…the empty old

Ya, I still find myself sitting and staring at the TV screen for hours, or looking in the app store at the latest rpg games, or distracting myself in book n of some fiction sequel. Then I stop and wonder, wtf? Why do I ever consider going back, crawling back – even for a moment – to these proven empty old habits, when what I have found – what God was shown me, given me just a taste of – is so much more joy-filled and intense?

Look, I’m sure [insert any out-of-market hockey team in round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs] needs my support, and those in-app purchases might be worth it if recreation is desperately needed, and Bernard Cornwell appreciates my reading yet another Saxon Tales story (they are very good!), BUT, frankly, too much of a good thing is still a bad thing.

I’ve spent so much of this life – and I really don’t consider it wasted time – searching hard for the path God set for me. It’s like Bilbo and the dwarves traveling through Mirkwood. “Don’t lose the path, or you’ll never find it again.” Except, of course, God put me back on it – at the bottom of a cliff, so to speak; like when the hobbits fall down the hill in Fellowship. (Is mixing LoTR movie scenes like mixing metaphors?) (Speaking of which, how many times have I watched those six movies?)

But, getting back to the point of this post… In Step 11 (“we sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God…”), the first part of Colossians 3:16 is the associated verse: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. But for me, the rest of that verse is key:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

And Ephesians 5:18-20:

And do not be drunk (any more, for me) with wine…; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

I spend time in God’s word. I sing and worship and praise God at church and Celebrate Recovery up to 3 times a week. I write for Sharing God’s Story several times a week. I’m trying to put together a book of recovery tools. I fellowship at small group and step study and individual contacts. I offer to share my testimony and thereby give hope to others. I schedule interactive time with my wonderful wife and otherwise love just being with her. And God provides. Yet, my eyes and attention still wander to the shiny things and past-times of this world – the empty old, and I have to draw them away with great intentionality. One moment, one day at a time.

I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do the good I want to do, and I do the evil I hate.

In my mind, I am happy with God’s law.

But I see another law working in my body. That law makes war against the law that my mind accepts. That other law working in my body is the law of sin, and that law makes me its prisoner.

So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is judged not guilty.

…God did what the law could not do: He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that everyone else uses for sin. God sent him to be an offering to pay for sin.

But if your thinking is controlled by the Spirit, there is life and peace.

But if you use the Spirit’s help to stop doing the wrong things with your body, you will have true life.

– verses from Romans 7 and 8, Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

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