The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Spiritual Help for Addicts

Using Psychedelic Drugs in Your Search for Healing & Truth: Why It’s a Bad Idea

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Throughout human history, the use of psychedelic drugs has been enormously popular.  Because humans feel that their earthsuits are a central part of their existence, they have always been intensely fascinated by anything which evokes strong sensations in their earthsuits.  A strong shot of caffeine can quickly result in an improved mood and a higher level of energy—what’s not to like about that?  The right kind of sexual stimulation can result in an intense orgasm, and many humans find themselves addicted to that particular kind of rush, while others prefer a good massage or a terrifying movie.  Just as you can cause your car’s engine to rev by pressing down on the accelerator while you’re in a neutral gear, there are many ways that you can rev your earthsuit.  You can stimulate it physically, sexually, emotionally or mentally.  And once you rev one area, the others will be affected as well.  But here’s where we come to the important question: what’s the value in intentionally jolting your earthsuit?  What’s the value of revving your car’s engine while it’s in a neutral gear?  Because you’re not in drive, you’re not moving forward, you’re just forcing the machine to exhaust itself by going through useless motions.  What happens if you keep the accelerator pressed all the way down while the car is stuck in neutral?  Eventually you’ll do damage to the machine, because cars were designed for specific purposes and they have limitations.  If you don’t respect those purposes or those limitations, you’ll end up permanently damaging the car until it can no longer do what it was designed to do.  In the same way, if you don’t respect the purposes or limitations of the earthsuit God has given you and if you go through life forcing it to rev just because you can, you will end up permanently damaging it.  Read more of this post

Understanding Repentance

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TWO WAYS TO JUDGE

God judges you by your soul’s response to Him.  Once God establishes a relationship with you, you constantly make choices about how you will treat Him in that relationship, and those choices are what determine whether God is pleased or displeased with you.

Humans judge you by how you behave—especially by how you behave towards other humans.  Humans have strong opinions about how you ought to treat them, and if you don’t meet their expectations, then they dislike you.  Read more of this post

Temporary Deliverance: How to Interpret the Return of Old Struggles

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For thirty years, John has been owned by his addiction to alcohol.  He just can’t stop getting plastered, and his addiction has ruined his life.  One day John is sobbing alone on the floor of his ratty apartment and feeling totally overwhelmed by his own worthlessness.  He cries out to Jesus in desperation and asks Him to have His way with what’s left of John’s shattered existence.  Much to John’s shock, a miraculous feeling sweeps through his body and suddenly the constant craving for alcohol is gone.  Not only that, but the horrible depression that’s always hanging over him also vanishes.  John feels like a crushing boulder has been lifted off of him.  He’s a new man, and for two whole years life is glorious.  But then John’s circumstances take a turn for the worst and he finds himself greatly stressed.  Much to his horror, that old craving starts rearing its ugly head again and soon John finds himself in a bar getting drunk.  What happened?  Has Jesus rejected him? Read more of this post

The Inner Room: Understanding How God Judges You

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Suppose you have a newlywed friend named Chad.  Chad says that his wife means the world to him, but then you see him making out with another woman in his car.  Are you going to believe Chad’s claim to love his wife?  Not really.

Humans put behavior above words in importance.  Because we can’t see into each other’s souls, and because we know what chronic little liars we all are, we don’t put much trust in words.  We put very little value on intentions.  It’s what you actually did that matters, not what you wanted to do.  Mike desperately wants to kick his addiction to alcohol, but it’s just not in him.  How much does his wife Sara care about Mike’s desire to improve?  Well, all Sara sees is what a monster Mike turns into when he’s plastered.  It’s Mike’s behavior that Sara judges him by, and as far as she is concerned, his actions prove that his claims to want to get better are just a lie.  After all, if Mike really wanted to stop drinking, he’d find a way.  He wouldn’t just talk about it.  This is how humans judge each other: actions trump intentions.  When Marsha finds out that Joe cheated on her, she’s so hurt that she won’t even listen to his excuses.  As far as she’s concerned, there is no justification for his behavior.  If he really loved her, he’d be faithful.  And yet is life really this simple?  Is it true that merely wanting something bad enough will magically give us the resources to make that something happen?  No, it’s not. Read more of this post

The Great Gift of Sin: Why Our Depravity Gives Us Hope

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Ever feel confused about the topic of sin? You should, because it is confusing. Ever feel like God is impossible to please? It’s only natural to arrive at that conclusion once you understand a few things about how He defines sin. In this post, we’re going to sort out the confusion that leads to you feeling depressed and hopeless about ever being good enough in God’s eyes and help you understand how easy He is to succeed with. We’ll also learn why salvation is a permanent deal, and not some flimsy thing that you have to worry about losing through bad behavior.

