There are two paths open to those raised by religious people. They can uphold the values and choices of their parents and community or they can seek a darker community.
Before we round on those who choose the darkness, let’s reflect on what it has to offer. Responsibilities can be daunting. We are responsible to our families, our friends, our place of work. What if we were free from all of that? What if we cut ties from those who weighed us down? This is like the backpack in the movie Up in The Air. We all carry so much weight in our backpack. It is like Shrek in Shrek 4, who sees that he has lost his carefree days by marrying Fiona. Many men and women have succumbed to the idea that freedom is being withheld from them.
Freedom to pursue what? Sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll? Many of us would temper it down to the pursuit of happiness. When were we most happy? When did we feel most alive? Was it on the mountains in the Himalayas? How could we get back there? Was it in the arms of a past love? Is he/she on Facebook? Why has God led us down a path of obedience, goodness, and boredom? Why has God made it so that hell just scares us into a painful paradise? As Morrissey wails in his song, “I have forgiven Jesus”, “Why did you give me so much love in a hateful world? … Why did you stick me in self-depricating bones and skin? Jesus, do you hate me?”
We must grant that such modes of thinking are enticing and I know many who have followed through. Like Psalm 1 outlines, people who have been raised in moral circumstances flirt on the edge of immorality and deaden their senses. They step further into the conversation of self-serving pleasure and they develop a taste for it. Finally, what was once clearly a network of lies to them become a paradigm for truth. They settle into narcissistic, hedonistic, therapeutic patterns and become pleasantly destructive.
The alternative is good, but good does not mean comfortable. The alternative is good, but good does not mean ‘fun’ all the time. I say this because over the last year I have tried following God through some dark places. I have had to face the patterns in my life that my father set up that are quite destructive. I have had to let God work salt into the wounds so that they would heal. I have had to desire what is good over what feels good. I have become a warrior in my own mind taking on evil without and evil within. It is a different path. It looks narrow and overgrown. However, to take the road less traveled makes all the difference someone said.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
- Why does the author use ‘walk … stand … sit’?
- What is a righteous person compared to?
- What is the result of wickedness and righteousness?
- Why do people live in the moment? Why should people rebel against consumerism?
- Why are more and more people turning to the Way of the Righteous in China and impoverished nations?
Download the following songs onto your iPod and listen to them to encourage yourself in worship:
Fee – Send Me Out
Hillsong – Mighty to Save
David Crowder Band – How He Loves
Switchfoot – I Dare You to Move