When we think of addictions, I’d say some of the first things that may come to people’s minds are harsh things like drugs or alcohol, but an addiction is an addiction, is an addiction. Or let’s put that into bible speak – an idol is an idol, is an idol. Scripture gives us a glimpse into the making of an addiction using wine as the vice. The process starts in the mind. It begins with lingering. Scripture does not sugar coat the consequences either, if we are lingering, we’re headed for sorrow. You can read it for yourself in Proverbs 23:30, it begins with “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has complaints?”…….Umm, guilty, of of all 3! So how did we get there darn it? See the next verse. “Those who LINGER over __________” STOP- it should say (place your idol here). Scripture uses wine in this place, and maybe that is your issue, but the reality is you can put anything in that place. It starts with lingering and ends with sorrow. So what is lingering exactly? Lingering is staying longer than you ought…on anything. Lingering is subtle. When you’re lingering you can easily lie to yourself that your intentions are very solid, you do plan to move on…very soon, your just… lingering. It’s so innocent – until your trapped. We see this played out in Lot’s life when scripture tells us he “lingered” in Sodom after he was told to go. The lingering caused a quick-sand effect in his life to the point that two angels had to DRAG HIM AWAY. God knew that Lot’s lingering caused him to become immobilized, so God in His mercy intervened and yanked Him out .
It’s hard when God yanks something out of our lives, but it’s for our protection. Is there a place in your life where your “innocently” lingering still? Lingering is the natural undercurrent of your thoughts, the lazy wanderings of the mind. Let’s look further at how the scripture pegs our nasty habit of lingering. It says if we linger too long at that thought, that idol, that thing that’s gotten a hold of our hearts, that according to verse 33 “your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things”, and that friends is deception in the making. And it all started by lingering. Lord of the Rings does a brilliant job of using symbolism to drive this home. Whenever they lingered over the ring it began to affect their perception and their thinking. Have you been distracted so-much-so that your missing out on the present?
I want to emphasize, it doesn’t have to be something harsh like sin, friends, it can also be…. loss. Studies have shown that when people experience loss of any type, their minds begin to rehearse over and over again the trauma of that event. Maybe it’s someone from your past that you lost, or something you’re afraid of losing in the future, or a dream you had that is gone, you linger. The point is, scripture shows that lingering leads to very ill effects in life. So, do you have a sorrow? Could it be you’re lingering over something? The Christian life is all about turn-abouts. Sometimes I have to turn-about thirty times a day! Have you bought into the lie of following your heart? We should never, ever, follow our hearts, we should and must lead them. Oh the good things that are on the horizon, but don’t linger! Read the sign post: Warning – lingering may cause sorrow. Forward motion friends, join me.