Before sentience and pleasure, and before dissension or agreement, there is the denudation of offense and the understanding of character. Simply put, there is identity. Let me explain.
The reason why who we are behind closed doors is so important is because what we do and what we think while no one is watching defines the viability of our loyalty. And why is loyalty so important? A person’s loyalty explains a great deal; such as why a person cares to please, entertain, or to serve “Bob” and not “Sam”. Having a reason for this requires the person being served to be well worth such a commitment. If behind closed doors we cheat on the person whom we claim loyalty to, our choice to renege speaks degradingly low of the person we claim loyalty towards, as well as ourselves. This cheapness of character labels the cheater a hypocrite and liar. Question is, what gives these labels their power? Let’s dig deeper.
Power derives of respect, admiration, and even appreciation. Therefore our disloyalty would cloud the picture of what we claim to be admirable and respectable, and in turn, poisoning the picture others have of our ability to choose wisely and with careful consideration who or what we are loyal to. To society, disloyalty may represent a shortcoming, a foible, a flaw—the flaw of our ineptitude, our immaturity as a human being, and the inability to understand the significance of the power of loyalty in the eyes of a society seeking to trust an individual’s skill in choosing who to give loyalty to.
Admiration for and the appreciation of money, may, for example, appear normal to a society desperate to pay its bills and evade financial burdens. But seeking money above all else is idolatry. Even writing that may strike a chord with some readers because those words may appear to claim that the desire for money is automatically a bad thing. But that isn’t what I’m saying, nor is that my point. What I am saying is that the desire for money is normal and appropriate when it is controlled. By controlled I mean there is a goal involved with the attaining of money. In other words, money doesn’t become the goal, money is simply a part of the plan, but not the reward itself. For example, the goal could be to buy a car, and money is needed to buy a car. In this instance, money isn’t the goal, the car is. Perhaps for you, a house is the goal. Once again, money is required, but it is not the goal. See the difference? What this point illustrates is that when people do what they do in order to get more money just to get more money, money is their goal; their idol.
There are many things in this world people can get attached to, and without these things, they either forget who they are, or never came to truly know themselves to begin with. The question then becomes: Why is this important?
When we become obsessive and idolatrous over Earthly things, we lose sight of our purpose—if we were ever made aware of something as meaningful as purpose to begin with. For many people, purpose is not a theme or concept that was ever invited into their mind or spirit; they learned their habits only because they were never fulfilled with anything more significant in their life. Their role models and peers were not so ambitious as to understand the significance of encouraging them to discover their unique purpose, nor believing in one of their own. When we learn from people without passion in life, purpose is less than a consideration, and without purpose, who are we? Now we’re getting somewhere.
All of our habits (habits like wanting money just for the sake of having more, like I mentioned above), once formed, can become a person’s definition, and certainly these habits can replace our loyalty to someone or something else. For instance, we would have little or no time for personal relationship with close friends if we were preoccupied with drunkenness, intoxication, under the influence of the psychedelic high of drugs, or unconscious. What we want isn’t to not exist, but to exist fully. Why is any of this important? How does this relate to our identity? How do we know what our identity is?
When we strongly consider our loyalty towards people and the fear we have of being caught (for those who don’t trust themselves), the question of our identity behind closed doors must finish by asking: Whose approval are we replacing with society’s?
We prove it to ourselves how we seek the approval of others if we are afraid of being caught—otherwise there would be nothing to worry about “being caught” with. Loyalty couldn’t retain any power if the approval of people weren’t the bricks in the wall. But in this flow of thoughts, we have sidestepped where loyalty’s origins begin. Truly, we haven’t yet perused the most intricate etching of this concept. The most essential etching of them all is how we put all of this energy and commitment, loyalty and admiration into the world, its things, but we many times forget that before any of us makes the first decision to try a drug, an alcoholic drink (with the intention to get drunk), to lose our virginity, or to allow our body to become invaded with foreign toxins—we have our identity given to us by God. Sometimes this truth causes dissension and provokes people to back away because life appears easier without what seems to be the complication of faith. However, this identity given to us is why morality stings when we make the choice we sense is wrong. This is what begs us to want a friend around when we reach for that bottle of liquor—we want the intimacy (even if the intimacy we want is distorted by the involvement of substance abuse) but we are unaware of how loved we are before we even picked up the bottle. We are loved before we inhale the toxins. We don’t realize we’re desperate for an intimacy beyond sharing toxins and transient, meaningless pleasures with others. The truth is that we take on all these habits to escape because we are unaware of—or placing doubt in—the reality of God. When we are unaware of God, we replace His missing piece with as many pieces as we can find to fit into the size of His void.
What does that tell us about how many habits we feel the need to pick up in order to replace God?
When we discover smoking, drinking, coitus, or even video games, we find all these things to fill our souls with: Exposure to drug abuse, the flooding rush of dopamine through sex, the entertainment of video games and the fuzzy sensations of drunkenness. The sad truth is that so many people are unaware that this is the process we fall prey to. We pledge our allegiance—that is, our loyalty, which innately belongs to relationship with God the Father through Jesus His son—to these ephemeral experiences because what only God can do, so many countless transient Earthly pleasures must try over and over again, repetitively, to replace. Even with such adamant consistency, these experiences aren’t satisfying: We need them over and over again to remind us (yet they never do so adequately)—otherwise, we’d have our fill. But with God, we pour our desires into Him, we talk to Him, worship Him, read about Him, listen to Him, and desire HIM above all else, and what happens is that all these pointless desires fall away; games may remain fun, but only in small spurts of times; alcohol retains its unique taste for pleasure (even Jesus created barrels of wine! His first miracle—John 2:1-11), but it will not seem worthwhile to become drunk (which is spoken against in the Bible—Galataians 5:21)—and sex becomes special and unique to a marriage relationship blessed under God—not just a promiscuous act of copulation between two emotionally uninvolved strangers seeking anonymous pleasure.
From this article, what I want for you to take away is how loyalty doesn’t start with people, but with God; that God is good, and that all of our experiences from this world could never add up to the thrill, excitement, passion, and purpose of relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I tried this for most of my life—my loyalty was misguided. In fact, for most of my life, I denied Him His existence entirely. Through disbelief, I tried living a life where the only places left to place loyalty were lust, music, and movies (depending on music to influence my character, movie characters to inspire me to be who I am, and lusting after women to keep me impassioned for life) instead of placing all of my loyalty in Jesus as Lord—who is more than capable of doing all three at once! Now I journey after God’s heart to inspire me to be a better man, I declare His will above my own because I trust what He wants is better for me than anything I could never conjure up in my wildest dreams—and I believe patience in His will for me will outweigh every disappointment I’ve ever encountered while trying to search for short-lived pleasures in my past. I’m forever convinced that purpose in Jesus is more fulfilling than any other worldly distraction, and I would love to see others come to understand the difference as well. That is my reason for writing this article and for having a blog at all. I want you to understand how we can find our identity in Christ and discover all that we long for by loving Him above all other things. When we put God first, He lifts us up and blesses us more than we could hope for, and the experience of this lifestyle is more satisfying than you could imagine unless you embrace it for yourself.
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