Perseverance is an essential part of our journey towards recovery, regardless of what it is we are struggling with. No matter how much progress one has made, or how well others may think we are doing from the outside, I have yet to come across a recovering addict who has not had thoughts of throwing in the towel because things are just “too hard”.
While things can, indeed, become difficult and we can often encounter obstacles and setbacks, these very trials and tribulations can make us stronger and can provide us with hope if we are guided by and yielded to Christ Jesus. Paul, in Romans 5:1-4, ties this together for us quite nicely when he wrote: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (NKJV)
Again, Paul emphasizes this precept in Galatians 5:1 when he states, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Likewise, 2 Peter 1:4-6, tell us that if we are truly “partakers of the divine nature” and have “escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”, we must “…add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness.”
In order to be successful in this process, we must keep a close eye on the company that we keep. We cannot afford to frequent the same haunts and hang with the same people whom we associated with while in the depths of our addiction(s) and sin. To do so would afford one the opportunity to set aside all the good progress they may have made in establishing a new thought process and a new lifestyle, only to fall back into the chains that once held them. Scripture warns of this in 1 Corinthians 15:33 when it says, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.’” The consequences of turning back to our past lifestyles are clearly warned against in 2 Peter 2:20: “For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.”
With these dangers in mind, I would caution all of us to carefully consider any recovery group or support network we may consider joining ourselves to. Take careful stock of who is at these meetings and how they are being conducted – I have seen far too many meetings where there was no legitimate efforts being made towards true recovery, and the conversations taking place served only to keep the addiction(s) before the eyes (and ears) of the participants.
Please remember, it is NOT the end of the world if we should we succumb to the temptations that surround us and have a relapse. There is hope in Jesus, just as we are told in Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” The key in this situation is to focus on getting back in the fight by getting back on our feet, repenting (turning back towards God) and continuing on our recovery journey. Ensure that you ALWAYS have good, solid, godly support incorporated into your recovery network. While this will not guarantee that a relapse will not occur it will, should a relapse happen, make it easier to get back on your feet and back in the fight: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
Remember, if we are truly committed to overcoming our addictions and compulsive behaviors, we already have ultimate victory over them if we are God’s children and have accepted His plan of salvation through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Taking Every Thought Captive!