Because people know Tracey and I came from lives of addiction they tend to come to us for insight when they or their loved ones are caught up in addictive behaviors. We would have it no other way. I mean, there is nothing I love more than to share how God delivered me and restored my life and marriage, but ultimately addicts are like everyone else and they have to come to the end for themselves.
As painful as it is to be an addict, or live with one, the truth is we can’t fix ourselves or them, and it’s going to take intervention of a supernatural kind. We can on purpose do some things to set boundaries, but in the end only God can truly deliver someone from addiction.
Tracey and I talked with a lady recently that is in a battle because of an addiction her husband is fighting. She has taken steps to get involved with a recovery program and seeing a counselor. Of course she knows her husband needs to do the same, but at this point he is still deceived into thinking he can fix things or manage himself better. This too is a lie. There is no fixing or managing addiction. There is deliverance but that usually only comes after a fairly long struggle to maintain oneself. My experience has been that an addict usually has to try and fail, try and fail and try and fail for a while before they run out of steam. It is only after the tank is empty that we will cry out to God saying, “Who will deliver me from the body of this death?”
Does that sound familiar? It should if you ever read the book of Romans because it is the place the Apostle Paul finally came to in the seventh chapter. He told us in Romans 6 we were crucified, dead, buried and raised with Christ to walk in newness of life. Then it’s as if he forgot or something because in Romans 7 he recorded the struggle he had attempting to keep the Law. He said, “The thing I want to do I don’t do and the very thing I don’t want to do I keep doing!” This is an illustration of someone that has forgotten they had died. This is someone that is deceived into thinking they can fix or manage themselves.
To me Romans 7 is a perfect picture of how an addict’s life looks. They hate their life and what it’s become; they struggle and struggle and yet they can’t break free from it. Eventually you really do hate yourself and what you have become. You end up losing friends, family, jobs, respect, money…etc. In the end it comes down to you and the raw, painfulness of life. Who will save me? What do I do now? I have no family or job–I might as well just be dead!
The beauty of this whole thing is if we are in Christ we have already died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. As a believer in Jesus Christ we have already died and now it is Christ living in and through us. As long as we continue to live as if we are just “us”, and we are in charge of our lives, we will continue to battle with all manner of sins and addictions. This is the way it works when we continue to live as if we can save or keep ourselves when the saving and keeping is Christ’s job not ours.
Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 10 we don’t wage war the way the world does. Our weapons are not carnal or fleshly, but divinely powerful and able to destroy strongholds. The world will tell you to try harder. You just need some will power! God’s way sounds foolish to the world but what would we expect? His way is, rather than try harder, we simply look to him and be reminded he has done all that is required. He has opened the way for our deliverance through the cross of Christ. He has already toppled the enemy’s fortress and our job is to trust him.
When those thoughts of addiction and shame come into our minds we don’t fight with them or attempt to rationalize with them. We turn to the truth who is Christ. I once heard it said this way “Don’t try to untangle the lie but rather speak the truth and let the lie untangle itself.” When those thoughts and emotions arise, that used to cause us to run for cover in our addictive behaviors, we now turn to the Spirit for relief. Rather than abuse ourselves and others we turn to Christ and remember he has done all that needs to be done for our victory over sin. After all, “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8)
Written by Louie