Contributor: Ryan Moffat, BS in Bible and Theology from Multnomah University. Pastor of Vast Church.
There are many different ideas that describe “the good life”. Most of them have to do with having lots of external power (over people), lots of money, financial freedom, and lots of social respect so people think you’re awesome, generally liked and pursued by your version of “successful” people. I rarely have heard of an “American Dream” version of life that places self at the bottom, others in the middle and God at the top but that is exactly what Scriptures present as “The Good Life”. In fact the Bible teaches that Jesus is unique as a “founder”, “leader” and “teacher” because of the “upside-down” nature of his teaching, His life and example. Listen to this passage from Philippians 2:
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus flips all conventional, human wisdom on its head and says that the best version of life isn’t a life of convenience, ease and shallow fun but rather a life of “self-emptying” in service to others. Think about addiction at its most fundamental level: is there anything more selfish than self-medicating your own mind, heart and soul so you don’t have to face reality? Too many people want to get free of the addiction but fail to realize that the addiction is only a symptom, not the ultimate problem. Treating addiction, instead of the real problem (self-love, self-protection, self-worship), is like going to the doctor to get your cancer treated and the doctor prescribing a Flintstone vitamin. It’s nice, but it’s not going to get the job done. Jesus is radical in his antidote to the myriad of self-destructive, self-sins and it isn’t a quick fix of “try-harder”, “do-better”…. it’s a radical re-orientation of all of life to repent of self-love and take on the same mind of Jesus. But it doesn’t just stop there, look at the next verse:
“Therefore God highly exalted him to the highest place. That at the name of Jesus every knee would bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory and praise of God.”
Jesus teaches us that the key to life is to lose it. The key to a life of influence, depth and meaning is to invest it in others. The way to find significance isn’t to chase significance but to chase God and others. The life that chases happiness at all costs (through chemicals, medications, food, sex or some other created thing) ironically never finds it. It’s only when you find your life surrendered to God (over and over again everyday) that you paradoxically find that the life you’ve been looking for is accessible. It’s only realized when you get lower not trying to make yourself higher. The key to conquering is ironically surrender. Life is best lived on our knees!
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Did you work to pursue the American dream? How has that changed in your addiction recovery?
About the Author:
Ryan received his BS in Bible and Theology and a minor in counseling from Multnomah University. He has pastored students, families and is passionate about Christ-centered recovery and healing. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Michelle for 13 years and they enjoy raising four crazy, unique and special kids together.
Ryan is the teaching pastor at Vast Church in Sisters, OR and is currently working on his Masters in Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, OR
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals. We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 18, 2015. Published on AddictionHope.com
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