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04 Feature Article: If you can Read This ... You’ve Got 10 Talents

06 On The Couch: The Dark Ninja Within

Randy kosloski

08 Can You Relate: Side-stepping the Snare of Hypocrisy

thom mollohan

10 May God Bless the Hell Out of You: Spiritual Experimentation

The Merry Monk

12 Cornered by Grace: Why Jesus Wept


14 Press On: Addicted To God


16 The Tool Box: Handy Dandy Disposal Tips

Jeffrey Bridgman
a publication of On My Own now Ministries
Visit our Archives to View Past Issues of Genuine Motivation


Editor In Chief / Rob Beames

Art + Creative Director / MIKE MURO & DANIELA BERMÚDEZ



GM : 04
This year on my birthday I took some time, as many If you answered yes to these questions, you have 10
people do, to reflect on my life. I’m happy to report that talents by virtue of the time, place, circumstance and
I think it’s pretty awesome. Not because I’ve lived in natural endowments God gave you at birth! A child turn-
three foreign countries and visited 24 others, earned a ing one year old today could—in theory say her life is as
couple of degrees and won a few awards, or not even awesome as mine!
because of my cute little family. I thank God for all of Often, when we take stock of our lives, either on our
these things, but my life is awesome in much more birthdays, or when some new benchmark comes to our
basic ways. attention—like a friend buys a new car, or a neighbor
Not that I take any credit for this. Almost daily, I pause goes on a cruise to Antarctica —we fail to acknowl-
to think about the grand opportunity that I’ve been edge the 10 talents we started out with at birth. In-
given to have this awesome life. If any number of things stead, we’re more inclined to identify certain talents we
that are totally out of my control were different, I’d weren’t given, or to completely miss the mark and dwell
venture to say my life would not be so awesome. For on stuff and things that have nothing to do with talents
instance, imagine I were exactly who I am, but I had at all, evidenced by the fact that we think money can
been born in England in the 1600s. I wouldn’t have buy them. Instead of correctly understanding that we,
been able to go to school and use my God-given intel- as 10-talent people, have more than about 90 percent
lect. Let’s change another single fact: what if I were of the world’s population, we tend to overlook entirely
exactly who I am but had lingered just a little too long our 10 talents and compare ourselves to everyone else
in the womb and, denied of oxygen, been born with in the 10-talent group. Compared to this elite group, we
a limited capacity for learning. Yea, that would have don’t rank so high and it leaves us feeling deprived. It’s
changed a few things. a very clever optical illusion that distracts us from the
It’s not just me though. If you’re reading this, your life truth of our privileged position.
is probably just as awesome as mine.


• Were you born in the 20th or 21st century?

• Were you born in a developed country? Where 10-talent people
rank compared to the
• Can you read? world’s population
• Do you speak the world’s dominant language – hint:

you’re reading it right now? 1.0

• Do you have the means and intelligence to access
the Internet?
• Do you live where you can attend a church service 0.6
without fear of imprisonment or other persecution?
• Are you reading this while enjoying decent health
with functional eye sight? 0.2
• Will you turn off lights before you get into an actual

bed tonight? 0.0

• Will you wake tomorrow morning with a very good
probability of having the means to eat three meals?
Where I feel I rank
• Added to all these favorable conditions, do you have compared to the
at least one talent or skill, such as athletic, mechan- 10-talent segment
ical, musical or artistic ability, good organizational,
interpersonal or communication skills?

GM : 05
A birthday is a great time to step way back, look at the
big picture and see that as 10-talent people, we are
truly blessed. Recognizing and then really letting it sink
in are just the first steps. The bigger issue is this: What
are we going to do with those talents? This might be a
good time for a short story:

