Decontamination

DeconIn my last post I closed with a call to clean the HAZMAT of addiction(s) out of our lives and the lives of those around us. I would like to dig a little deeper into that thought today; however, before we can do this we must, first, identify what has contaminated our hearts prior to beginning the decontamination process.

Here are a few ways to accomplish this: 1) We can take a prayerful and introspective look at ourselves, “Let us search out and examine our ways, and turn back to the LORD,” (Lamentations 3:40 NKJV); 2) We can ask God to identify our flaws and addictions, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24) and “Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my mind and my heart” (Psalm 26:2); or 3) We can ask another person for assistance in identifying the flaws or character defects that contaminate us, just as in Leviticus where the Israelites were instructed to present themselves to a priest for identification of potential leprosy illnesses, we sometimes need someone else to look at our circumstances and identify/diagnose our aliment(s).

Note: Those who are assisting others as they seek to identify the sin in their lives must take care not to become contaminated in the process themselves. Just as First responders may also require decontamination due to their proximity to the release, contact with contaminated victims, off-gassing, and clean-up of the contaminated area, we must ensure we are protected through the use of PPE (Bible & prayer) in order to mitigate the effects of potential cross-contamination.

Once the HAZMAT has been identified, the decontamination effort needs to begin. One key way to break away from the chains of addiction is to expose the sin and bring it out of the shadows so it no longer has the same grip of shame on your life. It is imperative that you complete this task with someone who is COMPLETELY safe, and thoroughly grounded themselves: “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much,” (James 5:16).

As effective as this may be, it will not fully complete the required decontamination. It may break up the crusts and get the process started, but in order to be fully clean we must be washed in the True universal decontamination agent: The Blood of Jesus. “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin,” (Psalm 51:2); “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9). Unlike basic HAZMAT decontamination, this process must take place from the inside out, rather than merely focusing on cleaning up our exterior appearances, actions, and habits, just as Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 23:26 when He told them they needed to “ first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”

As with any HAZMAT situation, those infected must physically leave the source/area of contamination to ensure they can get fully clean and to prevent cross or repeat contamination from taking place. We must be determined to break away from those sinful actions and lifestyles that only serve to bind us and kill the Spirit within us. However, if we make the commitment to break away, God will cleanse us and make us His own: “They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God,” (Ezekiel 37:23).

Just as HAZMAT and BIO-HAZARDs can be deadly if proper protective/decontamination measures are not enacted, the Spiritual contamination represented by the sin of addiction, be it to drugs, alcohol, pornography, etc., can lead to Spiritual death if they are not dealt with and expunged from our lives.

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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