Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spiritual Hangover

Living Lesson: Spiritual Hangover
by: Christopher R. Wiles
Credit: The idea of a Spiritual Hangover came from David Srygley of Corpus Christi, TX.

What’s better than an aspirin and a cup of coffee?
I’ve worked with alcoholics in and outside of ministry and I’ve often explained the simple physiological effects of a hangover. People consume so much alcohol, which imitates certain chemicals in their brain, that their brain ceases to produce those much needed pain killing chemicals naturally. When they wake up the next afternoon, their body has absorbed most of the alcohol but their brain has not yet begun producing the natural pain killers. Therefore, everything hurts their head! They have headaches. Lights hurt their eyes. Sounds hurt their ears. Viola, a hangover!  They “overdid” it and are now paying the price.

So how does one have a “Spiritual Hangover”? It’s probably obvious, but let me explain. You went to church on Easter, sang songs, watched videos, fellowshipped with a hundred people you haven’t seen since last Easter, and heard or participated in sermons that overloaded you with thoughts and images of a loving God who died for your sins and a loving Father who glorified his Son by raising him from the dead. It’s pretty intoxicating stuff.

Now in the days after, all that joy, fellowship, Bible teaching, and singing start wearing off. Your life is such that you have no way to “normally” produce that joy, fellowship, and love. There is no time with God in your busy life. There is no time for church with your busy schedule. There is no means for maintaining the level of spiritual food on which you happily gorged on Easter Sunday. You begin to feel the pressure building in your head. You begin to feel the burden of life on your shoulders. You begin to feel the world entangling your feet. It’s going to be bad, and you know it. You think to yourself, “Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.” If we are talking about alcohol, you’re right, but we’re talking about worship of God!

This problem isn’t new. Moses, in a similar way, experienced a “Mt. Sinai Spiritual Hangover.” Whenever Moses appeared before God his face glowed, but after a while the glory would begin to dull. So Moses made a veil to wear over his face so that the people wouldn’t see that the glory was fading (Gen. 34:33-35). Of course, whenever he went to speak to God, the glory was recharged and he would take the veil off so the people could see his face shining.

Yet it doesn’t have to be this way for us. We don’t have to suffer an Easter Spiritual Hangover. We can, instead, continue to spend time with God—daily, in fact. We can continue to learn from God’s Word, to enter His courts with thanksgiving, and to fill our lives with joy and fellowship. The spiritual “high” of Easter is actually available every day to those who live in the Kingdom of God!  We don’t even need a veil because God’s glory in the lives of those living daily for Him NEVER FADES!

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end.  16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12,13,16

Be done with hangovers and veils by turning to the Lord and let’s fill ourselves daily with His goodness!

Living Lessons are articles written for the weekly Washington Church of Christ bulletin.  You can find more by clicking HERE or searching for "Living Lesson" in the right sidebar search.