Here’s the approach I’ve been taking with the Harry Potter books over the past few days – read a book and immediately moving to the next. This is totally unlike the fanatics (AKA crazy fans) who blitzed through the books as soon as they are released, who go to the theater at midnight to see the first showing, etc… When I went to the Library last week and checked out the first four for the Thanksgiving holidays I had no idea that I would be out of the office this far into this week. Apparently I have some sort of upper respiratory infection and I’m miserable and sick and tired. And I actually didn’t read at all on Thanksgiving or the day after due to one small boy named Matt (my nephew) – but that’s another story. The HP saga is engaging and draws in the reader; it seems to cause me to want to know more… I guess you could say it is an addiction, if I allow it to be.
Another recent addition is Angry Birds (it’s a smartphone game – with the time-wasting potential of Facebook’s FarmTown without the buying and selling and repetitious clicking to plant and plow and harvest and chop and … you get the idea…) Today they released the Christmas version – which unlocked a new level for each day of December. In the doctor’s office today I blasted through the first level and then had to resort to playing the old version to distract myself from the waiting room TV showcasing Rachael Ray’s cooking and Dr. Oz talking about bladder control and cholesterol and antioxidants – it was torture! (FYI – beans are better than broccoli, and beets are apparently wonderful for the human body.)
Where was I? oh yes, Angry Birds and Farmtown and the Harry Potter series. They are all addictive – like checking emailing and texting every few minutes, like adjusting your seatbelt multiple times while driving, like putting on lip balm multiple times each day, like unhealthy worrying about family and friends as a habit, like drugs and alcohol and sex and pornography and many other behaviors when can easily identify in others as addictions.
Guess what friends – each of these can be distractions from our primary purpose on Earth – to glorify God. If I’m thinking about a friend or family member more than God, they may be an idol. If I’m more concerned with checking my phone for an email or text than reading God’s word, it’s probably an idol. If I zone out playing Angry Birds, there are surely more positive things I can do with my brain and my time – like praying or talking to the crazy women in the doctor’s office waiting room who was probably really lonely.
If I have an addiction, God breaks those – they are sometimes called ‘strongholds’ in the Bible. This was the main theme of a couple of great Bible studies I did over the past couple of summers – taking control of your thought closet and determining and taking down the idols in your life. II Cor 10:4 says we have His power to DESTROY strongholds in our lives. Read this verse in the ESV and then read it in context in The Message – the imagery is vivid and strong and powerful and active – just like His Word, our sword.
2Cor 10:4 ESV
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.
2Cor:10:3-6 The Message
The world is unprincipled. It’s dog-eat-dog out there! The world doesn’t fight fair. But we don’t live or fight our battles that way—never have and never will. The tools of our trade aren’t for marketing or manipulation, but they are for demolishing that entire massively corrupt culture. We use our powerful God-tools for smashing warped philosophies, tearing down barriers erected against the truth of God, fitting every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ. Our tools are ready at hand for clearing the ground of every obstruction and building lives of obedience into maturity.