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Addicted to Me

Sunday I tried to explain how we are "designed for good" while being "damaged by evil" as part of our current series LOST. (We are following The Big Story of James Choung.) Choung wisely doesn't use the word "sin" in his presentation, but my biblical bias caused me to seek a way to explain it outside the "four circles."

The issue of sin is a huge stumbling block to both those who trust Jesus to be who he says he is and to those who have problems with the whole "church thing."

Here's how I described how we are "designed for good" while being "damaged by evil."

First, we must confess God's intention was an eternal, love-filled relationship with us all. We are all created in the image of God. That image has not been lost but it has been damaged. It was damaged, tainted, scared (You pick the verb.) in the Garden, and all who are in the "Adam Family" (a la Paul's explanation in Romans 5:12-20) share that same, scared image of God.

Second, we confess that while we all bear the image of God we have a natural tendency to live for ourselves. As I confessed Sunday, "I am addicted to me." Like an alcoholic who is addicted to alcohol, which leads to destructive behavior that destroys his or her relationships, resources, and life; in the same way, I act out my natural addiction to me in ways that ultimately separate me from God and others.

This is what Paul was trying to tell his friends in Rome in the first part of his letter to them. The whole "wrath of God" thing chases most readers off, but Paul is explaining in those verses that when left to ourselves this is how far away from our image-of-God lives look like. His examples tell of lives addicted to me rather than lived as God designed them to be lived. (We are all in those lists. Don't pick out one group over another. That's like saying, "I'm not as bad an alcoholic as she is.")

The biblical record claims our "addiction to me" is both a condition (sinful nature) and a behavior that reeks havoc on our lives and others (The lists in Romans 1:21-32).

I bear the image of God, but by nature I have an addiction to me, and my well being is always placed before God and others. This condition belittles God's image and keeps me from living in God-designed relationships with Him and others.

The whole discussion begs the question Paul is setting up in his letter, "So, what's the big deal about Jesus?" If you have ever been honest about your addiction to you and realized you are powerless against it and have tried most every option to help yourself and your addictive behavior continues, then you'll begin to discover the big deal about Jesus.