We live in a world where every conceivable illness and sickness has a clinical name attached to it. Below is but a sampling taken from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM):
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Anxiety and Panic Disorder
- Gender Identity Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Disassociative Identity Disorder
- Reactive Attachment Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (tell this to your boss in the heart of a Michigan winter)
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (my wife claims I suffer from this disorder)
- Attention Deficit Disorder (my wife also claims I suffer from this at select, predictable times)
There is one disorder, however, that you would be hard pressed to find in this manual—“Worship Disorder.” Yet I believe this is the leading disorder of our time. In fact, it is the disorder that leads to all other disorders. It is part of the Fall of our first parents.
All addictions are the result of a worship disorder. A breakdown in worship leads to a breakdown in emotional, mental, and behavioral health. Such is the seedbed for addiction (drugs, alcohol, sex, food, shopping, TV, sports, money, anger, etc.). Of course, there may be other contributing factors (e.g., chemical, psycho-social, behavioral), but at the root of all addiction, there is a breakdown in worship.
Paul makes this diagnosis in Romans chapter 1:“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (24-25). Notice the cause and effect: When people deliberately suppress the truth and exchange it for a lie and worship the created order over the Creator, they start thinking crazy. They start feeling crazy. They become less and less human and more and more bound by the sinful desires of their hearts.
Then they implode.
When our son Joshua was in eighth grade, his school took an extended field trip to Chicago. I was one of the chaperones. Among the many sites visited, we spent an afternoon at the city’s planetarium. Joshua sat behind a PC and decided to reconfigure our universe. Moving the sun to the side, he inserted one of our eight (nine if you count Pluto) planets into the center.
I will never forget what happened when he pushed “Enter.” Everything flew off the screen. His universe crashed.
Joshua learned an important lesson that day. The sun keeps all of the planets of our solar system in their proper orbit because of the gravitational pull it exerts due to its mass, its weightiness. It is the “glue” which keeps everything in order. However, when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart.
The same is true spiritually.
When God is displaced from the center of our lives with other things and/or people, we become disoriented. We lose our footing. We crash.
Disordered worship leads to disordered lives.
So what does this mean practically? If you want to cure the addiction, you must ultimately address the worship problem. Once that is solved, everything else automatically begins to heal and repair itself.
Pastor and author John Piper puts it this way: “We were made to know and treasure the glory of God above all things; (but) when we trade that treasure for images, everything is disordered. The sun of God’s glory was made to shine at the center of the solar system of our soul. . . . When it does, all the planets of our life are held together in their proper orbit. But when the sun is displaced, everything flies apart. The healing of the soul begins by restoring the glory of God to its flaming, all-attracting place at the center.”
Won’t you bend your knees and bow your heart to your Creator? Won’t you submit your life to his authority? Won’t you give him the honor due his name?
If you do, there will be harmony and balance and order in your world. You will experience joy and peace. Everything will begin to fall in place, and the planets of your life will start orbiting properly.
“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.” (Ps. 95:6)