually destroy us.

I find it interesting that the bible structures its warning in the context of love. DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD.

The world here is an image of things that are opposed to the love of God. Secular things which can suck up your time and your money, things which will pull you away from the relationships you ought to be investing in.

The lesson is that what we love will control us. So we need to choose carefully and well.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD

One of the young men I mentored once told me how he approached controlling his life well. He said, “I don’t taste what I don’t want to crave.” There are many things it is probably best never to taste. Sin has an addictive quality that far outstrips crack cocaine.

Choosing the things you will love is an exercise in wisdom. Recognizing that you have to make choices that will affect your life is a mark of maturity. Your choices – both the ones you MAKE and the ones you REFUSE to make – will have an impact on your life.

Some time ago I had a discussion about making choices with one of my grandsons. I drew a rough outline map of the United States, with Florida in the lower right portion, New York up at the top and California all the way to the left. I asked him to assume that he was in a car driving west, towards California. Since the car is moving, he will eventually get to the west coast. If that is where he desires to go, he’s doing well.

BUT if he actually wants to go to New York, he needs to make a decision and calculate a different route; because there is NO WAY he can get to New York by driving west from Florida. He can hope it will happen, dream about what New York will be like and even imagine himself standing there. Except that the road he is actually on will not take him there. ACTUALLY getting there will require different and deliberate choices.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD

Choosing is a function of living. You may not be able to make every choice you wish, but there are always choices you CAN make that will bring you closer to where you actually want to end up.

You can choose to love God, and begin to ask Him to control you, your desires and your drives. He tells us to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. If you’ve not already done so, making a choice to love God, and then to live out that love with deliberate purpose, will change the road you’re on. It will bring a bigger change than the choice of California or New York, London or Luxembourg.

A choice FOR one thing is often automatically a choice AGAINST another. Deciding to love God and the things He loves will draw you away from the things of the world. His love will draw you INTO things which will actually enhance you, your life and your relationships. Loving God will build you up.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD

You are traveling a road, my friend. It is not a road that will bring you to an earthly destination. You are on the road, you are moving in a certain direction; and sooner or later the end of the road will come. There is a road which leads you to God, to joy and His presence. You only get on THAT road by making a specific choice.

If the road to heaven is NOT the road you’re on right now, you need to make a decision and calculate a different route; because there is NO WAY you can get to heaven by driving on the road to hell. You can hope it will happen, dream about what heaven will be like and even imagine yourself standing there. Except that the road you are actually on right now will not take you there. ACTUALLY getting there will require different and deliberate choices.

DO NOT LOVE THE WORLD OR ANYTHING IN THE WORLD

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