When the number of people who continue to smoke, drink and drive, drive at excessive speeds, fire off weapons precipitously, sometimes taking human lives, use dangerous drugs, eat unhealthy meals, abuse but rarely exercise the Holy Temple of their bodies are taken into account, a very large percentage of the population of the United States is represented. These self-destructive patterns are deliberate and obvious ways of bringing sickness and death sooner rather than later. Again, this behavior is not always the result of ignorance-- at some level it is chosen as a defense against giving up control by taking one’s chances with life, or death. To challenge this type of behavior directly only runs the risk of eliciting more of the same.
It may be concluded then that there is a general tendency for many people, at most times and places, to strive to depend on themselves-- and work in the service of death rather than life. After all, there are only two ways to go, and to forsake the one is to become deeply enmeshed in the other: “This day I call on heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life...” (Dt. 30:19-20).
Many of those who fear to “hold fast” or depend on the Lord and others also frequently evince complex ways of choosing for worse rather than for better-- and then repeating the errors; staying over-long in the wrong company, for example, choosing the wrong mate, making wrong investments, getting into problem areas and getting out of troubles with more than your average difficulty. They seem bound to bring it all on themselves-- to get there first with the worst. Refusing to take chances with reality or to learn from past experiences-- they have a losing system and appear loathe to try anything new. Blue moods make it worse.
Moods and attitudes are involved here. These arise from emotional substrates and will run the gamut from festering anger, vague fears, jealousy, envy, injured pride, over-investment in loves other than for the Lord, worry and confusion over right versus wrong choices-- most of which can prove a rather sickening “virus”, especially if carried on chronically for periods of time. It should be generally recognized that all our emotions are normal, and we all have them to one degree or another. Problems arise when emotions, or feelings, take over the driver’s seat in our existence. Feelings are just fine and very important when they remain secondary to our purposes, directions and goals. If they take the lead and are in charge of our motives however, there is bound to be trouble.