Take water, for example. Water is absolutely necessary for sustaining life in all its forms. Adequate moisture for the garden is essential for productivity.
But too much water?
It's called 'drowning'...
My raspberries are rotting from the inside out. Usually, if you haven't picked a berry at its prime, it simply lets go of its hold on reality and drops to the earth, a silent piece of compostable waste - ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Not this year. The berries that are past their due date are rotting, pulling on a grey cloak of fungal funk that spreads to the juicy and healthy berries nearby. I haven't ever seen that before...
The air is so saturated with the moisture that wanders aimlessly seeking a home during the day, that it has no choice but to shed it in the evening, shoving it ungraciously out the door. Orphan droplets cling to any surface that can support it - and that means DEW!
Dew in moderation can be incredibly lovely. When it comes every night and sits for hours and hours, it outstays its welcome, leaving the door wide open to disease spores which require hot humid growing conditions. Diseases such as black spot on roses and powdery mildew on delphiniums and peas can choke buds, destroy foliage, and rob a potential harvest within days.
Too much of a good thing can bring on rot that twists and perverts usefulness.
The early believers in the city of Corinth had some issues with too much of a good thing, as well. I'm guessing that then, just as now, the pews were filled with addicts, in one form or another.
"You say, 'I am allowed to do anything' - but not everything is good for you. You say, 'I am allowed to do anything' - but not everything is beneficial. Don't be concerned for your own good, but for the good of others." I Corinthians 10:23
Some of the people were using the freedom given by Christ as a license to do whatever they wanted. The most obvious one that pops into our minds is the use of alcohol - we all know the intense personal, social, and criminal fall-outs of alcohol addiction and for some of us, it is better to avoid the stuff altogether if we know we can't keep to a moderate amount.
But what about other things? Food is crucial - but can be used as a drug to satiate our spiritual appetites when our hearts are hungry for love or attention or comfort. Many things which are harmless or even wonderful in of themselves can be used in the wrong ways - and as soon as the term 'too much' enters into the equation, trouble is around the corner as surely as my raspberries are rotting on their stems.
The real crime behind the drive to feed an empty heart is that we choose things that can't take the place of what we most need - Jesus. It is a way for us to exert some control over our uncontrollable lives, a short-cut to instant gratification. Our desperate actions subvert God's provision, which is always available in the wings for us, free for the asking. But our entire culture is so pig-headedly driven to stuff ourselves at surface level without figuring out what the inner drive is really pointing us to, most of us never give our vices a thought, other than how to get our next 'fix'.
Ah, friend. I know how hard it is to say no to the quick fix and yes to Jesus, a Being who is invisible and sometimes seems hard to find! It is hard to deny ourselves a way to feel better now when it takes time to dig into the Bible and seek God's face and sit at His feet when our hearts demand action.
But - imagine a world able to control its appetites, a world comprised of healthy, healed hearts, whose drives for comfort are met at the deepest level by the One who designed and hard-wired our systems in the first place!
A world with no drug or sex addicts. A world with no dry drunks, no wounded hearts, no unhealthily overweight folks.
Sounds too good to be true this side of heaven, doesn't it?
But friend - we could each take one step further to that dream now. Today.
The restoration that could follow would be astounding. Stupendous.
I could never get too much of that...