November 10 “Religious addiction?” & LINKUP

addiction[1]Can religion be an addiction? Can it offer an escape from reality? And if so, what would a religious addiction look like?

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 11 & 12
Psalm 22.1-5
Proverbs 28.17-18
Hebrews 6.1-20

 

Ezekiel 11 & 12:

He said … we said

The Israelites thought they were in charge of their own lives. They frequently decided they had a better idea of what they needed and where they would find the answers to their problems than God did!

So instead of seeking God, they followed after idols. Instead of trusting God for their provision, they pleaded with fertility gods, even participating in sexual immorality as part of their pagan worship. When God said, if you continue going this way, I’m going to allow you to go into captivity, they said, we can avoid the consequences of our actions by relying on own clever schemes. We can cover our sins instead of repenting from them, align ourselves with pagan nations when we come under attack, and only listen to the “prophets” who tell us what we want to hear.

Sound familiar? It should.

God said, marriage is a covenant and should not be broken except in the case of sexual immorality (Matt. 5.32). We said, we’ll make “no fault” divorce the law of the land.

God said, don’t have sex outside of marriage (Gal. 5.19). We said, we’ll use condoms and birth control pills and we won’t have to suffer the consequences of pregnancy and AIDS.

God said life is precious; I created it and knew you even before you were formed in your mother’s womb (Ps. 139). We said it’s not a baby and we can abort it any time we like.

God said, don’t covet (Ex. 20.17). We said, we’ve got to keep up with the Jones.

God said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord” (Eph. 6.1). We said, “It’s my life. I can do whatever I want!”

Mankind has not changed, but neither has God; His answers are still the same—turn from evil and from going our own way, seek God and obey Him, and receive His grace and forgiveness.

But as we’ll see in our Psalms reading, sometimes we can look good in all those obvious areas, and just be a different kind of idolater.

 

religious pious prayingPsalm 22.1-5:

Religious addiction

Verse 1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD.’”

As Christians there should be a joy associated with going to church and worshipping with other believers. If we dread going to church and find any excuse to stay home, we need to check our hearts. Someone once said, “If you don’t want to spend time with believers here on earth, there is little chance you will be with them for eternity.”

While going to church doesn’t save us and He doesn’t love us less if we miss a service, it is part of living an obedient life before Him. And yet, we can be deceived into believing going to church doesn’t really matter.

We can become “ok” with other areas of sin, as well, by deciding it is justified in our case or comparing ourselves to others and saying, “At least, I’m not that bad.”

Not forgiving because of how deeply we’ve been hurt.

Gossiping under the guise of “prayer requests,” while ignoring any conviction.

Excusing pornography or self-pleasure because our spouse isn’t providing what we feel we need. And a host of other secret sins.

Just like the Israelites in Jeremiah’s and Ezekiel’s day, we can have these areas of our lives that are not submitted to God and not only feel “ok” about them, but be downright self-righteous and judgmental about the sins of others, especially unbelievers, speaking out loudly against those who say abortion if ok or practice homosexuality, often very harshly.

How does that happen?

Mike Wilkerson in his book Redemption, talks about something he calls “Religious Addiction.”

Definitions of addiction include words like habit, obsession, and dependence. It denotes a compulsive need or dependence on something. It usually involves a certain lifestyle, hanging out with other people who do the same, and talking the way they talk. It offers an escape from reality.

Wilkerson says, “The religious addict escapes the reality of his own sin … If he doesn’t deny his sin altogether, he finds some way to justify himself, often by noticing how he’s not as bad as the next guy. He’s not like those heathen.” He goes on to explain that a religious addict will, among other things, adopt the lingo and much of the lifestyle of other religious people. He says, “These are his ‘sacrifices’ to gain his god’s favor and retain his righteous standing,” because like any addiction, it’s a form of idolatry. Religious addicts are often blind to their own problems.

eye chart eye testBut we don’t have to be a religious addict to have blind spots where we are not worshipping God as we should; where we’re going through the motions; where we’re speaking the lingo, but not living a Christ honoring life.

In Psalm 86.11 the psalmist said, “Unite my heart to fear Your name.” We can have “rooms” in our hearts that are off-limit to God. In effect we say, “I’ll do this, this, and this or quit doing this and this, but I’m going to do what I want in this area.”

Let’s examine ourselves in light of God’s Word to make sure we are not just “religious addicts” or idolaters and pray that God would help us see those “rooms” in our own hearts where we have locked God out.

