Jeremiah 3:2-3 “Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.
Jeremiah 4:22 “My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.”
Sometimes it is so difficult to discipline children. I see the sweet innocence of exploration. Other times, it is difficult to withold my anger. The willful disobedience is just so maddening. God had this great design for the human race. He gave us a lush Earth to revel in and He so hoped that we would take great pleasure in this life.
It wasn’t but a few years ago that I sought out the brazen lifestyle. Like a nomad myself, I was ready for any opportunity to feed my hedonistic lusts. Some of this was ignorance. Some of it was a pain and a loneliness that sought to consume my heart. And still some was the rebellion that blinded me from the thoughts of humble submission to authority.
I picture God contemplating my demise. Wondering, how can He turn me around. Contemplating solutions to my downward spiral. I see a Father who is crazy about me – more concerned with the pain in my soul than the outward manifestation of destruction. Like me, He is willing to send His child to bed without dinner, paddle me on the butt, or send me into the isolation of quiet time.
He is willing to do whatever it takes to turn me around and avoid eternal destruction. Sure, the outward manifestations of my pain and rebellion are hurtful and destructive, but they are merely symptoms of the cancer eating away at my soul. If He can get me to repent and be restored in my relationship with Him, the cancer of separation can be stopped and the destructive behavior will cease.
If I were suffering from cancer, liver failure, or kidney disease, I would undergo radical and intensive daily therapy. If I had a cold, I would treat it. If I have a headache, I do not hesitate to take something for it. My spiritual sickness is a little easier to ignore however. Like an annoying cough, I just keep on keepin on hoping that it will one day stop.
But soon the cough moves deeper into my lungs and I realize that I need to take some action.
If my spiritual sickness were to radically alter my values, to the point where I was participating in very destructive behaviors, would I suddenly have a desire to seek treatment? I”m not so sure.
One of the scary things about spiritual sickness is that it overtakes our ability to see how sick we are. Indeed, it often masks the depravity that has set in. Like depression where we no longer have the courage, or the will, to seek treatment.
As I read passages like the first few chapters of Jeremiah, I am struck by the sheer depravity and brazenness of our condition. Sure, I no longer troll bars seeing what I can get. And it has been years since I’ve sought to meet drug dealers in a back room. However, my outwards sins are not really that different.
Now, I seize opportunities to eat food that satisfies my taste buds, but has no healthful benefit. I seek opportunities to entertain myself with mindless a-musements, but shrug off the need to delve into the Living Water that will never leave me thirsty.
It is only by curing the disease from the inside out that I can begin to live a life that is more completely satisfying, more intensely focused, and better prepared to serve others. My destructive tendencies are selfish. They hurt, not just me, but my family, my friends, and those who expect certain things out of me.
It is only when I realize that I don’t exist for my own pleasure that I begin to take my head out of the sand. If I really love my family, I will take care of myself. If I really love my Lord, I will not separate myself from Him. If I really love them, I will take care of one person whom they also love – me.
Father God, teach me to not be so selfish and hedonistic. Teach me to walk with you!
Thanks, I love you too!