Yesterday we concluded a series at Gateway Church in Austin called Outed. The series was created based on the results of an online survey. John Burke shared some of the following insights:
“What are you running from, what are you running to?
When we are in pain, we usually run towards something. At our healthiest, we run towards God. When we run from God, we run to something else—but it’s usually a trap that just causes more problems.
We asked the following question in our online survey: ‘When life’s hard, and you just want to run away, where do you go to escape?’ Here’s what you and your friends told us:
- 62% of us use Television to escape reality
- 47% Movies
- 43% Internet/Facebook/Social Media
- 34% shopping
- 22% work
- 37% used alcohol to escape reality
- 17% porn
- 12% sex
- 8% illegal drugs
- 5% prescription drugs
Some of these may seem like harmless escapes, but they can cost us a lot. These escapes can quickly become cruel masters that enslave you and rob you of your freedom to experience love, peace, and joy in all areas. A lot of us are running to the wrong things for relief.
So what should we do?
‘We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.’ Romans 5:3-5
‘Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me…As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.’ John 15:4-11
It’s when we feel empty of love, lacking joy, grasping for life, that’s when we run to these Escapes. They numb the pain, but they don’t get at the root of the problem. Remember we said, Reality is your friend. Even painful reality—because painful reality can propel toward the Source of Love and Joy.
The brokenness and pain of life has a purpose—to help us run to the Source of Life.
To listen or watch this message, go to www.gatewaychurch.com/podcast.