Monday, January 3, 2011

Under The Influence

To be sober one might think it to mean, not to be intoxicated (Titus 2:6 KJV). How? Obviously with substances that influence the behavior of the individual. Initially, the first sort of substance that one believes could do this is alcohol, the second being drugs or vice versa. So with it being a command and linking with a similar command for us to be alert (1 Thessalonians 5:6 AMP), why would these scriptures be misinterpreted to mean otherwise? Still, to those who can hear and not to be hearers only, that believer can only understand that with being sober minded the next step would be much easier. To be sober is for the purpose to do another command - watch and pray (Matthew 26:41 KJV).

Now as much as we have stayed away from the obvious, there has been behavior reported that is conducive with being under the influence. How can that be when we made the decision to stay away from alcohol (and/or drugs)? Some have interpreted "the wine" written in the scriptures to mean juice and therefore is delivered from drinking strong drink (meaning, they can do so); however, in the book of Proverbs it states to give strong drink to the man ready to die (Proverbs 31:6). How does that verse apply to the so-called deliverance of staying away from strong drink? It is a debate that takes more time than it should to explain to those who are determined to drink wine no matter what.

Be as it may, to be sober is to be alert. How can this be when the words we speak states other wise:

Her eyes are captivating.
Her perfume is intoxicating.
His muscles are insane.
My children are driving me crazy.

Each one of those statements, and there are others, sounds so familiar to the point of being normal to say in our everyday language. How sobering is it when you find yourself trapped, have racing thoughts, depressed, or disoriented? Yet the dunamis powered, anointed child of the living God spoke it into existence? Is that being under the influence? The influence of what?

In my prayers before writing, I started wondering why some men would say certain things. It was boggling to me. Not just men because sinners are under an entirely defiant regime than those who know better. We know better. So how or why would men of God say such things when they know better? While I was thinking this and it causing me some anguish, I asked God in prayer, why? Only my question was more elaborate and ended with, "what do men think about?" I paused for an answer and heard nothing but the anguish I was experiencing subsided. It wasn't too much longer before that when the same certain men would speak and it made sense. I began to look at things differently and even my thoughts changed. I didn't notice it until what I used to do in my ordinary habits changed. I no longer had the desire to do them. I began being distracted about trivial and mundane matters. I worried about things that I never worried about before. I thought something was physical and/or emotionally wrong with me. I sought spiritual counseling first and then medical. Nothing said or done made matters any better. Of course there was prayer but unless I could convey what I asked for, I couldn't get the help I needed. Why didn't God just tell the minister/counselor (a matter that is a blog in of itself)?

I was under the influence of what I asked for. Did I ask for an understanding of what men think about? No. I asked what do they think about. I got the real deal from lude thoughts to the "supposed" rational logic. I didn't like it and as soon as I understood what I had done, I asked forgiveness and turned from that wicked way. Why wicked? Because it is always so much better to have the mind of Christ then wonder what mere men think about.

I suppose one could think this subject as being trivial and couldn't possibly be the reason as to why matters happen in one's life as it does; however, if we live by the Word then it is what I refer to and those trivial matters can be seen much more clearly when noting that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine.