There was a man who was “about to go “His master said to him, ‘Well done,
on a journey, who called his own slaves good and faithful slave. You were faith-
and entrusted his possessions to them. ful with a few things, I will put you in
“To one he gave five talents, to another, charge of many things; enter into the
two, and to another, one, each accord- joy of your master.’
ing to his own ability; and he went on “And the one also who had received the
his journey. one talent came up and said, ‘Master,
“Immediately the one who had received I knew you to be a hard man, reaping
the five talents went and traded with where you did not sow and gathering
them, and gained five more talents. where you scattered no seed.
“In the same manner the one who had ‘And I was afraid, and went away and
received the two talents gained two hid your talent in the ground. See, you
more. have what is yours.’
“But he who received the one tal- “But his master answered and said to
ent went away, and dug a hole in the him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew
ground and hid his master’s money. that I reap where I did not sow and
gather where I scattered no seed.
“Now after a long time the master of
those slaves came and settled accounts ‘Then you ought to have put my money
with them. in the bank, and on my arrival I would
have received my money back with
“The one who had received the five interest.
talents came up and brought five more
talents, saying, ‘Master, you entrusted ‘Therefore take away the talent from
five talents to me. See, I have gained him, and give it to the one who has the
five more talents.’ ten talents.’
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, “For to everyone who has, more shall be
good and faithful slave. You were faith- given, and he will have an abundance;
ful with a few things, I will put you in but from the one who does not have,
charge of many things; enter into the even what he does have shall be taken
joy of your master.’ away.
“Also the one who had received the two “Throw out the worthless slave into the
talents came up and said, ‘Master, you outer darkness; in that place there will
entrusted two talents to me. See, I have be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
gained two more talents.’ (Matt 25:14-30) NASB

GM : 06
Gads! What a scary ending. It puts the fear of God into of temporal importance to the neglect of things of
ya! Makes me want to be sure to use my talents cor- eternal importance, and the HS is saying gently, “Stop
rectly! working out so much and get to work for me!” Or “Quit
My birthday is also a great time to read the ticker tape that silly job and ‘cuz I have a job for you to do.” Or
and see how my talents are doing. What am I doing to “Downsize so you don’t have to spend all weekend
multiple each of my 10 talents? This is an entirely dif- keeping up the yard and the boat and then you’ll have
ferent set of questions than the ones we used to iden- more time for me.” Or “Move to the inner city, which
tify our talents. If God has entrusted me with these 10 will cut your commute by two hours a day, housing
things, how am I using them to His glory? Another way costs in half and then I’ll be able to better use you as
to ask this might be, What have I stored up for myself My witness to hurting people.” That nagging feeling of
in heaven? How am I putting to work my God-given dissatisfaction could be any number of things the Holy
capital to build stock in His kingdom? Spirit is trying to tell you. The important thing is to pay
attention to it, slow down, figure it out, then act on it so
Recall from the story, that as 10-talent people, more you won’t be all “woe is me” on your next birthday. Be
is expected of us: we are given our talents according careful though. Sin is crouching at the door to redirect
to our ability. If God picked us to be 10-talent people, that God inspired dissatisfaction and shift your focus to
we can’t worm our way out of being big producers with your position among the 10-talent people and to how
some measly excuse about our lack of ability. It was you rank against temporal benchmarks.
according to our ability that we received the talents.
Neither, as 10-talent people, can we compare ourselves Want more out of your life? Here’s the secret: Be faith-
to five and one talent producers and feel pretty good ful with a few things, and God will put you in charge of
about what we’re doing. many things.

Just as we are inclined to focus on the wrong scale

when estimating our talents, we are also inclined to an
errant perspective when we analyze how our talents are
yielding. We tend to focus on what we are doing with
our talents. We could more accurately assess our yield
by asking what we could be doing with our talents. We WHAT MORE
may feel good about using our organizational skills on
the church planning board, but could we also be orga- COULD YOU
nizing a city-wide furniture drive for the poor at Christ- BE DOING
mastime? We may feel good that we’re singing in the WITH YOUR
choir, but what about that song that God gave us that
remains in our head when it could be written, published TALENTS?
and enhancing the worship experience of thousands of
I’m no Madonna fan, never have been, but there is
something pretty amazing about Madonna that we
should all take note of: she’s not that talented. I have
personally known a hundred church choir singers with
talent superior to Madonna’s, as I’m sure you have. No
joke, I probably sing better than Madonna. So what

does she have that the rest of us singers don’t? Gump-
tion. And, am I grieved to say, in general, most of us
lack gumption.
If on your birthday, or any day, you have a nagging
feeling that you’ve not quite accomplished all you could
or should have by this age, that could be the voice of
the Holy Spirit saying gently, “Turn your television off
and get to work for me!” Don’t watch TV? Then maybe
you’ve allowed yourself to become too busy with things

