Where’s the fun?
“Three cans of beer used to be fun; now 12 cans and where’s the fun? I loved having a girlfriend, but now I can’t remember the last girl’s name. If it weren’t for pain, I wouldn’t feel alive any more.”
Why do we hear so much about young people committing suicide? Why are so many addicted, not just to chemicals but also to sex and excitement and danger? There is even a new diagnosis:
“anhedonia: an inability to experience pleasurable emotions from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, social interaction or sexual activities.”
Our soul reaches out for the good things, yet it’s as though our heart were chained to a prison wall, always jerked back to a default pit of fear and loneliness, wondering whether to hope again. To crawl out of this dark hole, it is helpful to know how we fell into it.
The witches of the ancient city of Ephesus were on a quest for knowledge and power, but ended in a situation similar to our modern American frustration. So much work to create pleasure and supernatural power had landed them in empty heartedness, victimizing one another to try to get more of what they were seeking. However, an alternative supernatural Power presented itself to the Ephesians, liberating those who chose to receive Him, setting them free to receive love and pass it on to others, to live in simplicity and thankfulness, enjoying the present and eternity.
Loosing the Chains on our Hearts
I find myself comparing the witches of Ephesus to the Ring of Power in Lord of the Rings that was forged to control the owners of the other rings “and in the darkness bind them”. Mordor‘s Ring of Power looks small, bright and lightweight, but bearing it costs your life force forever. Visualize linking rings together, and what do you get? A chain.
That’s what drags so many of us back down when we want to reach up, to reach out, to connect and be refreshed. There is light out there. The darkness binding us has been penetrated.
Because of a Hero who was a candle in the human darkness and who was dragged in suffering down to Hell, a volcano has exploded in Mordor. He blasted an escape for us.
Where we live today
First let me describe our chains of addiction and codependency and failure from our Hero’s point of view. It starts with us hardening our hearts. If you see a beloved child, you can see a smile, a trusting look, a willing hand. She is connected, appreciated and joyful, able to give love and joy to her family. She has a soft, human heart. But what happens to make a heart turn to stone?
In simple terms, we were built for joy, not pain. Yet in the darkness of this world, hurting people hurt people. We don’t know how to process fear, rejection, betrayal, pain by ourselves. We feel isolated, left to our own inadequate resources, abandoned. So what do we decide? “I don’t want to feel this way. I will hide from my pain.”
The unintended consequence of not feeling our pain is not being able to feel joy any more either. So we have a hard heart, which leads to denial. “I’m not who you think I am. In fact, I’m not sure who I am myself and I don’t want to look too deeply into my heart to find out.” We look for a substitute, not real life with relationships and the vulnerability of love, but pleasure unending from more and more stimulation. We try not to care too much, so we “medicate.” We use sex, booze, drugs, movies, violence, witchcraft, whatever as long as we can feel “alive” for a few minutes. Naturally you have to work at this: get money, find what’s next, get people to help, get out of trouble, etc., etc. Of course you can’t care if you have to bend the rules, offend certain people, override your conscience. “I mean, this is important to me. I need this. People have to understand.”
Once upon a time in the spiritual capital of Roman Asia Minor the people lived like this. “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.” Sounds like addictions, codependency and sin city entertainment industry to me. That’s where we live today.
A Hero to break off our chains
Who is our Hero who offers a better way of life? When a person is surrounded by hurting, hurtful people, yet continues to be loving, sensitive and kind, wouldn’t you say he has overcome our prisoner lifestyle? When a man is tortured to death for no crime he committed, yet forgives his torturers, wouldn’t you say he is strong and free to be himself? When this Hero is killed, buried and after three days comes back to earth from Hell, wouldn’t you say he has power? Here He is now, still alive, offering a way out, ready to make me a New Me. Wouldn’t you agree he is a Savior? He is.
The Book has a letter to the people in that city of Ephesus explaining how their chains were broken and were living in light.
“You were taught, with regard to your new lifestyle, to put away your old self, the one being continually corrupted by those misleading pleasures. You had to receive a new spirit of mind, receiving the gift of a New Self, created with God’s righteous thinking and a wholesome realness.”
How do you think of Jesus? As the Hero who loves you and liberates you, or the churchy storybook figure who isn’t connected to your daily life? I want to tell you He has brought light, love and joy into my darkness and into the lives of millions. I had to receive Him and practice thankfulness and let the Bible expand my consciousness. He wants to give you a life better than the one Advertising says you can buy. Ask Him.