1. We admit that we are powerless over our addiction and that our lives have become unmanageable.
When a person comes seeking some help for an addiction, there may be various different reasons why they have come to the conclusion that they need help. One of those reasons may be:
- Their companion is threatening to leave them, unless they change.
- Their parents are demanding that they get help.
- Their employer is threatening to fire them, unless they get help.
- They have found themselves going to extremes to get money for their addiction. Even to the extent of stealing, or selling themselves for sex.
- No amount of the addictive substance is able to satisfy them anymore. They are scared of what they might do next to themselves.
These may be the circumstances that have caused them to seek help. But these situations typically drive someone to do something because of fear. Now fear maybe something that moves them, but it’s going to take more than fear to get them to seek help in the right way.
A Proper Response to Fear Will Lead Us to the Love of God
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18
So as a gospel worker that is trying to help them get free from their addiction, we must also help them to recognize what God, in his love, has been trying to show them. They might not have even considered yet, that God has been trying to get their attention, through what they’ve been suffering.
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord God of hosts.” ~ Jeremiah 2:19
We need a healthy fear of God. God allows things to happen to us, that we might learn to fear evil things, like addictions. The correction of the Lord, through the reaping for our addiction, is his way of getting our attention and turning us around. We ignored all the prompts of his spirit against our conscience. So he had to allow hard difficulties to come our way, to get our attention.
“He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” ~ Proverbs 15:32-33
The Holy Spirit Speaking to Us
So the gospel worker needs to help the addict to begin to recognize how God has already been speaking to them. And so the question needs to be asked:
“What do we believe that God has been speaking to our heart about already?”
If we are starting to look for help, it is because God has already been speaking to our heart. Whether we recognize it as God speaking to us or not. The very conscience that we have, has been given to us by God. And he often speaks to us through our conscience.
“For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another” ~ Romans 2:14-15
Now there are people who have seared their conscience. And God is no longer speaking to them. But that is a horrible condition to get into!
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” ~ 1 Timothy 4:1-2
Some drugs are so dangerous that they can destroy our mind. Hypocrisy is one of the most deadly of spiritual drugs. Because it can destroy our conscience. And if an addict takes up hypocrisy by wanting to cover all the wrong that they are doing, they also can destroy their own conscience.
If we love to play the hypocrite, and we go about pretending to be someone that we’re not. We are in denial about our addiction. So then we go about trying to hide it, and how it has been affecting us and others. If that is the case: then God cannot help us!
So we must instruct the addict to not be such a fool with their life and their soul! If God has been dealing with our conscience, let us acknowledge him by not pretending otherwise. Let us be totally transparent and honest about how our addiction is affecting us!
“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” ~ Proverbs 23:29-35
How many things have we already suffered? And how many things have we caused others to have to suffer because of our addiction? And then yet, how many times have we still gone right back to our addiction again?
Can I honestly admit with my whole heart that I have a serious need? We must if we will seek mercy and find it!
“I intreated thy favour with my whole heart: be merciful unto me according to thy word. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” ~ Psalm 119:58-59
And then the question is: do we know how to ask sincerely for help? Or are we asking just so we can get out of our immediate trouble, so that we then can continue on with our selfish life? What is our real motive for seeking help?
“Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” ~ James 4:2-3
We Have Been Wounded
If we will be honest about our need, we will have to admit that we feel wounded inside. There is something deep that I am missing in my life. And in trying to soothe myself of this really reality, I have become addicted.
“For I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me. I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. My knees are weak through fasting; and my flesh faileth of fatness. I became also a reproach unto them: when they looked upon me they shaked their heads. Help me, O Lord my God: O save me according to thy mercy” ~ Psalm 109:22-26
Like an injured lamb that becomes separated from the flock and then is targeted by a pack of wolves, there is a spirit in the world that is opportunistic. It waits until it detects one has been injured (physically, emotionally, spiritually, or all three). When it detects this, it seeks to influence us to become isolated and untrusting. And then it offers us “something else” to soothe our pain and cause us to “forget” our circumstances. And by this “something else” it ensnares us, and begins to take control of us. We then lose control of our lives!
There is a deception in a “soothing” and addictive substance:
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” ~ Proverbs 20:1
The one who sells drugs and alcohol knows of this deception. They love the money they can make off of the addict. And so they offer the addict temporary relief through a drug or alcohol. Because they know that if they do this enough, the addict will come under their control. And they will continue to be able to make money off them.
People drink because of the deep pain inside that they are wanting to sooth. This pain is often due to a grieved and heavy heart. A pain that follows us lots of places, and leads us into many bad situations.
“Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” ~ Proverbs 31:6-7
This vulnerability to become addicted to the “soothing” substance, is actually very common among mankind. It is part of our human fleshly existence. It is why we are so vulnerable to becoming controlled when we have been seriously injured. The individual and their human nature need that help that only a divine Savior can give to us. We need that connection with God!
“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us…” ~ Ephesians 2:2-4
Those who labor to help others, are servants. And as servants, they have been subject to these same vulnerabilities in their past. Consequently, we don’t seek to condemn others. But rather to inspire another with the faith to believe in the love and power of Jesus Christ, to resurrect a life from the snare of Satan.
“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:24-26
But if we’re ever going to get help, we’re going to have to admit we need it. And we’re going to have to admit to what God has already been speaking to our heart. Because the scripture makes it clear, that God speaks to everyone by his Spirit.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” ~ Titus 2:11-12
So the question is: what are we going to do with what God has already been speaking to our hearts about? Are we going to take a step in faith and acknowledge him as the one that has been pricking our conscience? And then, can we take the next step in faith, to actually start looking to God for help?