September 30, 2016


For a while I wore a step-monitor to make me aware of the level of my physical activity...or lack thereof. I compared exercise notes with a young health professional and she admitted to being obsessed with her wrist monitor and checked it constantly. She loves her monitor so much she won’t end her day until she has reached her goal of a certain number of steps. Paul warns us of such obsessions, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self–imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence” (Col 2:20-23 NIV).

1 comment:

Steve Corey said...


-----Obsessions are not good unless they are directed by the Lord, who directed Ezekiel once to lay naked for some awful long time and cook his bread over smoldering people-poop. Yum! But that was a Lord directed obsession. His ordered obsessions have extremely important purposes. Ezekiel’s was to announce a coming destruction the people could avert with true repentance. But of course, they were too obsessed with their own tiddledy little lives and idols and Asherahs, Baals, and Moloch flames. You see, our obsessions are like D-6 bulldozers to the mental guardrails God has for our minds. But obsessions directed by God are even mightier dozers against our idolatries.
-----It is important to be careful about obsessions, because obsessions can lead toward either idolatry (anything other than God which sculpts your core meanings and beliefs) or towards the Lord. Our own obsessions always lead towards idolatry, even if ever so imperceptibly slight, because their purposes are given by us. And we are not excellent marksmen when it comes to aiming purposes. A good thing aimed in the wrong direction can make bad results. The right words at the wrong time can be more troubling than helpful. Centuries of obsessive Bible study and theologizing have fragmented Jesus’ body into a thousand little bickering, snickering, denominations.
-----By not obsessing over the goals towards which we purpose ourselves, the many other objectives of living take a little share in shaping and correcting both the goals we purpose and the efforts we put forth. Life is far too complex to achieve great and godly results without the Lord’s direction of our steps. The destructiveness of our own obsessing is multiplied when religious things become their objects. For the more we obsess, the narrower our minds get. Paying genuine attention and being aware and wary, on the other hand, broadens the mind as it follows truth’s lead through many different avenues. “In my vain life I have seen everything; there is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evil-doing. Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself? Be not wicked overmuch, neither be a fool; why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand; for he who fears God shall come forth from them all.” (Eccl 6:15-18)
-----Then sometimes the Lord needs one thing done only. Josephus relates a story about a certain Jesus, son of Ananus, who in a time of peace began to cry out, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem!” Although ordered to cease, and beaten daily, and eventually considered just a mad crank, he uttered not a word other than this call as he went about the city all day, every day, for seven years and five months. Then one day of AD70, when he walked the city wall and added to this continuous, gloomy ditty, “‘Woe, woe to myself also!’ there came a stone out of one of the [Roman] engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately: and as he was uttering the very same presages, he gave up the ghost.” (Wars of the Jews, Book VI, Ch V, Sec 3. Josephus) Sometimes God will order an obsession.

Love you all,
Steve Corey