GM : 07
The Dark Ninja Within
by Randy Kosloski
JAMES 1:14

When I was 8 years old I really wanted to be a ninja. I The flesh that we battle against can have various forms
had no desire to go through any of the work required to in any one person. It is likely that Henry had many
master the art of ninjitsu, so instead I decided I would ninjas, but Macho Man was his primary enemy.
just tell everyone that I was a ninja. I became an expert
I often wished I could have externalized Macho Man
mimicking the moves I saw in movies, making crazy
for Henry. If I could have metaphorically pulled Macho
sounds and talking enough talk to convince my friends
Man out of Henry, I could have said to Henry, “Look at
that I was a ninja. Amazingly they accepted it. Since
what Macho Man is making you do. Your marriages are
most of them knew me since I started walking, I’m not
destroyed. Your son is hurting; his example is broken.
sure that they actually believed that the same child,
Many women’s lives are destroyed... Get rid of Macho
somehow when they weren’t looking, trained to become
Man!” But just as I feared what I might be without my
a ninja master; nonetheless, they humored me.
dark ninja, Henry also depended on Macho Man for self-
Time passed and I lost my affinity for ninjas, but I found identity and for his concept of masculinity. With nothing
that it wasn’t a simple matter of turning my back on a to replace MM, he was lost. The good news of the
childhood fantasy. The ninja within was refusing to be gospel of Christ, however, is that there is a replacement
ignored! The imposter in me kept kicking his way out for dark ninja, Macho Man, etc.
even after I wanted to be honest with my friends and
Bruxy Cavey is a teaching pastor at a church called
just be me. I suppose that I feared my friends would
The Meeting House in Oakville, Ontario (his podcasts
not accept me for who I was any longer. Because the
are free on iTunes and are worth a listen). In a pod-
ninja was more interesting, faster and stronger, I felt
cast series called “License to Sin,” he talks about this
the need to maintain the image. And thus the battle
battle between our flesh and our spirit. Bruxy explains
how the good in us (spirit) and the dark ninja (flesh)
Much like the battle between a geeky, 8-year-old boy are not equals. If we follow Christ, our spirit is much
and a ninja from the dark side shows, a battle between more powerful than any ninja. Our ability to access that
spirit and flesh affects us all. James 1:14 talks about power may wax and wane, but the potential is huge.
people being, “dragged away by their own evil desires He goes on to explain that we learn to better access
and enticed.” All people, Christian or not, often do not that power by learning to commune with God the Father
do the good they want to do (Romans 7:19). through Jesus the Son.
Henry possessed a similar dark ninja within. For him
it was a more of a macho-man. Father to a young
boy, he was a rich, shrewd businessman, as well as a
womanizer. He desperately wanted to do right by his
son and his wife, but it seemed that no matter what he MUCH MORE POWERFUL THAN ANY
did, he could not shake this macho-man image. NINJA.”
He grew up under a renowned genius, but uncommitted
father, which left Henry to figure out manhood all by
My ninja persona eventually slipped away and I cannot
himself. Heavily influenced by culture, Henry created a
say that I ever missed it. God met me where I was as
macho-man, ninja-type image for himself. He probably
a boy. Despite my lies and deceit, He helped me find
tried to use this persona to impress his father and
talents and friends that allowed me to shape a sense
draw closer to him. When it did not work, he tried even
of self-identity which was closer to reality. But the ninja
harder to be Mr. Macho Man. By the time he wanted to
is stealth-like warrior, so I had to be on my guard for
rid himself of this idiotic image, Macho Man was well-
several years afterward to be sure that it did not creep
entrenched and would not be ignored.
back into my life again. And I still occasionally ask
In the wake, Macho Man left behind broken marriages, myself if the spirit is the real me and not the ninja. My
a struggling son, numerous angry women, outstanding answer is, “God created mankind in his own image”
bills, and left Henry in a state of constant insecurity. (Genesis 1:27). And that I know of, God doesn’t swing
Barely treading water when he came to see me, nun chucks and creep around in a black jumpsuit and a
Henry needed me to get him through the next two ski mask!
months without doing anything stupid. Fortunately, we

GM : 09
★ Can You Relate ★

Side-stepping the snare oF


The world is full of dan-

—many that lurk within our own hearts. These
stealthy creatures subtly show themselves in our
attitudes, speech and actions, seeking to increase
their influence over all areas of our lives. Pride is
one such foe, as are bitterness, discouragement,
envy and the devious fiend of hypocrisy. The
bane of real spiritual growth and fruitfulness, this
cousin of pride covers our cankered hearts with
pretense and seeks to thwart the cleansing effect
of God’s forgiveness and the healing power of His
Hypocrisy can set up a stronghold within us. Its
walls are mortared with satisfaction over our ac-
complishments—evidence of our worth. Its roof is
an overarching sense of having achieved our own
righteousness, as if we can somehow placate God
with our own goodness. Yet far too many good
deeds we have done end up as headdresses of
shame rather than the crowns of glory we desire,
because we do not acknowledge the hidden agen-
das and false motives of our actions.

