Monday, February 21, 2005

Addictive Behaviors

Having been brought up in a strict legalist denomination, it's been drilled into me that certain behaviors, namely drinking and smoking, are clearly taboo. I don't drink, and I don't smoke, but of late I find myself questioning the rational behind these standards. As Christians, we are to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. After a rough day at work, I can see how people might want to escape the troubles of the day by enjoying a relaxing drink. I see plenty of stressed coworkers heading for the exits several times a day for a smoke. But as a Christian, what are my options?

Lately I have begun to realize that I create my own escapes - all perfectly acceptable behaviors, of course. Who can find fault with reading, for instance? Or coffee - surely the beverage of choice among Christians! But when I retreat to my books to block out a bad day, or rely on a cup of coffee to get me through one, aren't those serving the same purpose as alcohol? I'm just guessing that what God wants from me is complete reliance on His Holy Spirit, and a book or cup of "joe", while not in and of itself evil, if it takes the place of dependence on Him, can be just as much a problem as any other addictive behavior.

That's the whole issue with legalism; it circumvents the heart. Isn't this where Jesus took issue with the Pharisees? He said the outside of the cup was clean, but the inside was filthy dirty. He never said he had a problem with a clean appearance, only with those who focused only on the outward appearance. Isn't the Enemy subtle?

1 comment:

Peg said...

I believe everything in moderation and in the right priority works well. Great post!