Still, there are other ways that an influence other then the Word can cause men to do strange things. You would think that believers are void of such behavior...well, we pray and keep the faith that the peculiar nation is above such frivolity. However, when taking pride in being a workaholic, a shopping maniac, or addicted to  this or that... you get what you get. Personally, I liked being a workaholic. It was opposing being lazy. I liked getting the job done and at the ready to do something else whether others were ready or not. I didn't take pride in it (being an issue all by itself); yet it was pleasing when standing at the completed goal. I got so wrapped up in obtaining the goal, I became a multi-tasker and forgot about taking the time to rest. I know I wrote about the Sabbath before, so I won't go back into that; nevertheless, I was exhausted from all of the work and didn't recognize it... but God. It happened when I was at the mall with my children when they were much smaller. I decided to treat them to a movie and a malted afterwards. It was so Happy Days - ish and therefore wholesome to me. I was looking forward to introducing them to a root beer float - something that I recently started liking having never a fondness of root beer in my childhood because it was never introduced to me. Once they had their food and drink, I took a long swallow of mine enjoying the creaminess of the ice cream coupled with the undeniable flavor of sasparilla . Delicious, I thought until I studied what my children were doing. They were eating the hamburger but wouldn't touch their drink. I waited to see if they were savoring it until last... but no. I asked what's the matter? The next to the youngest son said he didn't want to hurt my feelings. I guess I did do such a build up for the drink. I reassured him that he could say whatever and I wouldn't be hurtful. After coaxing him he finally revealed that the drink that I came to enjoy and knew they would like too tasted like tooth paste. Once he said it out loud his siblings chimed in, "yeah, thats what it is. I couldn't think of what that taste was. Its tooth paste!" Toothpaste? Nah, they're crazy, I thought, taking another swallow remembering this morning, doing my usual hygienic regime. The wonderful creaminess, the sasparilla, the straw... does taste like toothpaste. Crap!

Later, I thought about that afternoon with my children. It had been awhile since I drank a root beer float even though it was a treat to me before that day - I just didn't have a desire for it anymore. Why? Was it because of my children and what they didn't like even though I liked it? Why then could I have changed my mind so quickly? What power, if any, did they have on me? It was a suggestion. Their opinion, not necessarily mine. Did I give place to the enemy (Ephesians 4:27 KJV)? If so, when?

There is a time for everything and negating that time with God or not knowing when to be still to hear from God is dangerous. Its like driving under the influence for a believer. In scripture, Martha and Mary have a house guest - Jesus! One sits at Jesus' feet to hear all that He has to say while the other busies herself with more then likely getting food and making sure there is enough to make Him more comfortable (Luke 10:38-42 AMP). Yet, what is the most important thing while He is right there in your home? Should preparations be before, during or after His presence? Consider the parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13 KJV).

I worked non-stop for about 10 days. I had put off taking my children anywhere, as opposed to every weekend, because I had other tasks to finish during those 10 days. I couldn't tell you what movie we saw in parts of their childhood because when the lights dimmed for the show, I relaxed and went to sleep. Obviously, I wasn't alert. How was my prayer life? I couldn't tell you. Would it have been easy to be influenced by certain things in that state? Could I have been tossed to and for with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:9-15 KJV)? Could there have been something stronger to overtake me (Luke 11:21-26 KJV)?

I thought about that scripture in particular, many times. I couldn't comprehend, if God is on my side how could there be anything stronger to overtake me? I meditated on the Almighty God being my friend and never leaving or forsaking me and having the whole armor of God on. He is for me. How could a soldier in the army of God be overtaken? Is there one stronger? What did that verse mean? Then I could picture a knight in his full armor leaning against a rock. He is tired and exhausted from his journey or the fight he had previously. He obviously won and needed rest for the tasks to come. He took a moment against this rock. Slowly his head stopped bouncing resisting the heaviness of his eye lids and finally his breathing was slow and labored as he drifted off to sleep. His sword and shield in one hand and strapped to the other arm ready for battle, slowly slumped to one side and the sword made a wedge to rest in the dirt - handle against his thigh. Finally, after so much work he could take a small nap. He will be refreshed after just a few minutes. Still, the enemy comes to do what his purpose is to do (John 10:10 KJV). He was waiting for this time of exhaustion. Now he can tempt, taunt, and cause anguish. He can influence, change thinking with suggestions, and do some real damage. It happens in families when a child becomes rebellious for no other reason. It happens when a spouse decides to commit adultery. It happens when there is a tragic accident. Why didn't God stop this from happening? He did when He told us to stay alert and pray. Its not why God why? Its why didn't I listen? Why couldn't I hear Him?

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