Exhaustion & Renewal
Market Saturation – Lesson 7 of the Overcome Addiction Bible Study
This life is not easy. Period. We constantly fight, tooth and nail just to scrape by. We rely on tools given to us by this world to obtain the treasures commercials flaunt in front of us. Relying on our own strength, we only get so far in life to the end of ourselves, paying a price we are just not prepared to pay. Follow along in this lesson of the “Overcome” addiction Bible study, to learn how to combat the exaustion with God’s renewal.
We are all familiar with advertisements and how they manipulate us, right? Like this, follow them, buy this, eat this, wear this, listen to this, watch this, date her, date him, work here, drive this, vote for this person, accept this, ignore this, be this person, hate that person, this will make you popular. But wait there’s more… TV, movies, music, check-out line in the grocery store… shopping, credit cards. And for all my 90s kids: extreme.
We are saturated with the world. And it encourages conformity. Conformity by the need to feel accepted and dependent on others to make decisions for them, through imitation, compliance, identification and internalization. Some level of conformity is required and expected in social contexts. Wearing clothes for example, bathing, manners… I take this as a given, however. What we are going to be discussing is the fruitless search for fulfillment and the toll it takes on us through physical, mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion, in the striving to be part of the exclusive beautiful people, to impress the self.
The First Commercial
From my studies in marketing, there are two little rules; create the demand and supply the solution. For us, the demand is created by attacking our identity and sowing doubt. Make it appear to be a need, even though you may not have been aware it was something you know you needed. Something is wrong with you, you are lacking. Then the solution is supplied by appealing to your self-doubt. This will make you whole. You are welcome. In other words, you want the consumer to buy into the idea of the product, not the actual function of the product. The world is a master at propagating the herd mentality and we must be aware of it.
After doing some research, I found the very first sales pitch, and it was in the bible. The first section of verses records creating the demand and the second section refers to the solution supplied.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’Genesis 3:1-3
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.Genesis 3:4-6
We are exhausted. For some of us, right now the suffering we are enduring is exhausting. For others, it may be patience in dealing with difficult people. For others, it may be a negative environment. And for most of us, it is recovery and restraint. Over the course of this topic, I want you to think about the following question:
What are you buying into that promises to make you whole, and what is it costing you?
Do Not Be Conformed
Our anchor scripture comes out of Romans 12. I like to refer to this chapter in Romans as You’re a Christ follower, now what? There are three major points from the scripture; simply put: Do not be conformed, be transformed, for your good. With that as our road map, let’s look at our verse:
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.Romans 12:2
Conform is a verb that essentially means to agree with or be similar to. It is the idea of being joined together and identifying with, as well as passively submitting. This first section of this verse is instructing us to not look like, think like, act like or desire to be like the world. When this occurs, you become desensitized to certain issues via indoctrination. You agree with what the world says about a topic and adopt its perspective and stance on it without consulting God and asking what His thoughts and perspective are. Conforming promises much but never fulfills it and you always need more… Then depression kicks in because the false promises and misplaced expectations. The bad thing is that we want the deception to be true, because our identity hinges on it.
Ramifications of conforming to the world usually results in working 90-hour weeks, not seeing your kids or your spouse, turning to drugs and drinking to fulfill the emptiness that the chase has left you with. Conforming leads to medicating the disappointment, and instilling value systems in those that look up to us that confirms this is what life is about, constant exhaustion and disappointment. We seek material, substances and experiences to fill the void, and during this journey we subliminally believe it will somehow give meaning to life. This is what Paul is warning us against. There is a spiritual cost associated with conforming to the world, which leads to buyer’s remorse.
But to be transformed by the renewal of your mind, we have to understand a few things. In the course of my years, I have learned that if I have mental agreeance with something, I will usually adopt it into my value system. While this isn’t always the case with spiritual matters, I do believe that when God pulls back the curtain and you get a glimpse of something, it leaves an imprint. To be transformed, insinuates a dramatic change. And the best way to fully grasp this word is to look at the roots of the word itself. Transform is a word that is formed of two different words, combined to illustrate a thought or observation. Trans means across, beyond, through. When the word form is added on to it, it takes on the meaning of a change in shape, focus, direction. The word transform actually comes from another word, Meta meaning to take on a form that embodies an inner essence and morphoo, to change after being with. Metamorphosis. Just think of a caterpillar for a moment…
To be transformed means not only our appearance, but our inner essence changes; our beliefs. If our beliefs change, then our thoughts change, our value systems change and ultimately our actions change. This is not talking about an improvement but making something new. We exchange our thoughts and the world’s thoughts for God’s thoughts. We are renewed by meditating and dwelling on God’s word. It is an active choice. And coming into contact with Gods’ Word will always illicit a response. Rejection or transformation.
Overcome Addiction Bible Study
Application – For your Good
God loves you, whether you excel or fail. If He didn’t, I’m convinced He wouldn’t have sent His Son to come to earth and die, so that we would have a choice to accept Him and salvation. With that knowledge, we will conclude our topic for this post with the third major part of the scripture; For your good. For a long time, I looked at God as this cosmic killjoy that played chess in the heavens. My immaturity affected my beliefs, which in turn appeared in my actions. I couldn’t have been further from the truth: the truth that God only wants best for us, although we may not feel that way.
We buy into many things every day: worth, success, lust, selfish ambition, objects, substances. Much of what exhausts us is responsible for the gap between what the world says about something versus what God says about it. There are many things we have grown complacent with in our lives and have given up the process of being transformed for the good, to simply be conformed. For application, we can take a rather simple action step, that begins with a question I asked you earlier:
What are you buying into that promises to make you whole, and what is it costing you?
The “Overcome” Addiction Bible Study is part of the discipleship program at First Contact Ministries in Hendersonville, NC.
Did you miss the other lessons in this series? Click see the entire Overcome Addiction Bible Study series.
We always look forward to meeting new people at our Tuesday night support group meetings at 6:30 pm, located at Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, NC. Our classes are designed to teach biblical principles for addiction recovery through discipleship. Our goal is to show the love of Jesus by supporting those who need it most.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit: The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Christian Leadership Book