Navigating the ‘CROSSroad’ of Recovery

The word ‘Crossroad’ has long been associated with the concept of reaching a decision point, often representing a dilemma as to which direction to proceed, but without the benefit of knowing exactly what is in store for the traveler down either road. There is; however, a Crossroad at which we have been provided with a clear picture of what is in store for us as a result of which choice(s) we make.

It has been said that, “All roads lead to the cross.” While that may, indeed be true, it results in the most important question of all, “Then what?” What will you do with the Cross once you have encountered the Gospel Message of Jesus Christ: His death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father? One may question the truth in the saying concerning all people having to come to the cross. One may even argue this point by pointing to those who have not been reached by various missionaries in order to have the Gospel preached to them. While this may seem to be a good argument in defense of these people, it is countermanded by Scripture when, in Romans 1:18-22, Paul tells us that God has revealed the truth about Himself to everyone, “…what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:19 & 20 NKJV). Not only are we all without excuse when it comes to claiming ignorance as to the existence and power of God, but when we ignore the evidence that is before our eyes we eventually start to make foolish excuses and become, “…futile in [our] thoughts, and [our] foolish hearts [are] darkened. Professing to be wise, [we] became fools,” (Romans 1:21 & 22).

True, not everyone who comes to knowledge of God through His creation will actually come in contact with the Gospel message, but those who do have a decision to make once they encounter the ‘CROSSroad” this message represents. For those of us who have struggled, or are currently struggling, with addictions, this question asks if we will see the message of salvation as THE means by which we can come to Christ and experience delivery from our addictions, if we will stumble over the Cross, or if we will dismiss it as foolishness? These latter responses are certainly not unexpected since Paul, in 1 Corinthians 1:18, tells us, “…the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,” and in verse 23 he tells us that the message of the cross is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks.

Unfortunately, too many of us remain in our addictions for far too long, if not forever, since we, when confronted with the CROSSroad of the Gospel, do not heed its message and choose, whether through arrogance or ignorance, to continue on down the wrong path towards eternal destruction. We think we are wise and know what we are doing and where we are going, but God’s Word has much to say on this topic. One of the many warnings on this topic, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death,” is important enough that God saw fit to repeat it in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25. Yet, we continue to fight against God’s Word and trust in our own knowledge and/or feelings: “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned,” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

We certainly cannot rely on our own ‘wisdom’ in these instances, particularly in light of the fact that it was our own decision-making process that got us into our addictive state(s) in the first place. While we may consider the wisdom and direction of God to be foolishness, it is our own thinking that is foolish and brought us to our current state, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness,” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

As I mentioned at the beginning of this devotion, we do not have to rely on our own understanding when we are confronted with the CROSSroad decision of the Gospel, and we do not have to guess which way we should go. God could not be any clearer when He, through Moses, lays out the choices: “…I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live,” (Deuteronomy 30:19). Likewise, Jesus, in Matthew 7:13 & 14, tells us to, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

I urge each of us to consider our ways and, when confronted with the various CROSSroads in our lives, to choose that way that leads us to eternal life in Christ. Be that for the first time, or as a return to Him as a repentant prodigal.

Taking Every Thought Captive!

Scott Pipenhagen
Recovery / Transition Chaplain
Serve & Protect
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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About Scott P.

Scott is a retired Military LEO and a Volunteer Chaplain with Serve & Protect (www.serveprotect.org) where he seeks to provide transition services for First Responders and Military personnel by mentoring and connecting them with local 12 Step or similar Faith-Based recovery programs, local Chaplains, and Trauma Therapists to continue their recovery journey following residential care treatment. Scott contributes these devotions to the Serve & Protect ministry Facebook page: Guns'n'Hoses (https://www.facebook.com/GunsHosesMinistry). Scott has been involved in Faith-Based recovery programs since 2006 and has a Bachelor of Science in Religion through Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies through Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary. He currently resides in Fredericksburg, VA, and can be contacted at spipenhagen@liberty.edu.
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