I used to be the type of Christian that thought that putting something down (ie. drugs and alcohol) was as easy as pie because it was easy for me. I couldn’t understand how some people who said they wanted to stop and prayed for God’s help to stop, would continue to use. I mean, I had no problem stopping (or did I). You see, I put down smoking pot (after a brief time of battling it out in my mind) and drinking without a problem but God has opened my eyes to see that I still struggled (or still struggle) with other issues that in His eyes are just as bad. Addiction as a whole isn’t confined to just drugs and alcohol, it encompasses any habit or practice that one might find themselves devoted to doing. God has used many of the circumstances in my life over the last couple of years to help me to see the bigger picture. First let me stress that I firmly believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to take an addiction away from a person on the spot. I know He has done that with many of you and that its probably why many of you struggle just as I struggled to understand why others can’t stop. The problem isn’t their prayer or God, its their willingness to stop and by willingness I mean what steps and/or actions they are willing to take to stop. Physiologically, drugs and alcohol affect certain portions of the brain that deal with impulse behavior making it harder for the person to say no and make rational decisions on the spot. Why, then, can some people quit cold turkey and others not? Well, although drugs/alcohol affects the portion of the brain as stated above, some are affected more than others.
So, whats my point? Well, to all you Christians out there that struggle with the same lack of understanding that I had, open your eyes. This is a huge problem that needs to be addressed because we are turning our backs on people that need Jesus because we think that they do not want to change but the reality is that nobody desires to be an addict. Yeah, some choose to live a party lifestyle but again, noone desires to be an addict.
Now, for those of you out there that might be struggling with addiction (any addiction) there is help but as I stated earlier, what are you willing to do to stop. The first place to start is with God, pray earnestly for His forgiveness and His help. Secondly, seek extra help through recovery groups, counselors, programs, etc. Why this second step? Sometimes the problem isn’t wanting to quit its knowing how to turn down the temptation and these types of programs can help a person learn to live apart from the addiction. There is one program that I feel strongly about called “Celebrate Recovery” where a person will learn to live a life apart from addiction with the focus being on Christ. They have an acronym for recovery:
R – Realize I’m not God; I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor“
E – Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that he has the power to help me recover.
“Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted“
C – Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
“Happy are the meek“
O – Openly examine and confess my faults to God, to myself, and to someone I trust.
“Happy are the pure in heart“
V – Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects.
“Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires“
E – Evaluate all my relationships; Offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm I’ve done to others except when to do so would harm them or others.
“Happy are the merciful“, “Happy are the peacemakers“
R – Reserve a daily time with God for self examination, Bible readings and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
Y – Yield myself to God to be used to bring this Good News to others, both by my example and by my words.
“Happy are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires“
Remember, you are not alone in this. You have a ton of Godly people who have come before you who have struggled as well. We consider the Apostle Paul to be one of the greatest Christians ever. He wrote the majority of the New Testament, and yet he considered himself to be the chief of sinners and even stated:
“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9
and he also stated that he struggled with doing the things that he shouldn’t do and not doing the things that he should. Sound familiar. Like I said, you’re not alone; but let me warn you, do not use this as a crutch or an excuse because Paul also said
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-7
Don’t give up! Strive to finish the race!