The desperate search for acceptance is no doubt at work in the epidemic of drug addiction in American society. While the motivations for using drugs are complex, the sense of hopelessness, worthlessness, and the absence of significant affirmation by others are no doubt important factors. The turn to drugs exposes the heartlessness of our social structures and relationships as well as the universal human vulnerability to the self-imposed bondages that are called addictions.
Although not often noted, our consumerist way of life is also an addiction. Modern societies create artificial needs through advertising and seduce us into seeking identity and meaning in accumulating material possessions. Whether bondage to the spirit of possession or success, we are driven by the desire to “make it,” to feel valued, accepted, and loved. In view of all of this, anyone who thinks that the doctrine of justification has little relevance for people in our sophisticated society captive to many kinds of addictions – whether of money, work, leisure, fame, sex, or the more frequently mentioned forms of substance abuse – is simply out of touch with reality
This short snippet comes from the book Faith Seeking Understanding by Daniel Migliore (page 238). We’re using it in one of the classes I’m taking.
I was struck by how true these two paragraphs are. And also how widespread addiction really is. The author could have listed numerous other addictions to emphasize the point, but for some reason chose not to. What the paragraphs did for me was to see that we are surrounded by addictions and often live in them without even realizing it.
The challenge is to remain focused on God. Of course that’s impossible for us to do on our own – if it were possible, addiction wouldn’t exist. Which is why the author talks about justification. In layman’s terms, justification is God’s grace to us and God making us right with God. That’s an extremely simple definition that I know has holes in it, but that’s the main idea anyway.
Justification has been debated for centuries. It was a primarily focal point of the Reformation. And to hear how it still applies today, in today’s terms is powerful.