 

Proverbs 28.17-18:

Walk blamelessly

Verse 18, “Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, but he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.”

Paul said it this way:

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Gal. 6.7-8).

 

baby bottleHebrews 6.1-20:

Don’t stop with the elementary principles of Christ

The last three verses of chapter 5 reminded us that we are not to be spiritual babies, but through practice—the doing of God’s Word—grow as believers. Here in the first three verses of chapter 6 we are told to build on the foundational truths of Scripture. Hebrews 6.1-3:

1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits.

We do that by meditating on His Word, by getting to know Him as God, by understanding and worshipping Him for His attributes, by putting off the old man and putting on the righteous habits of the new man (Eph. 4.22-24), by becoming more like Christ (Rom. 8.29), and by making it our goal in life to please Him (2 Cor. 5.9).

Blessings,
Donna

 

NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup, soul survival

Mondays @ Soul Survival

I try to read all the great posts linked up here (sometimes I do better than others). This week one of my favorites was “No Shades of Grey” by Aimee Imbeau from her blog “A Work of Grace.”

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I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
Mondays
Making Your Home Sing Mondays The Beauty in His Grip What Joy is Mine/Monday Musings A Proverbs 31 Wife Darling Downs Diaries
Tuesdays Rich Faith Rising Unite Linky Cornerstone Confessions Titus 2 Tuesday Teaching What is Good Time Warp Wife Solo Deo Gloria Sisterhood
Wednesdays Juana Mikels My Daily Walk in His Grace Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesdays Judith Whole Hearted Home A Little R & R So Much at Home Mom’s Morning Coffee
Thursdays Serving Joyfully/Thriving Thursdays 3-D Lessons for Life/Thought Provoking Thursdays Becoming a Godly Wife The Deliberate Mom/Shine Blog Hop I Choose Joy
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Sundays Spiritual Sundays Sunday Stillness

 

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20 thoughts on “November 10 “Religious addiction?” & LINKUP

  1. Another great post, Donna! I like how you addressed how we can become very judgmental of others and ignore our own sin that might not be ‘as bad’, according to our own logic.
    And thank you so much for highlighting my blog post! That means so much to me!

    • Aimee,
      We can get easily blinded, can’t we? I was glad to highlight your post. I have been grieved so often in the past when “mature Christians” believe they are enlightened enough to read and view certain things. Not only is it dangerous for us, but we can become a stumbling blocks to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
      Blessings,
      Donna

  2. Donna, thank you so much for the link-up, and for the reminder that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for their religious behavior while speaking to us about the importance of fellowship with Him. It’s all about relationship! How wonderful that the God of all creation wants communion with us. Amazing! Blessings.

    • Heather,
      Isn’t it so amazing the God all creation wants a relationship with us and was willing to die so we could have it! Have a blessed week!
      Donna

  3. Very good post….I was a bit convicted when you talked about going to church.

    Thank you for encouraging us to be blameless and examine our hearts!

    God bless!

  4. Wow, those are some big things you tackled…fearlessly, it seems. But you backed it with scripture. Makes me think of the Pharisee in Luke 18 who said, “Thank you God that I’m not like those people.” I think that we’re all guilty of that to an extent. And that is the sin of judgment, which is just as bad! Way to go. I’m always so intrigued by your studies. Thanks for sharing and thanks for hosting

    • Thank you, Mary. Sometimes I wonder if it’s that I just don’t have enough sense NOT to tackle big issues! LOL
      But God is faithful and I know it’s only Him who enables me to write anything about anything at all!
      Blessings,
      Donna

  5. Thank you for your careful study of scripture, Donna. It’s so easy to fall into religious addiction–or, the opposite, thinking we don’t need the fellowship of other believers. Thank you for pointing out the fallacy of both extremes.

  6. i love this! What you said about not wanting to attend church is huge! I try to explain to people that if being in a church service makes you feel uneasy, then it is just not the church for you, but all of them are not the same. Just like a home, a car, your next pair of shoes you have to find the one that is a proper fit for you and makes you feel right at home! Thanks for linking up this week! #SHINEbloghop

    • Bijee,
      Thanks for co-hosting the link-up this week and for visiting my little piece of the blogosphere.
      Blessings,
      Donna

    • Bekki,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. It’s good to know something was worth chewing on. Have a blessed week.:-)
      Donna

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