For a lot of years instead of my personal walk with God being like a river growing deeper and wider with each passing day, it was more like a stagnant pond that was gradually drying up under the heat of the sun. Thankfully, the goodness of God leads us all to repentance and by His grace I learned again what it is to truly walk with Him.
(1) My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
(2) Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
(3) Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
(4) Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman
I suppose I could say that for a long time I was like Demas, the man who had forsaken Paul having loved this present world (2 Timothy 4:10). This life and the things it offered had become far more important than my relationship to God. It’s said that addictions – all of them – can be defined as an inappropriate means of coping with life’s problems. While most of us think of drug addiction and alcoholism when we think of addictions, the truth is addictive behavior isn’t limited to just those things. When you understand that addiction is any coping mechanism we turn to that is harmful to ourselves and others, you understand that addiction can have many faces. Some of those faces are socially acceptable. For me, one of my addictions was in the getting of things. Getting something new was what I thought would make life work. Having the latest “whatever” would make me feel better. My way of dealing with life was distracting myself with stuff. It took some financial setbacks and the loss of a job and a house to get me back to God. I came under deep conviction over the fact that things and creature comforts carried far greater weight with me than my relationship to my God. But I was really good at looking like I had a good relationship to Him. I knew a lot of Bible facts. I knew good doctrine and theology. I believed in good doctrine and theology – but the devils also believe in God and tremble. In that respect, even they had more faith in God than I did. At least they trembled. My knowledge of God had become merely academic. It was so cold that it had no affect on how I thought or how I lived. I did not turn to God when I had problems and I did not counsel myself with His Word when I faced crises. I did things my way.
When God brought me to the end of myself, and I found myself working for 7 dollars an hour at a thrift store repairing donated items and keeping the parking lot clean, He also brought me to an outreach program at our church – a program for addicts. While I did not see myself as an addict at the time, I certainly had similar behavior. Just instead of booze or marijuana, my drug of choice was stuff. It looked okay because materialism is socially acceptable – but it isn’t acceptable to God. For me to see that, God brought me to where I couldn’t get any more stuff and where my family’s well-being hung in the balance. It forced me to take a good hard look at my relationship to Him. I started praying Scripture back to God because my needs had become very real and there was no way I could meet them anymore. I started meditating on God’s Word and hanging on everything He said. I began counseling myself based on what I was learning of Him. In other words, my walk with God had become a personal and intentional relationship again. Its what Solomon was trying to get his son to understand when he told him: “Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman.” If you’re going to love God, you’re going to have to fall in love with His Word and be intentional about it. You must make it personal.