Identity – Thrills

The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here. For it is written:
“‘He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”
When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

  • Luke 4:9-13

“The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come. When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the Lord your God and rescued from your enemies. Also at your times of rejoicing—your appointed festivals and New Moon feasts—you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the Lord your God.”

  • Numbers 10:8-10

“The younger and more energetic among us have the idea that the thrills of life are all that matter. Experiencing all the thrills of life is the ultimate point of living. It is a philosophy and is widely practiced and held by a good number of people who are not Christians. It is the philosophy that sex, food, sports, excitement and. the gathering of goods is the chief end of man and our purpose in life. Our purpose in life is whatever produces a thrill.
“Those who dedicate their time and the purpose of their life to getting a thrill out of life are going to have one of two things happen to them. Either they are going to run down physically or they are going to run down mentally until they lose all ability to experience any thrill anymore.
“Nothing is quite as pathetic as an old rogue who has no thrill left anymore. A bored, weary, defeated, burned-out old man who has spent his life seeking physical thrills wherever he could find them and at any cost now is old, tired and burned out. Nothing thrills him anymore. Trying to get through to him is like sticking an ice pick into a wooden leg. There is no response, no reaction, no life or feeling left.
“If that is all life is for, I think God made a terrible mistake when he created this whole world. If that is all, with my hand over my face, I cry to God Almighty, complain and say, ‘Why did You make me thus?’”

  • A. W. Tozer, The Purpose of Man

And to think that Rev. Tozer wrote this in the early 1950s.  People, much older than those he speaks of here and going for even greater thrills, anything to get that adrenaline high.

In fact, since illegal drug use has faded in popularity – still around, but for a while “experimenting with drugs” was common – the drug high has been replaced by the adrenaline high.  I have experienced runner’s high and probably the adrenaline high from frightening experiences, but I do not seek a sudden surge of adrenaline.  The low afterwards is devastating, and when you “burn out” as Rev. Tozer suggests, all that is left is that low.

I used the first Scripture because people do base jumping these days.  Jesus did not have a parachute, but then again, He did not jump.  Yet, a lot of people base jump, which is one of the more dangerous thrill-seeking adventures.

The second Scripture talks of going to war.  It is odd how many thrill seekers draw the line at that.  They would never consider joining the military and “serving” to get their thrills.  Their thrills are on their schedule, and they do not like being dictated to as to which thrill to choose.  But the Scripture is there for two reasons.  One, the adrenaline flows when you are going into combat.  But this Scripture suggests blowing trumpets to announce that God is going into combat with you.  This then gives the fighting force a double surge of adrenaline.  You are going into combat and the trumpets announce that God is with you as you go into combat.  It was said that the Scottish mercenaries who traveled the world fighting in one army or another were the most feared fighting force.  Before you ever saw them attack, you heard the bagpipes.  Adrenaline can boost your courage, but it can also boost your fear.

I was always safety minded long before I became a Safety Director for the company I worked for.  I did some thrilling things, but most were in the army under orders to do them.  I am much better suited as a desk jockey.

But I have noticed that there are many different reactions to a thrill.  In dangerous times, I become calm.  My adrenaline affects my thinking and time seems to slow down and I see and remember the slightest details in the dangerous situation with time enough to make adjustments in what I am doing.  My heart may be pumping like crazy, but I find it almost necessary to laugh in the face of danger.  I am the one telling the jokes, trying to break the tension in the room.  There are others that crumble under the pressure, I would guess in fear, but maybe the fear is in the adrenaline surge and not the actual activity itself.  There are those that are so “thrilled” about the thrill that they cannot think.  They continue to try to feed off that last morsel of adrenaline, and their brain seems to go numb.

But I definitely agree with Rev. Tozer, if our purpose for existence was to get an adrenaline high, then why did God create this universe and create us upon this earth?

Next week, I intend to conclude this series, with our true purpose, to glorify and enjoy God.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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