Learn to go to your Lord and depend on Him first. When you turn to Him, your weakness will be replaced with His power.
Our family vacation last week felt like an episode from the Twilight Zone. Everywhere we went, BOOM, a Starbucks appeared. If you take into account Dunkin’ Donuts, WaWa, 7-11, specialty coffee shops, favorite breakfast spots, church lobbies and various energy drinks, you soon realize the real message is, “Caffeine on every corner.” Although most people like caffeine, it is actually harmful in many ways. Teens have died from accidental overdoses of both energy drinks and powdered caffeine. Think about it. Having uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like headaches is a serious warning that caffeine just ain’t good for you. Unfortunately, the most distinguishing physical trait for many youth pastors, and even some senior pastors, is having a caffeine drink in hand to help them get going in their morning sermon.
You see, the world is a very needy place, and we are incredibly needy people. Looking for your boost, energy, pick-me-up, high or “this-is-what-life-is-all-about” from this world is a road that ends in loneliness, frustration and insecurity. This world provides a temporary bandage at best—distracting us from the true source of life and fulfillment while often harming us physiologically, psychologically and spiritually. Even when the temporary fixes are “good,” (think spouse, children, vocation or house—not chemicals like caffeine, wine or beer) and are provided by God, we may start to use them as primary solutions, forgetting they are intended to point us to the real solution—God.
To soothe your neediness, you must resist the knee-jerk impulse to reach for immediate comfort. Like a snake oil salesman, the world offers a bargain sale item, hooking you into becoming a repeat customer headed for long-term destruction. Don’t think I’m talking about a shot of alcohol or heroin or crack. No! I’m talking about caffeine, chocolate, carbs, pornography, racy novels or other escapes and numbing quick fixes. Learn to go to your Lord and depend on Him first. When you turn to Him, your weakness will be replaced with His power. Find completeness in God. Then He will provide for you and speak to you directly or lead you to other people or things of this world to show His love and direction.
When you depend on God first, you can then help other people without using them to meet your own needs. Let God’s light shine brightly in you. Then God will shine through you to help others. The quality of your relationships with others will powerfully explode with fulfillment. Opportunities to influence others will greatly expand. Think about it. Have you ever met a regular caffeine drinker who is relaxed and at peace? They will tell you they are. But ask them before their first cup of caffeine, or at 1 p.m., when they still haven’t had any.
Today, consider the first place you look to meet your needs. Yourself, your intellect, looks or a personality trait? Feelings like anger, self-pity, anxiety or arrogance? Perhaps other people, like a spouse, kids or parents? Sometimes it may be material things, sex, food, money, toys, drugs or even caffeine. Try a detox period, spiritually called a fast, from the “drug” you use to soothe yourself. Instead, “suffer well” by going to God’s Word. See what He says to you and asks of you. Hopefully, you can “kick the habit!” Whether you turn to God to get you going each day or you get whatever is on the street corners of your life, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I confess that I often turn to the world for my needs, and many times what I take from the world keeps me separated from You. The merry-go-round of life seems to be spinning faster and faster. Things seem out of control. Yet I know through Your Word and by my faith that there is a calm at the center of the storms in my life. This calm is only found through a union with You. Thank You, my Father. Help me return to this center of calm—this soothing center—more often, because this is where I will find completeness, Love, Joy and Peace. I pray in the name of my sustaining life-force, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:9-10
“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’ As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight. The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply; their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names on my lips.” Psalm 16:1-4
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12