Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. Jonah 2:8 NLT
Over the last 30 years of studying the Bible with people, I have had a few conversations that have have gone like this.
Friend: I am so bored right now. I wish there were something to do, anything! I am just tired of being bored.
Me: Hey! Would this be a good time for a Bible study?
Friend: Maybe when things settle down a little bit. My life is a whirlwind right now.
Granted, the last time this happened it was during the COVID quarantine, but it has happened other times also. It is sad that people will do everything they can to avoid worshipping God, while He is the only One who can bring true purpose and satisfaction. In John 4:1-42, Jesus tells the woman at the well that He is the Living Water which will never leave you thirsty again. After 5 failed relationships, she needed to know that a relationship with Jesus is the only relationship that brings true satisfaction. So today, many worship immoral sex, and other addictive vices such as drugs, that never quench their thirst and never satisfy. You have heard the definition for insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. I believe the reason many of us have addictive vices is not because the addictions satisfy, but rather because the addictive behavior does not satisfy, but we keep expecting it to satisfy, each time we repeat the behavior, even though it never does. So we keep repeating the addiction over and over, expecting it to bring us satisfaction that we can only obtain by worshiping God. This is insanity.
I had a pastor, back home in Oklahoma, who would often say, “Sin is insanity.” I believe he is right. When I get thirsty, my body needs water, but sometimes I may try to tell myself that what I really need is a cold glass of iced sweet tea, or a soda. The reality is that those other drinks dehydrate me, and leave me even more thirsty. Thinking that tea and colas will quench my thirst is insanity. Only water will quench my thirst. My taste and cravings may make me think I need a cola, but my tastes and cravings are a lie. They are insanity. Logic tells me that what my body needs is water.
Many worship immoral sex and drugs and such, thinking that they will bring satisfaction, but they never do. And hence the repeated, addictive behavior, expecting drugs and sex to do for us what they have never done before. By the way, later in the story in John 4:1-42, Jesus tells His disciples that His food is to do the will of His Father. I think what Jesus meant was that His satisfaction does not come from food — or drugs or immoral sex, for that matter. His satisfaction comes from worshiping the Father and doing His will. Sure, Jesus repeats this behavior of worship, not as an addiction, but rather because it is truly satisfying and exactly what He needs. After all, God always gives us free will and free choice when it comes to worship. Worshiping God is a choice we make every day, and not an addiction. This is why Jesus tells us, in Luke 9:23, to take up the cross every day, because every day we have to make that choice. It will never become an addiction. Only Satan uses addictions. Jesus died to free us from all addictions, and only accepts worship done every day by free choice, as we choose every day to take up our cross and follow and worship Him.
God knows that worshiping Him really does bring true satisfaction and purpose, so there is no reason for Him to make it addictive. God knows that, if we taste and see that the Lord is good, we will freely choose to worship Him every day. He does not have to trick us by making it addictive. Satan, on the other hand, knows sin does not satisfy or give us purpose. Murder, lying, stealing, lust, coveting and so forth have never been a logical solution for any problem. Thus Satan has to make these behaviors addictive in order to make us repeat them, because the fact is that they do not bring satisfaction or purpose. Sin and sinful addictions are insanity, like my pastor said. If that sounds too harsh, then let’s just say that sinful addictions are not a logical solution for any craving. Only Jesus satisfies.
We worship because we are created to worship, by nature. The only question is, what or whom do we worship? Like in my illustration, at the beginning of this article, many people will do all they can to avoid worshiping God, even when they are bored and feel a void. I’ve had people tell me that they don’t have time to study their Bible or worship God, because they are too busy making money, or practicing other hobbies, or just too busy watching sports and TV. Fact is, they have plenty of time to worship. It’s just that they are so busy worshiping everything else that they don’t have time to worship God. By the way, do you know how I know that worshiping God truly satisfies? Sometimes I will plan on watching a ball game, and will tell myself that I can do my Bible study before the game. But I often fall so in love with what and Whom I am studying, that by the time the game comes on, I don’t desire to watch the game anymore. I want to keep studying, because I choose to, because worshiping God is truly quenching my thirst and giving me satisfaction, so that I feel no need to watch the ball game. I am not addicted to the Bible. I keep studying because I want to, and not because I am addicted. Again, God does not want us to worship him because we are addicted. We can stop worshiping Him anytime we want. He is not an addiction. He only accepts worship that comes by choice, and not by addiction. But when I find how satisfying God is, and how unsatisfying my addictions are, I then choose to worship God instead of my addictions. And God gives me the freedom to choose Him instead of my addictions, when it is my sincere choice.
In closing, I believe in my heart that the reason many make themselves drunk with the cares of this life, or with literal drugs and alcohol, is so they can ignore the sobriety of life. They use drugs and alcohol, which lead to death, as a way to escape this world. Oh how I pray they find out soon that there is a better way to escape the pains of this world, and this life! Jesus offers us a way out of this world of misery, but His way out is not drinking yourself to death. His way out is the opposite of death; it is eternal life, a more fulfilling and satisfying life that will remove us from this world of misery and sin, and give us eternal life in paradise with Him. Satan wants us to get so drunk with our addictions that we no longer think about life. He wants us to be numb to the realities of life, and just drift away to a peaceful death. Let’s all wake up! Instead of being drunk and numb to the realities of life, and drifting off into a peaceful death, let’s be sober and worship God, and accept the everlasting Gospel which will help us drift into a peaceful, eternal life.
P.S. Earlier, I mentioned that our sinful, addictive cravings are a lie. I want to help make this idea practical. Many times, I have walked into a convenience store, thinking I needed a cola, but walked out with a bottled water instead, after praying and telling myself that my desire for soda was a lie. When I think I need a soda, I have found myself drinking water instead, by praying and then telling myself that I was lying when I told myself I needed a cola. I tell myself that the truth is, I want water. It also helps to stop and ask myself: Did drinking cola really satisfy anything, the last time I drank it? No. Did water satisfy my thirst, the last time I drank it? Yes! Now I am free to make a sane and logical choice.