Thom Mollohan
GM : 10
Hypocrisy is revolting to God because it robs God of His anything that draws public attention. Public prayer, for
glory by shifting the focus to our “righteousness,” and instance, is simply one voice representing the petitions
because it hinders others in their pilgrimage to know of many to the Father. And there are plenty of ways
God. Hypocrisy distorts the perception of God, paint- to help others that inextricable from some degree of
ing Him with unholy hues that turn away those who do recognition. We don’t need to obsessively avoid being
not yet know Him. It also hinders other believers who found out for good deeds; we just need to be careful
are genuinely seeking God by dumping an ugly litter of not to perform them for the benefit of witnesses. If our
inconsistencies onto their paths. criterion for good deeds and prayer includes having a
Jesus warned against hypocrisy in the Sermon on the witness, then we are not really serving or worshiping
Mount: “Be careful not to practice your righteousness God; we are serving ourselves.
in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you The service or act of worship that furthers a deeper and
will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So more fruitful relationship with God is the one that is
when you give to the needy, do not announce it with done whether or not anyone else ever learns of it. The
trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and bottom line for spiritual integrity is this,
on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell
you, they have received their reward in full. But when
you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know “If no one else were to ever
what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may
be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done know that I prayed or gave
in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not or helped another, would
be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in
the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by
I still do it?” God should
others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward be so enthroned in my life
in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the that the only recognition
door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your
Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward for which I yearn is to hear
you” (Matthew 6:1-6). these words, “Well done,
Scripture encourages and exhorts us to do good deeds, good and faithful servant”
but it also pointedly reminds us that we perform them
for an audience of only One, who will be pleased by
our quiet and humble service. If we are sincerely doing (Matthew 25:21).
our good deeds for God’s glory, we won’t care about
getting credit, we won’t feel the need to toot our own
horns and we won’t go looking for pats on the back. “Yet a time is coming and
God forbid that we settle for such infantile spirituality by has now come when the
seeking the immediate gratification of others’ praise.
true worshipers will wor-
Whereas it is very good to praise others, knowing that
such encouragement may help strengthen weary backs
ship the Father in the
for the difficult path of life, it’s no good if our own Spirit and in truth, for
faithfulness hinges on praise and recognition. It is con- they are the kind of wor-
temptible to allow idols of selfishness magnify our own
accomplishments and then feel good about it. Not only shipers the Father seeks.
is this bad for us, it’s bad for other believers who may God is spirit, and his wor-
be tempted to criticize us, or worse, make their own
selfish idols, emulating someone they mistakenly believe
shipers must worship in
to be more spiritually mature. the Spirit and in truth”
In the same way, being able to deliver a decent public
prayer is not a benchmark of spirituality, nor does it en-
dear us to our Maker. Beware also of undoing the good
(John 4:23-24).
of a prayer made in private by a prideful, public declara-
tion of it once it has been answered. “You got the job? I Be renewed today with a true desire to know God
prayed that you would!” As if God were waiting for us to and to seek His good will above the mundane
chime in before He responded! praises and rewards on which the world thrives.
That doesn’t mean, however, that we should avoid

