For each of the residents at VOH, one-on-one Biblical Counseling is a major part of the recovery process. And for each counselor, homework is a major part of Biblical Counseling. Each of the girls are assigned indiviualized assignments depending upon their need.
Recently one of the girls at VOH was assigned to read Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave and write a book review for it. Here’s what she came up with …
Will we worship ourselves and our own desires, or will we worship the true God? What is “Addiction”? Is it sin, sickness, or both? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines an addict as “to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or excessively.” It also defines worship as to “idolize.” So an addiction isn’t really a disease is it? It’s worship. It is giving your time and efforts to something and in doing so it takes a hold of you through habitual acts. In other words it enslaves you. Being a slave isn’t a disease. It’s when something or someone takes hold of you until you are freed.
The beauty in being an addict is that you CAN have freedom. The problem is most people don’t know where to find that freedom. That freedom is found in Christ.
Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” Addictions stem from the heart and if Jeremiah 17:9 is correct, which I believe it is, then how can we even know where to begin the road to sobriety? Christ! He is the only one who can show us where our desires truly lie. Addicts need the power of God! I Corinthians 1:18 says “For the word of the cross is foolishness for those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” When we do not have the power of God it is nearly impossible to overcome enslavement and if we do overcome one addiction most of the time we will run to another.
Our addictions must be traced to our hearts and what they desire. Our hearts are designed to desire God but due to the Fall, we try and find satisfaction in creation instead of in our Creator. This is called sin and sin leads to bondage which leads to an addiction which ultimately leads to death. On page 66, Edward Welch describes the descent into our addictions. It begins when we are unprepared or unaware of our steps. This then leads to the friendship phase. The addict believes they have control and it’s nothing serious then the addiction takes root. This is called the infatuation stage. Every need, want, longing, is found in the addictive behaviour. Finally addicts become abject worshippers. Romans 6:19 says “You used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness.” Our idols originally offer the world but all it dishes out is hell. II Peter 2:19 says “for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.”
Our only way out of our slavery is to have Christ as our Master.
A person deep into addiction is desperate and in deep pain but, most of the time, would rather cover up their problem. Usually it’s for reasons such as shame, fear, or many other reasons. To confront someone with their problem is the first step in helping them, but it MUST be out of love and not annoyance or anger. The addict is already at a low point, they need love and guidance not condemnation. An addiction is not an easy road and it takes a lot from everyone involved. I Corinthians 13:4 says “Love is patient, love is kind.”
The best way to know how to love someone is by getting to know them, know their story. Everyone has a story and everyone’s story is unique. Learning someone’s story will also allow you to find out whether they are a believer or follower of Christ. If they are not they need to know the truth because without Jesus you can do nothing (Colossians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”)
If and when the person receives Christ or knows Him, he or she should learn practical theology not only to know the Lord better but to fear Him. Chapter 8 says, “As we grow in knowing the Lord, we do something. We respond. We can’t help but respond.” AMEN! God is powerful and with His power He moves mountains. When we begin to realize life is about Christ and not about us anymore, our desires and focus changes. When we learn about forgiveness and what it really means then we can’t help but love Him even more. We replace our addictions and idols for an all powerful wonderful Saviour who frees us from bondage. The addict cannot be free until he or she understand and realizes that.
It is essential during this process that the addict turns from lies. Jesus says in John 8:32 “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Satan is the father of lies so it only makes sense that lies enslave you. Jesus sets us free!
Most addicts will think that once you have the answer then they are cured but it also takes effort. Yes, Jesus does free us but that freedom is shown in many ways. One major way is self-discipline. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” God enables us to be disciplined.
This is war. We must fight! It’s not a war of flesh but a “war against your soul” ( I Peter 2:1). We must fight with hope because Satan has already been defeated! Do not give him what is not his! Victory is ours! The only way to keep up the fight is to pace yourself around the body of Christ! God’s grace is sufficient and with His grace He gives freely! He gives us one another to fight!