“The strength of a man consists in finding out the way in which God is going, and going in that way too.” -Henry Ward Beecher
It’s a God Thing
Medical doctors call addiction a disease because it embeds itself into our bodies physiologically, creating dependencies that have definitive symptoms. Psychologists will often refer to addiction as “attachment” because in addiction we become “attached” to things in ways that are destructive to us. Religious teachers often call addiction idolatry and sin because of the way that addictions skew our personal priorities. Because addiction can be seen from differing points of view it is important for us to understand that each viewpoint has merit because addiction affects the whole person. That is, physically, mentally and emotionally and spiritually. Addictions hook our bodies by creating bio-chemical dependencies in our brains. It takes hold of our lives by creating attachments to people, places and things that we addictively think are necessary for us when they really are not. And, our addictions keep us from having a meaningful connection with God because we value the things we are addicted to more than we value God. Whichever viewpoint is considered, the result of addiction is the same. Lives erode and people die in one way or another.
It has been said that addiction is the most human of all diseases. After all, addiction has been around since man has been around and in one way or another we are all addicted to something. In the past, addiction has affected us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. But we don’t need to stay addicted any longer. When we become willing to seek a spiritual solution to our addictions, we will begin to find solutions for the physical, mental and emotional problems as well. The willingness to look for a new kind of spiritual solution is a kind of grace. We say it’s grace because as we admit that we need help and in coming to believe that we can be restored to sanity, the downward spiral of our addiction has been interrupted. This is something that we could not do on our own.
Furthermore, it is grace that we have the opportunity to take steps that will help heal us. This is a decisive dignity that we had once lost to our addictions. Somehow, in grace that is at the precise point where our hopeless desperations collided with the hopeful desire to find sanity for our lives we’ll find a decisiveness that we didn’t have before. Because the pain of staying the same was more than the pain of changing, we decided, without even realizing it, which is grace, to reach out and grab onto what we’ve come to believe will restore sanity to our lives. Seeking to recover from our addictions, through the power of grace, we seek the Kingdom of God which means to simply make God the King of our lives. For you see, The Kingdom of God is nothing more than the place where God is King.
Remember our friend David from Psalms 38:3-8? Some believe that David had serious problems with addiction. We don’t know for sure but it’s possible that David may have been addicted to sex. Considering how he pursued a sexual relationship with Bathsheba, who was a married woman, and how he orchestrated the circumstances where her husband would be killed in order to hide his sexual impropriety, there is evidence to the real possibility that David was addicted to sex. Most poignant of all is that he seemed to be in deep denial of the consequences of his actions. David, like any addict, was blind to see how his actions where hurting others.
To David’s credit, when his wrongs came into the light, he did not waste a lot of time arguing. He not only realized how wrong his actions were but he also realized that he had unwittingly become, in his addictions that is, his own worst enemy. This helps to explain how David, as he wrote in the Psalms, “I'm on my last legs; I've had it - my life is a vomit of groans,” had found himself at a decisive crossroads. He realized, as we have, that his life was unmanageable and he needed to change in order for his life to change. David was, as we are, at the crossroads of faith and decision. The ultimate question for David, as it is for us as well, is what will the future be like. David, in Psalms 18:1-3 tells us how he expressed his willingness to reach out and connect with a Power that would make a difference in his life.
Our friend David would not allow his addiction to define his entire life, though there was no escaping the consequences of his past. He decisively committed in his heart and mind to seek out a relationship with God. In so doing, David began to find a new and healthy identity for himself. Ultimately, David came to be known as a man after God’s own heart, even in spite of his addictions. The same can happen to us. As we come to believe that we can be restored to sanity, we gain the opportunity to discover and live out a whole new identity. It’s an identity and life that is a perfectly scripted plan for our lives by the design of a loving and caring God. The possibility to live this miracle is here so the only question for us is, will we be willing to live it out?
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