Handling Problems Realistically

Are you looking for a quick way out? Fred Smith shares his wisdom on the process of transformation.

By Fred Smith

A former pro athlete, now incarcerated on drug charges, said that the drug problem is really a problem of lifestyle. He said that we are caught between our idea of the good life and real problems. Some of us choose to handle the real problems by escaping into substance abuse. I agree with him, but I think it might be something more.

It is how we define a problem. A problem may be a hurt or a vacuum. The good life says that we are winners; we always feel good; we always feel high. We look and feel like television commercials. If we are down then we are living in the first half of commercial, the "before" view of life. Commercials or sitcoms solve problems in lightening speed making the "after" look like reality, when it may actually just be another layer of the problem. Nothing in life can bring instant results, short of consciousness-altering substances or experiences. Real life just doesn't work that way. Nature cannot transform us that quickly. This is one of the reasons that many of us look for spiritual highs and spiritual quick fixes because we don't want to go through the spiritual transformation process. We want to go from "before" to "after" in blinding speed, enjoying it all the way. It just doesn't happen that way. So, the good life cannot be the winning life because we would have to lean on the artificial, the synthetic, the addictive to live at that level. Too many get drawn into pornography, extreme habits, substance abuse and addictive lifestyles looking for a sudden high.

We have to learn that the core hurt always had a periphery that could be satisfied by these solutions, but it does nothing to salve the core. Actually, the core continues to grow until one day the entire hurt has no place to be temporarily satisfied and our hopelessness and thoughts of suicide become one recourse. Another solution is to give in to the darkness and decide that we are worthless and may as well live that way, jettisoning all self-respect.

The answer is the rejuvenation of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that satisfies like the washing and changing through the Spirit. The power of this is in the living out of the transformation. We have the head knowledge of rejuvenation, but our experiences must live it out. Just as Einstein's theory seemed practical, but until the astronauts climbed into the space ship they had not actually tried it out. It cannot be tried except at great risk. Spiritually, it is the same. We can't do it on a trial basis. It is the total risk. But the good life through rejuvenation and regeneration is truly the only good life. All else may sizzle for a while but will ultimately fizzle.