Acceptance of things that are not real. A nonsensical, delusional way of viewing the world.
I woke this morning to an alarm which sounded at 4:20 A.M. My wife had been up for a few minutes prior and quickly cracked a joke, saying, “Is it time for you to smoke a joint?” It took me a minute to realize what she had meant, but the time 4:20 had actually meant something to both of us in our former lives. For those who don’t know, 4:20 is the code-term in cannabis culture that refers to the time to consume it. I didn’t think anything of it when setting the alarm last night. I was only thinking about the amount of sleep and the tasks I had to complete this morning. My wife and I talked briefly about that former life. I told her about the paranoia and anxiety that I would surely experience if I were to again partake in the very necessary habit that I had once, so immensely glorified. That idol within my life. That god I would place before God. That altered state, away from a sober mind.
I began to talk to her about a friend I’ve had since I was around eight years of age. We didn’t see each other after high school, but we met up again several years ago through social media and the line of work we both share. We see each other pretty often now. We began to hang around each other several years ago, and it was the exact time where I was beginning to experience the reluctance of gratifying the flesh when it came to consuming marijuana. The Lord had put it on my heart to stop using. That little part of my life was the absolute hardest time I have ever experienced. Death of loved ones was hard. Physical pain has been hard. Quitting cigarettes was very hard, but throwing my precious, absolutely necessary habit away was the hardest thing I’ve ever done up until now. Although, the power of God helped me to experience the paranoia, anxiety and the many uncomfortable things that accompanied that time in order to cause me to really hate the feeling. It became a very nasty feeling. Something I had never experienced within my 20-plus years of smoking it. After months of trying, failing, doing well and then falling off of the wagon again, I was finally able to put it down. During the last months of trying though, I was hanging around the friend I had mentioned. My friend loved the drug just as much as I did, but he was, in no way, going to give it up. He was not where I was.
I had laid next to my wife this morning and talked about how hanging out with my friend is next to impossible for me. The fact is, he is not where I am in his personal walk with the Lord. My friend is a Christian, or a Christ-follower, or a child of God in Christ. Whatever title one would like to use. But unlike myself, he doesn’t see the harm in smoking marijuana and he doesn’t have the view that I do when it comes to the sinful nature of using the mind-altering substance. Unfortunately, when I try to show him the scriptural validation of how and why the drug is not what the Lord wants for His children, he quickly shrugs it off. He tells me that I am wrong, and the classic, “God made all seed-bearing herb” spiel commences. He also doesn’t respect my personal boundaries when we are together. He wants to gamble, smoke, drink, party until the sun comes up and carry on in ways that I no longer desire. I still call him my friend, but the reality is, we have very little in common these days.
I just can’t hang out with many of the same people I once had. It hurts a lot to see many of the faces that I used to see often, now only being able to say a friendly hello and engaging in the short conversation. ‘No,’ I can’t go to the bars that they invite me to. ‘No,’ I can’t go to the bong party. ‘No,’ I can’t go to the casino. I can’t hang out with them and remain peaceful. There are so many things that tug at my old ways when I am around others. It is kind of burden to me. I want to enjoy people and show my love for them, but the old ways creep into my mind when I am around them. When Jesus was around the broken, He was able to control Himself. Well, I’m not Jesus. I’m not able to fight off temptations of many kinds like Jesus did, so I must flee.
Acceptance of the things that are not real, and nonsensical, and the delusional ways of viewing the world come directly from sin. Sin clouds the mind, breaks it down into unmanageable little pieces, and it gives rise to the many forms of psychological disorder. It is shaped by this fallen world. It is manipulated by the impurities. Now, we have to deal with it. We have to find the tools and, in many cases, the drugs to help us heal. My friend told me that the marijuana “helps” him. The drug never helped anyone overcome the underlying problems being masked with it. I know from experience, research and facts that marijuana doesn’t fix anything. Prescription drugs, educating one’s self, therapy and, foremost, a relationship with Jesus Christ heals what ails the mind. A chemical imbalance within the mind, within a fallen nature, makes for a long and difficult journey for some. We have doctors who know how to help, and we have a loving God who knows how to strengthen us.
I don’t know my friend that well anymore, but I do know from talking to him that the marijuana is covering up things that he does not want to deal with. I sense it. I see it. I have experienced it. Perhaps God will someday show him that the dreamlike world that he lives in is not reality. Maybe someday my friend will seek His will, and not his own.