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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave

I am currently reading a book by Edward T. Welch called Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave and I highly recommend it for everyone. The last chapter I read is called Staying Violent. The two verses at the beginning of the chapter are Matthew 11:12 ("From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.") and Matthew 18:18 ("If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away."). Pretty intense from the get-go. After reading this chapter I come away really wanting to deal with my own sin and addictions. Why? Because it's flat out war-time manliness to do so! And it honors God. Battling sin is like a Biblical UFC (not the sissy new UFC, but the old-school "go until someone's unconscious" UFC). Here are some of my favorite quotes from the chapter...

"There is a mean streak to authentic self-control. Underneath what seems to be the placid demeanor of those who are not ruled by their desires is the heart of a warrior. Self control is not for the timid. When we want to grow in it, not only do we nurture an exuberance for Jesus Christ, we also demand of ourselves a hatred for sin." (pg. 225)

"But unlike our old conception of warfare, where battle lines are clear and the times of battle can almost be predicted, this is modern warfare in which you are not always sure where the enemy lurks. It is guerilla warfare. There are strategically placed snipers. You let down you guard for a moment and the village you thought was safe suddenly opens fire on you." (pg. 226)

"The problem is that as Christians, we often forget we are in a war. Or worse, we don't even know that there is a war. Unlike most warfare, where at least we know that there is an enemy somewhere, spiritual warfare tends to be especially covert. No one is getting shot and many people--even addicts themselves-- seem to be managing their lives fairly well. It all looks like business as usual. Add to this the fact that we actually like the enemy, and it is easy to understand why many of us act as though we were on vacation." (pp. 226-227)

"If someone can actually flee something that he deeply desires, then, once removed from the external temptation, he must follow through by taking his soul to task. We are attracted by the temptations outside us because of the sinful desires we harbor within." (pg. 230)

"Maybe we haven't given into the temptation, but we are dialoging with it rather than rebuking it. When a serpent comes across your path speaking lies, you should run from it or kill it. You shouldn't sit around for a friendly chat." (pg. 239)

"When temptations come, we live mindfully. We look past the facade of temporary pleasure and notice the smell of death that goes with it. If the temptation hooks our desires, we go public. We confess it to a friend, we confess it to the Lord, we get other people praying of us, we ask for counsel that helps us to see that the Serpent is dangerous. Above all, we remember that God's commands are good. They are inteded to bless us." (pg. 240)

"Why would God allow temptations? They are divine testings that reveal our hearts." (pg. 240)

In summary, 1) Buy the book, 2) Read the book, 3) Buy another copy and give it to someone, 4) Read the book again, 5) see #3. Peace.

4 comments:

Eron said...

Shanz,

Can't wait to read it.

Peace

Eron said...

...Oh, and I wrote a review on Wright's book.

Check it.

Plev

B-Dub said...

Looks great. I have recently repented for the lack of warfare emphasis in my thinking, acting, and leading. The devil is real.

MyMormonLife said...

I like your post about this addiction book. Addictions are quite real, and something to overcome -- and we are quite literally in a war against Satan, sin, and addiction. I have recently been reading in the latter portion of the book of Alma in the Book of Mormon, about a military commander named Moroni and his courage in defending the cause of the Christians. (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/alma/48) It has reminded me that I need to be more manly in my approach to fighting evil within me and without me.

Cheers!