Monday, July 25, 2011

For Those Who Would Rather Party in Hell


First of all, I am sorry that there was no Saturday post.  I was busy from when I woke up until when I went to sleep and quite honestly just did not have even a few minutes to sit down and write something.  Today's post is along the lines of what I was thinking about writing this weekend.  A few days ago, I heard the news that Amy Winehouse was dead.  I am not an Amy Winehouse fan, nor am I surprised at her early demise.  She is but one of many who died way before their time after destroying their own bodies through hard living.  I have seen too many lives destroyed by such living.  I wonder, as they stand before God and face their eternity, if they think it was all worth it.  They learn the true meaning of the following passage.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.  Galatians 6:7-8 NKJV
This is truth that can not be denied.  If you sow to the flesh, you will reap corruption.  What that means here is destruction.  This destruction is not just a spiritual destruction, but also a physical one.  We want to live the party lifestyle, but we do not take the time to understand the ramifications.  There is no part of this current life or eternal life to come that can not be affected through hard living.  This is even true for Christians.  

When I heard of Amy Winehouse this weekend, I thought of all those others who are now dead after their party lifestyles.  We have those who are now dead from drug overdoses.  We have sports stars who ruined their careers due to drugs and alcohol.  We have those who try to clean themselves but live in the perpetual struggle of addiction and generally relapse time and time again.  We have those may have survived their partying but whose bodies are ugly and destroyed from years of hard use. 

Moving past all those stories everyone has heard of, I know many others not-so-known.  I know a successful restaurant owner who get addicted to drugs and ended up selling his life off piece by piece to satisfy his addictions.  The last time I saw him, he a prisoner in his own empty for-sale house because he sold his car and his furniture and all he had left was the home that was on the market.  Everything he had went to satisfy his habit.  I know of a young girl who was infected with AIDS before she was even 21 due to a loose lifestyle inspired by drugs.  I know of a young man who was in his early 20's and in the prime of his life.  One Friday night, he overdosed on drugs.  I was his manager at the time, and I never want to have to hear a grieving mother calling her son out "dead" again.  I used to do prison ministry and there I met those who are spending their entire lives in prison because they committed murder while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  That is the reality of the party lifestyle.

Maybe you are thinking you will never get that far.  Maybe you are thinking that those things will never happen to you or your children.  But there are other ramifications that are much more common than those.  How many have had their judgement impaired by drugs and alcohol (for many even on the first try) where the compromised or even lost their purity?  How man have endangered themselves?  You hears news reports all the time of drunk or drinking girls who end up missing, raped, or dead.  Remember Natalie Holloway?  She was out drinking and went alone with someone she barely knew and no one has heard from her again.  There is currently that missing girl in Indiana who after a night of wild partying (the accounts were that she was falling down drunk), vanished into thin air.  Who knows if she is even alive or dead.  I am not saying those girls deserved what happened to them or that the perpetrator is any less culpable, but the fact is that they made themselves a target by wild partying.  We also hear of drunk driving accidents all the time and even if you do not get into an accident, there is a good chance you will get caught and arrested. 

No young child dreams of growing up into a strung out junkie, a teen mom, or dead from drugs at a young age.  Please do not think that your child is above any of this from happening to him or her.  I thought of this over the weekend watching our VBS kids sing praises to the Lord.  I thought of it and thought that all those we hear about from Amy Winehouse to any other person I wrote about today and I realized that each and every one of them was once an innocent child.  Maybe they had broken homes (but that is not by any means universally true) and maybe they had some issues when they were children, but they were at one time just like any of the other young children I saw this weekend. They dreamed of growing up and being great things.  They may have gone to church and learned something about Jesus.  They played with children's toys and did children things.  They had no thoughts in their mind of losing their virginity at 12 and having their first child by 13 by some older guy who got them drunk and took advantage of them.  They did not dream of being in their twenties and dying of a drug overdose.  They did not dream of their bodies sick and destroyed through years of drug use. They did not think of killing another person in drunken rage.  They did not think they would give up everything they had to satisfy an insatiable addiction.  They did not think  they would be kidnapped, raped, and killed after getting drunk or high with some friends.  Their parents never imagined those things for them either.  Those are things we hear about on the news and do not happen in real life, right?  Those are things that happen in "bad" families, right?  Sadly, that is wrong.  Sadly and tragically, they can happen to any family. While it may not have been drug or alcohol related, I know of several babies that were conceived at church youth group events. 

So what is the point of this rather morbid post?  Simply. that parents and adults must be careful in the behavior we model for our children.  Do we drink or get drunk in front of our children? If so, please know you are glorifying that kind of life and leaving an impression on that child that can lead to disaster.  Are you watching movies or television or listening to music in front of children?  If so, you are again exposing them to influences that glorify that kind of lifestyle.  Drugs and drunkenness must be exposed for the vile wretched things that they are.  Children will receive enough influence from the world telling them that these things are fun, let us not contribute to it but rather expose it for the horror that it is.  Furthermore, if you see your child starting to head in that direction, the response is not to put your head in the sand and pretend it is not true.  It also does not help to go around telling everyone what a good child you have if it is not true.  Pretending will not make it better.  Pretending will only allow things to get worse.  I know of one teen who grew up in a Christian family, but got himself into drugs.  While his family pretended all was fine with him and the world, he got himself into trouble with the wrong person and now has permanent brain damage.  Do not ever let pride get in the way of availing yourself of the prayers and help of all your brothers and sisters in the world if your child goes prodigal.  Prodigal children do not always come from bad parents, but prodigal children can make bad parents if those parents choose to ignore their downward spiral.

And for those who may be tempted to partake in the party lifestyle, let this be a warning.  What seems like fun is actually slavery.  An addict does not get high on drugs, but alleviates the pain of not having the drug by taking more and more.  You will become a slave to that thing you think looks "fun."  It will destroy your body and your life and you may even end up dead.  It will never lead to the good life.  It will never lead to happiness or contentment, but only to a miserable kind of slavery as your entire life becomes about satisfying something that can never be satisfied.  Sowing to the flesh with drugs and alcohol leads to destruction, in this life and next, and even for the Christian.  First for the Christian, you can become just as addicted and enslaved as an unbeliever.  Never think you are above being enslaved in that way.  The Bible is clear that you are a slave to whom you present your members to.  If you present your members to drugs, you will become their slave.  In terms of eternity, you will have destroyed your witness and have no fruit when you stand before God.  You may be saved, but that salvation will come with loss.  You will have Heaven with no rewards and let me tell you that no "high" on earth can compare to the rewards awaiting for you even on top of your salvation.  It will not be worth it.  As for those who reject God in order to live your party lifestyle, for you I am the most concerned about.  If you end up dead at 27, never knowing the Lord, and realizing your eternal judgement, can you say it was worth it?  Is any high or any party so good that it is worth your eternal soul?  If any so-called joy from drugs worth eternal suffering with no hope of it ever ending?  Maybe you think you will settle down someday, but you do not even know if you have a someday.  Did Natalie Holloway know she would be most-likely dead right after graduating high school?  Did that actor from that show whose name I will not mention know he would die in a fiery wreck at a young age while driving drunk?  Did Amy Winehouse know she would be dead at 27?  You need to get serious with God today, because you may be standing before Him tomorrow, and the most sober moment of your existence will be the realization that Jesus was real and you rejected Him. 
'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, [and] be merry." ' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?'  Luke 12:19-20 NKJV

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