Addicted To The Present
“Let us eat and drink, you say, “for tomorrow we die! Isaiah 22:13
“For as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their God is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:18-21
You are a creature of the present! We all are. The present powerfully overrides the future; even when there is something future greatly anticipated which might be adversely impacted by what you do now. It is in your DNA which was enormously redirected by what happened in Eden. The fruit of the tree right in front of Eve’s eyes was more desirable for her to immediately satisfy her appetite of mind and body than God’s words of warning that there would be seriously bad consequences. We have Eve’s and Adam’s nature too, you know; subsequently, we always perceive the “need to satisfy a present demand even when it means sacrificing the future. Among those who do have an assurance of future eternal life, coming from trusting in the only way to life by faith in Jesus Christ, are terribly influenced by immediate desires. Again, it is an addiction of a fallen nature leading inevitably to pain when God’s warning is ignored.
The Apostle Paul writes that we ought to “fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18) That is the rub, isn’t it? The seen is too powerful to fight, unless faith is even more powerful. The addiction of the seen and the present must be broken by what is infinitely more important. This is what faith is about.
The PAYH works with young men to whom the addiction of the present is the predominant force in their life. Six or eighteen months are to them a lifetime away. So the contemplation or possibility of eternal life or a transformed life (which is an unknown to them) isn’t even on their radar screen, especially if it can’t happen or be experienced today with the click of a finger. After all, life transformation by its very nature needs to be lived out to experience the transformative changes as it faces the demands of life in one challenge after another. The demands of what they have already known are powerful forces which dominate daily dreams and desires. “Feed the appetite, their mind and body cry out, “the future can take care of itself. The prevailing thinking is I will cross that bridge when I come to it in the future, while the future keeps getting pushed off by the ever-rolling present.
In a recent article in Science Observer entitled “Addicts Bet on the Present the author wrote, “Humans can use abstract ideas to veto their biological instincts. You can go on a hunger strike until literally you die in pursuit of an idea. There’s no other animal on the planet that can do that,” explains Read Montague, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Addicts seem to lose some of this capacity, he says: “What it means to be an addict is that consequences that might happen in the future—good things that you may forgo, or bad things that you may not be able to avoid—can no longer stop you from chasing your habit.”
Yet in varying forms this malediction of addiction to the present, even when the addiction is not necessarily substance abuse, rears its ugly head in all of our lives. It will be so until eternity’s promise is so overwhelmingly present and desirable in you that it literally slays the addiction of the seen and those temptations dissipate as not worthy of consideration. The addiction of the present ought to be anticipated in your heart and mind simply because staying in God’s Word will not let you forget it. His Word is an ever-present “light to your path. It shines a light on the present that puts it in right perspective. It is like a “blue light that shows things your naked eye will not pick up without. Do not be misled; even a Christian fights addiction to the present. The addiction can only be broken by another habit, the habit of being in the Word, the discipline of your faith, and the constant of being in prayer. They NEVER become unnecessary in combatting addiction to the present. Be addicted rather to the future; the future of eternity with Christ. Never let that out of your sight.
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