Growing up, I rarely remember seeing soda or any kind of coke or carbonated beverages in the house. We basically grew up on water and milk…annnd the occasional pitcher of Kool-aid.
To this day, I am still not a coke drinker. I’ll choose water over tea OR soda OR lemonade any day. My reasoning has always been that water is the ONLY thing that quenches my thirst. I mean I remember grabbing Mt. Dews or Dr. Peppers at basketball games from time to time but they always made me thirstier! I’d have to follow up my snack and drink with a gulp of water at the fountain just to break the thirst.
Now, this line of thinking took me down a rabbit trail… about thirst; what it is, and do why we have it. So I looked up the definition. Thirst: A sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by need of liquid. The physical condition resulting from this need, in any of various degrees. Strong or eager desire; craving.
I thought… Isn’t it interesting that water is the only thing that really satisfies that thirst? Water is pure. It is “the basis of the fluids of living organisms”. We were surrounded by it in the womb, and are predominately made up of it! Then, in comparison, you have cokes…with all that sugar and carbonation. With all the additives. Added, in fact, by man. Unnatural, if you will. And specifically, the ingredients in them are meant to create a desire for more and more. If you’ve lived any amount of life, you have probably noticed that consuming sugar makes you CRAVE more sugar. It becomes this cycle. And eventually it does become an addiction.
And then I thought, this is a perfect parallel for sin in life. Or, to be more blunt, worldliness. (AKA: the things MAN makes for man rather than things God makes for man). Once we have a taste, we develop a desire for more and more. But the core need is never actually met.
Worldliness often has the connotation of being an old ‘churchy’ word. So I took the liberty of looking up the definition. Worldly, as defined by dictionary.com, has several (but all similar) meanings.
Reads: of or relating to this world as contrasted with heaven, spiritual life, etc.; earthly; mundane.
Reads: Experienced; knowing; sophisticated.
Reads: devoted to, directed toward, or connected with the affairs, interests, or pleasures of this world.
I was actually surprised to read these! I feel like my generation specifically has done one of two things with this word. As I mentioned earlier, I feel like we have either taken a bit of offense over the use of a word we deem “antiquated” by the church, OR we have strived to become, as the second definition reads: experienced; knowing; and sophisticated.. to display a certain level of ‘success’ to the world. I know I used to fall into the first category myself and I have to say I’m a little embarrassed at never having fully understood that it literally means “In contrast with heaven”!! In fact, even as I began writing this piece, I initially described ‘worldliness’ in my own words as “the things man makes for man rather than the things God makes for man”. It’s not far off, but to read the definition “in contrast with heaven” really puts it into clearer perspective.
Anyway, back to my train of thought on thirst…and how many try to quench it. Worldliness IS actually how most try to fill the need. Oftentimes it does appear to be harmless and sometimes it even looks like the answer to a ‘need’. Thirsty? Have a soda. You’ll crave more. Want attention? Post that photo on instagram. It won’t be long before you’re posting the next…trying to fill the ‘need’ for attention or validation. Sad? Medicate with substances until you feel better…for a time. But it’s never the cure for the REAL problem. You’re trying to fill a void and quench a thirst that only God can. It’s the same for money. It’s the same for fame or power or influence or any other construct that we chase - filling needs through worldly means. It just doesn’t work.
Today, I’ll share a story from John 4.