In the Church today, various Christian denominations take drastically different stands on the subjects of sin and salvation. Some insist that it’s possible for you to be sinless. Many teach that unless you continuously strive and strain to be good, God will revoke your salvation and disown you. Cruise around the internet and you’ll find some very hostile language getting used on both sides as everyone insists that their views are right and everyone else is speaking for Satan. If Christian leaders can’t agree with each other on such essential theology, how can you ever hope to find peace yourself? How can you ever gain a confident understanding about what God requires of you and when He’s pleased with you? The answer’s simple: you need to talk to God directly. Read more of this post

Overcoming Shame

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When humans feel deeply ashamed, their instinctive response is to separate and isolate themselves from all others. Often physical isolation isn’t practical. You have to go to work to pay the bills. You have a spouse and kids living in your home. But though you feel forced to physically be around other people, you can still emotionally isolate yourself by refusing to engage. Your wife asks what’s wrong and you give her that indifferent shrug. When she presses you, you stonewall her with, “I’m fine,” or “I don’t want to talk about it.” And for the person drowning in shame, talking about their misery does seem pointless. After all, words can’t change the past. No, they can’t, but they can save your present and future, and that is far more important. Read more of this post

Soul Before Earthsuit: Understanding God’s Priorities

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If God was really pleased with you, you’d be happy, healthy, and financially well off. This is a very common belief among both Christians and non-Christians. It’s an absolute lie, yet it’s also an extremely popular idea and one which is aggressively promoted by many very successful Christian leaders. Whenever we find a lie being promoted by folks who know better, it is because they have found a way to profit by doing so.

Prosperity theology—a system of beliefs which is built on the assumption that God wants us to have happy, carefree lives on earth—is a huge moneymaker. It’s rather like teaching Christians that God commands them to tithe: the folks who teach the lie make bank while the people who sincerely believe in the lie end up in a world of hurt. Unfortunately, many of our leaders in the Church today couldn’t care less about how many souls they trash on the way to lining their own pockets. As an individual Christian, you’re just one more chump who they might be able to make some money off of. If you prove to be reasonably easy to manipulate, they’ll spend effort messing with you. If you aren’t, they’ll kick you aside and find someone else. Welcome to the world of false shepherds in the Church: it’s a merciless scene in which there is no real concern for human souls. This is why it’s so important that you not put your trust in human beings to guide you in life. God Himself must be your Guide, because He is the only One you can really trust. But before you are going to develop strong trust in God, you need to grasp that He is for you in life, and before you can understand what that means, you need to learn a few things about how God operates. Read more of this post

Yearning for More Spiritual Fruits: Wrong Focus, Wrong Priorities

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal. 5:22-23)

If you really care about pleasing God, then your life will be brimming with the spiritual fruits that we find listed in Galatians 5. If there’s no harvest happening, then obviously you’re some carnal Christian who hasn’t really committed himself and maybe you should start to question the validity of your salvation. This is what we are commonly taught by the Church. It’s not always spelled out so clearly, but there’s a whole lot of hinting going on. Depending on how thick the guilt is being poured on in your particular community, getting together with the brothers can feel like one big fruit contest. Who acts the most loving? Who has the most self-control? Who seems the most joyful? Those who think they have lots of fruits in their baskets like to thrust their shiny gems in everyone’s face while those who feel like they have nothing sit there feeling like failures. Addicts who came to Jesus and weren’t instantly healed of their addictions are ashamed of how withered and barren their self-control tree looks. Souls who are intensely struggling with fear are embarrassed by their lack of peace. Souls who are burdened with chronic depression feel like failures because they have no joy in their basket. By hyper-focusing on fruits, we end up with a lot of unnecessary guilt and discouragement. Read more of this post

Understanding Divine Judgment: Illumination, Empowerment & A God Who Delights In Mercy

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Most Christians are in a confused muddle about how God judges them. When we believe that God expects more from us than He does, we end up trapped in an endless cycle of pain, shame, and despair. We conclude that God is impossible to please, and this leads us into all sorts of harmful activities. Do you repent for the same sins over and over again? Do feel the need to injure your body or deprive your life of any joy as a means of atoning for past sins? Do you avoid a lot of subjects in your prayer life or do you avoid praying altogether because you’re afraid of God blasting you with some wrathful response? All of these are common symptoms of believing that God is impossible to please, and that belief stems from not understanding what God expects from you. To get yourself out of this cycle of misery—or to prevent yourself from getting sucked into it in the first place—you need to learn about two concepts that are critical to gaining a proper view of Divine Judgment. Those two topics are spiritual illumination, and Divine empowerment.  Anyone can gain a clear idea of how God judges them if it’s explained to them properly, and as a Christian, it is vital that you understand where the lines of responsibility fall. Read more of this post

Understanding How Easy it is to Succeed with God

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Many earnest Christians find themselves paralyzed with fear that God will suddenly flip out on them if they make one wrong move in life. Naturally this makes them feel very distressed and anxious whenever they have to make a decision. If your human father was some unreasonable, short-tempered jerk who was always demanding that you reach some impossibly high bar of perfection, you will automatically project these same bad qualities onto your heavenly Father. But the truth is that God is not a clone of your earthly parent. Instead, He is an entirely different kind of Being, and One who is far easier to succeed with than your fellow human beings.

Here’s a key point to understand: God does not expect you to read His mind. When He wants you to do something specific, He takes full responsibility for communicating His will to you. When He’s not giving you any specific instruction (which many Christians feel is most of the time), then is He going to flip out on you for making some wrong move? No. Read more of this post