Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Most Dangerous Gateway Drug For Christians

For years, opponents of legalization of marijuana have argued that, while it isn't as dangerous as heroine or methamphetamines, it is dangerous because it is a gateway drug. In other words, most people don't start their drug use with shooting up heroine. They start with marijuana and try more and more potent drugs.  Studies have shown that both alcohol and tobacco usage almost always precede marijuana usage. All in all, the theory is sound. Addicts seem not to be born addicts as much as they are raised and nurtured into addiction progressively.

Read something Paul wrote to his young disciple, "Timothy, my son, I am giving you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies previously made about you so that by them you may strongly engage in battle, having faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and have suffered the shipwreck of their faith. Hymenaeus and Alexander are among them," (1 Tim.1:18-20a)

Surely these two men didn't start off shipwrecked.  Apparently they were part of the church, doing ministry, growing as disciples. Somewhere along the way, though, they slipped, then stumbled, and finally fell. Was there a gateway drug for them, a seemingly harmless temptation that led to greater and more deadly habits and consequences?

We have an innate, I believe God-designed, desire for acceptance. Before sin, mankind lived in the bliss of acceptance. The moment Adam and Eve sinned, they experienced the loss of that perfect relationship with God and with one another. Strangely enough, God had not rejected them. They had rejected Him.

No man is an island. We are perpetually changing based on what we think others want from us. Even the hermit living in a cave thinks about and reacts to what he thinks others think of him.  It is inevitable. The question is not whether we desire acceptance. The question is simply which drug we will take to comfort our need for acceptance.

If we take the God drug - trusting that we are made acceptable to God by faith in His Son, Jesus Christ - we will live our lives toward Him. Our desire will be to fit into God's way of living. Whoever we desire acceptance from we will change for.

That's why I think that the most dangerous gateway drug for Christians is the desire to fit in. It always starts small, and seemingly harmless.  And, it almost always grows large and dangerous.

Where do you fit in best?  Whose approval do you want, whose acceptance?