GM : 11
Did you know that on cold nights indigenous Australians The same thing goes for any of the classic spiritual
used to sleep in a hole in the ground all curled up and disciplines: meditation, contemplation, solitude,
snugly with a dingo? If it was a bit colder, they’d sleep prayer, silence, service, celebration, etc. All involve the
with two dogs. If it was really cold, it was a three whole person, and through belief they can provide an
dog night. Incidentally, that’s where the band Three experience of union with God.
Dog Night got its name. Apparently their music was
supposed to conjure up the experience of being in a
But mention spiritual disciplines and people usually
dark hole with wild dogs…not that there’s anything
think of monks flogging themselves. That’s why I’m
wrong with that. But I digress.
into spiritual experimentation. Experimenting is just
more fun than spiritual discipline or spiritual formation.
You know, nobody has ever heard of a three theology How many people would have experimented with
book night or a three philosophy book night, unless drugs or lesbianism in college if their friends were like,
maybe you’re burning the books to stay warm. Now, I “We hope you will join us for our weekly marijuana
like to read theology and philosophy, but when it comes discipline group on Saturday and our lesbian formation
to my religion, I need way more than ideas about God. group on Wednesday.” Experimentation lacks any real
I need experience. I need to eat and drink and breathe commitment. The pressure’s off. With it you’re not
God—to know Him in the Biblical sense. I want to be signing up for a way of life; but if you don’t try it, you’ll
a monk the way Anthony Bourdain is a chef. That’s my never know if you like it or not.
kind of spirituality—raw, real and sensual. I want to dive
naked into the divine and live to tell about it.
And yet, as Kierkegaard said, “If I am capable of EXPERIMENTATION, AND THE EXPERIENCE
grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely OF THOSE WHO HAVE EXPERIMENTED WITH
because I cannot do this I must believe.” However,
through belief there is experience. ME, HAS BEEN LIKE MAKING A LITTLE TEAR
Here’s an example that’s foundational for what I call
spiritual experimentation. I’m not a dualist. I don’t HOLE, YOU INEVITABLY MAKE THE TEAR
believe that humans are spirits trapped in bodies. I A LITTLE BIGGER SO YOU CAN SEE
believe that we are spiritual physical beings, or a unified
whole. We’re essentially living dirt. We’re the nexus of
heaven and earth. As a result, when I fast, my spirit
fasts. By definition, what I do with my body affects my
spirit. As a Christian Existentialist, I also believe that the So why not give it a shot? Try meditating for 30 minutes
power of my spirit being united with God’s Spirit affects every day for a week. Just sit with the awareness
my body. So, during a fast I can have a real, emotional, that God is all around you and in you. I’ll bet your
physical experience with the divine through belief. perception during the other 23.5 hours will start to
change appreciably. Then dabble with solitude or silence
or my favorite spiritual discipline, celebration. Share
From what I’ve read, the digestive system—stomach,
your results with me at,
intestines, etc. —contains what amounts to a second
or share them with other experimenters and learn from
nervous system that matches the spinal cord and brain
more experienced dabblers.
in the amount of nerve endings. This second nervous
system apparently affects our feelings and sense of
well being at the seat of our emotions. Kind of makes Maybe that tear in the fabric of reality will get so big
sense when you think about the circumstance you’re in and so much light will come through that you’ll realize
when you feel what you feel. Stress and nervousness you are living and breathing in the very words of God.
are certainly gut feelings, and the feeling of love is Maybe you’ll see Him speaking to you through crape
experienced in the same place we get heartburn. The myrtles and dinner parties. And maybe when life gets
kinds of things we feed this system affect our moods cold and dark, the embrace of your heavenly Father
and emotions, and the occasional flush or pure diet will keep you warm through the night. Maybe...then
optimizes the system. That could be the sum total of again, maybe it’s all nerve endings and an overactive
the experience of fasting, but I choose to believe there’s imagination. In that case you might want to try some
a spiritual reality involved as well. dingoes.

