Chronic gamblers know the feeling. It’s a relentless compulsion that overtakes them to beg, borrow, mortgage or steal money to put down on the next “sure thing”. They get a rush out of the exhilaration of winning after they’ve laid it all on the line. This is called “chasing it”. This phenomenon is very similar to one I have seen in so many people in the church for decades.
It is my contention that many people who have come and gone from the Christian faith had the spiritual strain of the “chasing it” virus. I have seen so many who need the mountaintop experiences of life in order to keep them strong in their faith. Unfortunately, these experiences cannot be sustained. It’s simply not possible. When life happens, they don’t go digging into God’s word or spend time in prayer. Instead, they look for some conduit which will transport them to their next spiritual euphoria. So many wolves in sheep’s clothing have preyed upon this brand of people by promising them the emotional high they so desperately seek. So many theatrical “preachers” have gone on TV and appeared in all the big arenas applying their trade which have left more destruction in their wake than anything of value.
We are human. Emotional experiences are a manifestation of triumph and tragedy in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, in serving God, we are not to go “chasing it”.
Despite how our culture has defined joy, it is not about always being happy. When my mom passed away one year ago this week, believe me, I wasn’t happy about it. I knew she was finally whole and in the presence of Jesus, but I was sad for my personal loss. Joy was the peace I had in knowing two things. My mom was with Jesus, and Jesus was with me.
Philippians 4:4-8 says this;
4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
When, not if, but when you find your faith and emotional gas tank on empty, follow these three steps:
- Rejoice in the knowledge of God’s love for you. God’s value and His love for you doesn’t fluctuate based on your circumstances.
- Don’t take it out on others. Be humble and gentle to everyone. Take comfort in knowing God is with you and He knows your hurt.
- Don’t stress out. Rather than worry, pray with a thankful heart. He knows your heart. He wants to bless you. He wants you to give it to Him.
When you do these things, you will find that your instinctive nature will fall subject to God’s nature. You will find peace which defies human logic. When you put God first, He will do what only He is capable of doing and He will protect you and work on your behalf. Frankly, I prefer what He can do over what I can without exception.
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace.