We may be a believer in Christ. We may have in the past repented. We may have walked in the place where we have known godly sorrow. If we return to addiction, however, there will be no godly sorrow and therefore no repentance. Addiction numbs our soul and immobilizes our passion for righteousness.
We may try to be righteous, but self-effort usually falls short in the face of addiction. We may want to be righteous, but addiction robs us of genuine willingness. Righteousness comes not from our effort or strength, but from our giving up; admitting our weakness; and returning to the True Vine. We must abide in Christ in the place of surrender if we are to ever reap deliverance from addiction.
Those living in addiction must take radical steps to escape it. We may have to cut off friends; or possessions; or money; or power. To gain the deep freedom needed to withstand the addictive urge of the flesh, we will have to do war against the flesh. You do no spiritual service to God by harming yourself, so please let go of that idea. Satan would like you to think that way. You can enter spiritual service to God by eliminating the elements of life that give you the ability to stay in the place of addiction.
If an excess of money is fueling a drug addiction, for example, there may be no escape until the money dries up. That is why family so often will withhold financial support for a loved one who is using drugs. They are not expelling them, so much as they are trying to cut off the fuel that burns addictive energy. Most of us, though, struggle with private sins – no one is going to withhold the resources that fuel our addictions. That is why the actions of Noah spoke such a powerful message – ultimately, he realized that he had to be the one to withhold resources from himself. In the words of Jesus, he gouged his eyes out (spiritually speaking).
There is no easy solution to this kind of guilt. It will require a voluntary or forced loss of resources that fuel our addictions; and we will need outside help from recovery programs. We will need a God-given radical commitment to stay unplugged from people and situations that draw us into addiction, and we will need an equal commitment to plug into new people and programs that can draw us into spiritual healing and freedom. We must also expose our addictions to certain trusted others. We cannot do this alone.
I could not discuss guilt without addressing addiction, but at this point we need to move on. If addiction is your challenge, you can contact me for additional help. What if addiction is not the source of your guilt – what other factors may hold us captive to guilt? Join me next time.
Click Part 7 to continue this series.
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