GM : 13
JOHN 11:35

by Rob Beames
GM : 14
For being the shortest verse in Bible, it’s amazing how This was the weight which broke the heart of Jesus—no
many lengthy discussions it’s inspired. Maybe we just like more, no less.
to complicate things, especially when talking about God,
Undoubtedly God is saddened by our sinful existence here
or maybe, as men, we’re fascinated with what looks like a
in this life, but we don’t need to explore His sovereign
character flaw in Jesus. Whereas there’s plenty to discuss
attributes in order to explain His human reactions. In fact,
about this verse, it’s really not that complicated.
we may miss the most potent message of this seemingly
Simply stated: Jesus wept because His heart broke. insignificant verse if we travel too far down that road.
There’s really no need to take it any further than that. For
The amazing theological implications of these two words
some who have difficulty connecting with their emotions,
are quite simply boiled down to this: Although Jesus
it may not make much sense; but for everyone else it’s
never ceased to be God, at one specific point in time,
simple. His heart breaks and the tears flow.
He also became entirely human and walked the earth.
There’s also a simple reason why we try to complicate He became human enough to die and human enough to
this verse: It’s because it’s impossible to wrap our minds have His heart broken. That makes Him human enough
around the concept of God. That is as it should be. God’s to be intimately acquainted with our agony, hardship or
incomprehensibleness is part of what makes Him God. We deep-seated grief.
may struggle to balance the divine nature of Jesus with
Maybe what throws us off track is that we know Jesus
His human nature, but in fact, it’s more than a struggle,
planned to bring Lazarus back from the dead. He cited
it’s genuine futility. And yet we keep on… in an effort to
it as the reason He delayed going to him for two days,
reach a comfortable conclusion.
so that the Son of God would be glorified. Why cry if
One of the explanations for this verse is that Jesus wept you know the end game, right? We should not let this
because sin introduced death into our world, and it was truth overshadow the fact that Jesus lived bound by the
not intended to be this way, so this saddened Him. Hmm, confines of time and biology. His knowledge of the future
I don’t so. How much sense would it make for Jesus to would not have shielded Him from the intensity of grief,
be pondering the ramifications of sin’s effect on the world any more than knowing we will rise again protects us
while He hugged His beloved friend Mary as she violently from grieving one of our own deceased loved ones.
sobbed with grief? Imagine your best friend coming to
This is part of how Jesus is not only perfect as God but
you in a time of great sorrow saying, “I’m sad, because it
also perfect in the human sense. His comfort for us in
isn’t right that there is pain in the world like yours.” What
this life is sufficient and complete; it is based in the
kind of friend would that be? No one is ever comforted
foundational experience of a heart utterly broken. His
by a philosophical world view. We are comforted when
tears flow with ours out of His great love for us—a love
people allow our pain to break their hearts because they
as great as it was for Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Knowing
deeply love us. We are encouraged when people care
the end game doesn’t shield Him from sharing the pain of
enough about us to suffer along with us, even though
those that He deeply loves. Our God not only suffered for
it’s not their struggle. We are moved by a love that takes
us but suffers with us until the perfectly appointed time
the heavy burden of grief on its shoulders when it could
at which He will right all things.
just walk away.
Don’t overanalyze it. Jesus wept because He cared
When Jesus looked into the face of His dear friend Mary,
deeply then to the same degree He cares about us now.
she must have pierced His heart with her intense, painful
(I believe He wanted me to remind you of this.)
gaze of grief for her brother’s death. Being 100 percent
human—not simply cloaked in humanness as a disguise—
Jesus felt Mary’s pain. He hurt because of her anguish.


GM : 16
In Psalm 42:1-3 King David said, “As the deer pants for
streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My
soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go
2. It doesN'T happen overnight.
Addictions are not instantaneous, generally, and
and meet with God? My tears have been my food day
most people do not set out to become addicted to
and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where
something. It begins as a simple, conscious decision
is your God?’”
to try something to see if it satisfies. It may not even
David was a man who longed for God, comparing his be something we enjoy in the beginning. We might be
thirst for God to that of a deer dying of thirst. He is merely trying to fit in, but as time goes on, it becomes
broken to the point of despair. His longing for God is so something we need and our desire for it builds. Take
great that he cries day and night. Now that is a fervent the way most people become addicted to caffeine, for
desire for God. example. We grow accustomed to the caffeine buzz and
I am part of a men’s Bible study that meets weekly. in time may not even notice it, but when we forget our
This past week our leader made the comment, almost coffee or Red Bull in the morning, we realize later—
in passing, that we ought to be addicted to God. While around noon—how severely we miss it. This was not
the comment was not meant to spark a discussion, true when we first began consuming the drug, but our
that’s exactly what it did. This group of men, ranging reliance on it grew steadily from day one. After a while
in age from 17 to 59, has a lot of experience with it becomes necessary to our daily function, as was
addiction. Bondage to alcohol, sex, drugs, pornography David’s desire for God in the above Psalm. Whereas
and various other addictions have left a mark on these a new believer may not experience thirst at all if he
men’s lives. So, the concept of becoming addicted to misses a day or two of communion with God, as one
God was an intriguing thought in a group like this. deepens in his relationship, the longer we go without
communion with God, the more intense the thirst for
The more I have pondered this word picture, the more
I like it. Yet, it isn’t perfect. As do most analogies, at
some points it breaks down, but in general, it enlightens
how we ought to relate to our God. I found three key
correlations between addiction and following Christ. 3. The more we get, the more
1. People who areN'T addicted we want.
Anyone who has ever had an addiction will readily

