Obedient Slavery - Part 2
Last month in considering this topic of addiction I made this curious statement:- The same action that gets us addicted in the first place… is the same means by which we must be rescued… ‘surrender’!
I went on to say that one path of surrender leads to the Father of Lies making us ‘slaves’ … the other path of surrender leads to Abba Father making us ‘sons’!
Think about it… take the example of a person who looks for comfort in alcohol, they surrendered to the bottle, when they could have chosen what was better and surrendered to Father God by taking their pain to Him to heal (instead of to the bottle to hide).
We rarely think of it in this way… but it is indeed idolatry every time we choose something else over and above God.
Every time we choose a false comfort over The Comforter… we are choosing a sinful and damaging practice rather than choosing a merciful, loving God who can restore.
Sadly, this act of idolatry is what gives the enemy his opportunity to gain a foothold.
I know it to be true by my own life experience that when I’ve run back to the same habit or false comfort in the past – all I am doing is strengthening the enemy’s grip over my willpower until it is no longer possible to say ‘no’ (regardless of what it is we run to - eg alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or food, or work, or whatever form the addiction takes). From a spiritual perspective, Gordon Dalbey suggests an addiction is a bit like spilling super glue. If you get to it quickly enough and wipe it up, hopefully it should clean up easily. But if you let it sit long enough and it then hardens, you will now need special tools to remove it!
The spiritual reality is much like that superglue analogy. Take for example 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NIV which is insightful in this instance: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”.
In other words, sticking with the glue analogy (pardon the pun!), let’s just consider the implications of that biblical passage for a minute. Imagine enough time has lapsed for the spilt glue to harden (in other words, if you persist with the ungodly pattern of behaviour long enough - you will eventually become addicted). Then of course once we realise we’re in too deep, we try to stop the behaviour in our own human strength through willpower, or some special technique, usually to no avail! Why? Because we are fighting with feeble ‘weapons of the world’ that cannot remove the ‘hardened glue’. It has become a spiritual stronghold that needs to be demolished! And according to the Apostle Paul, it will require special tools (ie ‘divine power’) to demolish the stronghold we have become trapped in.
We know by experience that sheer willpower or human techniques will not be sufficient to free you from a gripping addiction (because it has now become a spiritual bondage!). You will now require a Deliverer (ie Jesus of Nazareth) to set you free using His supernatural tools (ie divine power)!
Nothing less will work.
What did you think was behind the habit or behaviour you have tried for so long to stop in your own strength? What else would it be if not a stronghold of the enemy? How many times have you said to yourself “I am giving this up right now!”, only to find the next time you are under pressure, or you feel like a failure, or become frustrated, or feel inadequate, or feel not good enough or ashamed… what do you do? You find yourself right back in that same false comfort/behaviour again! (Which then only further increases your sense of failure and shame!).
Sound like a familiar pattern to you?
It has become a prison. Your own efforts to free yourself are futile. You have arrived at a point where only a Holy God can liberate you.
One thing I have noticed about my own struggles is that it has been my poor choices that have got me into the pit initially, but it’s my pride that keeps me there! (I didn’t want others to know I was addicted to anything – I had to cover it all up and get out of it all by myself to save my pride. But it never worked!).
That’s why addictions beckon a deeper healing than simply just stopping the behaviour. Oh, and by the way… just being able to break the addiction is not the end goal here! (Does that surprise you to hear me say that?).
The actual end goal is gaining greater trust and intimacy with Abba Father.
Father God is the only true source of lasting love, joy, peace and comfort. If you are just trying to find a way to break the addiction and stop the ungodly behaviour, but have no intention of deepening your trust and intimacy with your Heavenly Father… then not only have you missed the most crucial point altogether… you may also miss out on getting healed and truly set free.
Breaking the addiction is not the end goal. The end goal is greater trust and intimacy with Abba Father - who will then empower you to overcome the spiritual stronghold behind the addiction.
The only true antidote to addiction is the saving grace of our Holy God who alone can liberate us.
Maybe next month we can explore a little deeper some of these challenging concepts I’m raising here… Actually if some of my above statements are stirring something within you, I’d like to recommend you write out how you are feeling… or write down the questions that are being raised in your heart right at this minute (especially when you read something like: ‘Breaking the addiction is not the end goal… The end goal is greater trust and intimacy with Abba Father’ – what stirs when you read that?).
I’m hoping I might be able to answer the valid questions you raise as we go long in this series as we look deeper into addiction.
Until next time,