Even as professing Christians we can find ourselves under the influence of addictive behaviors and/or substances, particularly when we are in a state of (physical and/or spiritual) disobedience. I fell into this trap in my younger years when I became angry with and bitter towards God after my father died when I was eight years old.
As I got older I grew more and more distant from God and became more entrenched in various worldly ways. Add to this the stresses of being in the military and working as a LEO, I latched onto several addictions as I tried to fill the void in my life and to cope with these stresses in my own power. Like the prodigal son, I thought I was having a grand time living this life of sin until I came to myself (Luke 15:17) and saw the true state of the mire that I was wallowing in.
This realization was only made possible by God’s loving persistence in sending the Holy Spirit to call me back into fellowship with Him. Much like Israel, as described by the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah Chapter 30, I was in rebellion towards God, had turned my back on Him, and was going my own way. This was in spite of warnings from good, solid, mentors who stood there entreating me to cease from provoking God and destroying my soul (Isaiah 30:20). Through all this, God was not willing to let me continue on to my ultimate destruction. I finally allowed myself to hear His voice as outlined in Isaiah 30: 21(NKJV): “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it’, whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.”
Once He had finally acquired my attention, I had to make the decision to turn back to Him (repent) and actively cooperate with His work in the cleansing of my life and the restoration of my walk with Him. Through this process I relearned to be reliant upon Him as the sole source for my sanity and sobriety.
Within the process of true recovery, and healing, from our various addictions and addictive behaviors it is foundational that we stop turning “to the right hand or…to the left” (Isaiah 30:21) as we squirm in our attempts to continue running from God in our disobedience. This is true whether we are still in the throes of rebellion in the form of full-blown addiction(s) or rebellion in wanting to run our recoveries in our own way and our own strength rather than turning them completely over to Him. If we surrender our will to God’s direction, he will surely lead us to peace, freedom, and sanity, just as He did the nation of Israel after their departure from bondage and captivity in Egypt. Much like the Israelites, we often resist this freedom due to unfamiliarity and seek to return to the ‘safety’ of what we have known and become accustomed to while in our bondage of addiction. However, despite their grumbling and rebellion, God continued to lead the nation of Israel through the wilderness by providing them a visible presence to follow by day (cloud) and by night (pillar of fire).
I pray that we can all completely turn our wills and recoveries over to the care of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit and continue to let Him lead us wherever we need to go, no matter how unfamiliar and frightening the path may seem. When those fears, confusion, and doubts start to encroach, just remember, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
Taking Every Thought Captive!