can't make sense of it. identify with this. We can quickly get to the point where
a little bit no longer satisfies; we have an all-consuming
desire for more. As it relates to God, we might echo
Ever notice that addiction appears foolish to those not
experiencing it? We have difficulty making sense of a the words of David, “O God, you are my God; earnestly
loved one struggling with alcoholism. We can easily see I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints
the cause and its devastating effects, and we come to for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no
the reasonable conclusion that the addiction is a prob- water” (Psalm 63:1 ESV). Addiction to God will lead us
lem. We understand that it is simply illogical to continue to longing for Him.
on such a destructive path. So, if we are addicted to The word “addiction” is most useful for bringing to mind
following Christ, it makes sense that unbelievers will see a very real picture of dependence. To be addicted to
our actions as absurd in the same way we might con- something is to rely on it, or to greatly value it. It is
sider the ways of an alcoholic absurd. Paul confirms this essentially an act of worship. Our fullest worship, or
in 1 Corinthians 1:18-19: “For the message of the cross our strongest addiction, should be to our glorious God.
is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who Only then can we sing with David as he continues in
are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: the above Psalm, “I have seen you in the sanctuary
‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence and beheld your power and your glory. Because your
of the intelligent I will frustrate.’” love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will
Few would look at the life of a true believer and say, praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift
“That makes sense. I need to do that. Let me lay aside up my hands. I will be fully satisfied as with the richest
my goals, priorities, my wealth, and receive no earthly of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you”
reward for it. What a great idea!” It doesn’t make (Psalm 63:2-5).
sense, because unless we have been given—by the And that point, about being fully satisfied, is where the
enlightenment of the Holy Spirit—eyes to see the glory addition analogy breaks down. Only when we long for
of Christ and the insignificance of all else (Philippians God, will we find our satisfaction in Him.
3:8), a life transformed by the Gospel appears foolish.

GM : 17


Danger, warning, corrosive, flammable, irritant,
hazardous, poison, explosive, harmful, and yet, right
under your sink, or in your garage. You’d be surprised
Get ready to hurl.
how many household items have those words on them. There are some things we can do to prepare chemicals
From leftover paint to used cooking oil, and all kinds for disposal. For example certain glues and paints
of batteries in between, there is just a whole lot of become safe if you let them dry out first. Examine labels
trash you can’t throw in the can. Okay, you can, but it’s for how to properly dispose of the product. It’s a boring
neither legal, ethical or moral to do so if you know to read, but it’s the responsible thing to do. Some items
do otherwise. You don’t have to be a tree-hugger to do can be returned to the store when you are done. For
right by your garbage. Here are some common sense example, when you buy a new car battery, they normally
tips that can keep the harmful impact of our modern recycle the old one for you. And did you know that you
chemistry at a minimum. can take old rechargeable batteries to Radio Shack, or
old printer cartridges to Staples? Find a recycling center
and inquire if they have a household hazardous waste
Think twice before you buy. (HHW) disposal day. A student organization I’m in hosts
an electronic waste disposal day twice a year on our
Maybe you don’t really need a high-powered chemical;
campus. Your area may have similar events. Log on to
can you get the job done with a little more elbow
grease? Or maybe a less “powerful” product, like soap, type in what you’d like to recycle and
your ZIP code to find a nearby location. For batteries
or laundry detergent? If the answer is no, purchase the
and cell phones check out Just
smallest amount of product that will do the job. Here’s
enter your ZIP code to find a nearby recycling location.
one time when paying for 12 ounces and getting 16 is
not a great idea… if you only need two ounces. Also
check to see if there is a formula that is less toxic. Lots
The City of Phoenix has an excellent guide on
of companies are becoming environmentally responsible
how to properly dispose of various household
and cutting down or out all together on their use of the
products, explanations of why they are dangerous and
worst of the worst still-legal pollutants.
recommendations of nontoxic alternatives. And what
about alternatives? Grandparents can serve as an
excellent resource for this sort of thing. Ask them what
Make it good to the last drop.
they used before modern cleaning products. You can
If you do buy, making sure you use all the product clean a lot with simple solutions using cheap and readily
before throwing it away helps keep harmful ingredients available ingredients like baking soda, salt, vinegar and
away from the environment. Give it some thought, it’s borax (yes, you can buy borax at the grocery store!).
not the packaging that’s a hazmat, it’s what’s inside. The The Sierra Club has a downloadable pamphlet with
residue of harmful chemicals won’t do as much harm some simple recipes and uses.
as a partial or full bottle would. If you find yourself stuck
with a product you really only needed for one occasion,
try taking it to church to give away, offering it to a
neighbor, or if it’s not prohibited by law in your state,
selling it at a garage sale for a quarter.

GM : 18