September 10, 2004

Identifying our culture of self

Ours is a culture of self . Money is the "means" to acquire what the heart desires.

These are only 5 characteristics that identify our current culture of self:

1. Image

We are mainly concerned over the contents of our wardrobe, the type of car we drive, the home we live in. Image is not everything to many in our generation, it's the only thing. Will our children get accepted to the most reputed school? Will our husband "land" that corporate managerial position? Were we able to obtain those tickets for the show or football game that we just know will be sold out? We are willing to go into bankruptcy rather than drive a reliable yet older model car or pick-up truck. We must "look" the part. We must polish our "Image" even if it is a FALSE facade or image, one that does not represent the truth about us..

2. Perverted Sexual Desires (Those that are NOT what God intends for us)

Perverted sexuality is the hallmark of a failing and faltering society. Our uncontrolled sexual desires will cause us great pain and heartache in the end, yet at the time we are feeding them, we mistakenly say to ourselves, "If it feels good, do it". Sexual Addiction is rampant in our society today. Sex is as much of an addiction as drugs, yet many reject this truth. Many that are sex addicts are repulsed by drug addicts, yet they have their own drug of choice - SEX. When we turn away from God and his truth, what his will is for our lives, we will ALWAYS turn to something else and be open and fair targets for addictions. In our culture we have the ability (If we pay for it) to receive X Rated programs into our own living room. We see and hear back to back commercials for "Male Sexual Enhancements" and now even "Female Sexual Enhancements". There are condom commercials in which young couples are portrayed. When I see these things, I want to turn away. I remember about what we read in the Bible about Lot before Sodom and Gomorrah was destroyed:

6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample (example) unto those that after should live ungodly;

7 And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

3. Sports

Those who do have their sexual desires in check and under control and would never consider themselves "addicts" have the Sports Idol raging out of control in their lives. Who would dream that a dozen guys, a fifty yard line, and a pigskin could create such a frenzy of followers? Some may say that sports ALWAYS was as it is today. I beg to differ with them. I can remember many years ago and what it was like. Today is totally different. Sports of any kind was not all about profits and six figure salaries for the players. Yes, profiteering from Sports was always there, but not to the extent it is today. Sports was never such a monster of merchandising as it is now. The fans were not like savages and the games were not as picked apart and scrutinized by commentators as they are today. Today, sports is MUCH more important to many men and women than their family is. There is always enough time to catch a game of your preferred sport, yet time is short for so many other more important matters. Sports will prove to be a MAJOR addiction in the lives of many as time goes on. I like sports but I do not place it above God or my family. When you give more time to it than you do God and family, something is wrong. It has become an addiction to you.

4. Food

Isn't it something that an obviously obese preacher would blast drug addicts, sex addicts, sports addicts and numerous others while he cannot gain control over his addiction to food? Yes, it's something, but I've seen it happen over and over again. These people must keep their spiritual and physical eyes closed when it comes to examining their own selves. We in America have an abundance of everything and manage to lack nothing if we have the money to get it, this includes food. Now I'm not knocking obese people, the truth is, it took a long time to get overweight and it will not be shed overnight. This is what people who do not struggle with obesity do not understand. Anyone who is looking to lose weight and sticks with it, being disciplined will manage it and come out stronger, healthier and happier in the end. But the bible calls food addiction what it truly is, Gluttony. I've heard statistics that a high percentage of Americans are obese. The fast food restaurants we have to choose from do not help the problem, yet if we have a food addiction, we should STAY AWAY from them. The fast food restaurant to an overweight person is the absolute equivalent of a bar for the alcoholic or a crack house to a drug addict..

Overeating, is an addiction - it is a Food addiction.

5. Drugs

What can we say of the destructive scourge that drugs have created in our society? I have seen friends of mine and family members almost lose EVERYTHING because of their addiction to drugs. One time I asked someone I know if it ever crossed their mind that the next time they did their drug it would kill them? I didn't have a motive when asking it other than my own curiosity which had got the better of me. Guess what they said? They told me that at the time they crave it, they never gave death a second thought. They were helpless against their addiction to drugs. Our drug rehabs are filled to overflowing here in America. Filled with those who cannot manage a destructive addiction that has them in it's grasp. Today we have 10 year old children experimenting with drugs. We have addicted parents who are not feeding their children because the money must go to feed their addiction. Today "casual drug use" is considered the norm and acceptable by most. But there is no such things as "casual" use when it comes to drugs. It certainly can start out that way, yet soon it is found out that drugs will take us farther than we were willing to go and cost us far more than we would ever have dreamed or imagined. And I might add here, we've all seen the commercial "Just Say No" to drugs? Well, if you ever have to help a drug addict to get clean, try telling them that.

Or better yet, when your child is tempted to try drugs and is under peer pressure to use, try telling them, "Just say no". A much better approach would be to tell them that they would be destroying the life that GOD gave them and don't just leave the discussion there. That would only be the starting point. But remember, children must know that they are loved, appreciated and cherished, and in our society there is not much time given to our children. So, children will not respect, let alone listen to a parent who will not take the time to BE a parent. This is the major reason why children are in rebellion and will not listen when we DO talk to them. They see our neglect of them. Our major fault as parents in this current generation is not spending enough quality time with our kids. We parents are much too preoccupied with ourselves which is both sad and tragic.

Our current generation is one that caters to self-gratification. Yet we are not beyond help. It is, as it always has been as far as God is concerned, his hand is stretched out still. God is still here for us, God still loves us. Jesus gave all for us and suffered to do it because of his great love for us. He seeks to free us from self. He wants our eyes focused on him and the result of this will be our concern for the welfare of others and less concern for ourselves. Jesus was all about others. His compassion was for others, not himself. We must strive to put down addictions and strive to be free of self-gratification. First and foremost, we must ADMIT that we are addicted in certain areas of our lives. There is no changing of our ways and deliverance in denial. Our denial of the truth about ourselves is prolonging our own suffering. And recognize that there is not one person better than you, we have ALL struggled with addictions in our lives no matter how free we are right now. We must remember where we came from in order not to go back there again.

So first, admit that you are unable to free yourself from whatever has you in it's grasp. Admit it to God and admit it to yourself. This is humbleness at it's best.

It is only through God's help, God's truth and God's Love that we will be able to escape the bondage of self gratification and go on to enjoy the freedom in Christ that we so need in this current "culture of self" so many have fallen prey to and are trapped in.

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