An important lesson God has led me to believe is combining recovery principles with spiritual truths. This has expanded of late to a radical belief that will be foreign to those having no belief in God, and insane to many those who follow Christ. The following are some things I see that may be what the massive influx of people entering recovery may need to change their direction and of this epidemic's stronghold on our society's youth.
The Sickness of Addiction
Medically, addictions to alcohol and drugs, of gambling and over-eating, of anger, depression, and all habits we call addictions, are regarded as a sickness. To the Christian circles, most of these are regarded as sin, transgressions against God. I believe when an individual first uses illegal drugs or drinks to get sloshed, sin is the correct term. However, when the use turns into addiction, sickness is the reality. At that point, the user wants free to never use again, but are incapable without help.
..."they will lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:18b
"His (Publius) father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in
to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had
happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." Acts 28:8-10
Laying on of Hands
Some churches practice healing by having the sick come forward during services, and have leaders and laypersons lay hands on them to be healed. Why not include the addicted? Admittedly, many if not most return to their pew still sick. Why? I believe it is, as scripture says, " the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise them up." Jas. 5: 15
"Prayer without faith is a wish." Anon
We who follow Christ and His teachings should follow that teaching to pray in faith, believing we receive as Jesus taught. The one who is sick would appreciate that. When one is sick, their body is weak, and so is their faith. Don't bother laying hands on anyone for healing if you don't believe their healing will happen that moment.
Because of past experiences of practicing this, and success rate being dramatically low, most often the practice is merely a ritual. If you want to use the reason for failure as, "maybe it's not God's will to heal them at that time," then you must believe God wants them sick. Christ took stripes on His back in vain, or redemption doesn't cover our healing just our new birth. Granted, some healing for some believers may be in the form of an apology they owe someone, or forgiving a suffered wrong. Unforgiveness stifles the redemptive work of Jesus, and the enemy knows it and takes advantage of a resentful spirit.
The Fix is Faith in..
"And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near
to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him." Heb.11:6
I say if you believe addictions to be a sickness, then treat the sickness with spiritual fervor in faith that when you lay hands on the sick, Jesus is laying His hands on them through you. Believe it. I want to add this crazy, radical thought. What I feel will bring the constant barrage of new inventions to bring methods of getting high that's unending, would be a demonstration of God's power in and among our people.
...The God of the Impossible
"In the last days, says God, I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh"...Acts 2:17
That is in the wings, I believe. Even if by now you think that will never happen, try asking for it. We need the reality of the risen Christ, the healer, the deliverer, as much today as they did in the first century. Naysayers, disbelievers, and many theologians do not believe in that possibility. But God will get our attention His way because of His unending love for mankind.
It isn't disasters He brings, that is the enemy's work. God uses it to draw people, however. Ask in faith for a personal visitation along with other praying believers. He hears and answers...and visits the expectant.
Peter gave his first message about the risen Christ in Acts 2, citing the book of Joel:
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see
visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both
men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will
prophesy." Acts 2:17-18 (Joel 2:28-29) NIV
I had this thought this morning: All people God? How is that possible when all people are not in the household of faith in Christ? I mean, how, without Your Spirit living within them could they prophesy, have visions, or dream dreams of You, and spiritual in nature? I was puzzled to say the least because that goes against my personal belief that God works through those that are in Christ, not unbelievers.
I learned to disregard much of my "religious" thinking when I entered recovery. I heard the phrase inside my self, leave your religion at the door Keith. It is all about Jesus, knowing and pleasing God, and living a life full of, and directed by the Holy Spirit within me. Religion is worthless when religion is judgmental. Following that holy internal nudge, I began to hear for the first time, God speaking through the broken in recovery meetings.
I sought to understand this Joel/Peter message. This is what rocked my mental boat into a spiritual reality. As the Gospel has went forth following the resurrection and ascension of Jesus; a light came on in the world, bringing something other than salvation to whoever believes and repents to follow Christ. The active presence of the Holy Spirit in the world, opened up the darkened minds of mankind to more discovery, invention, and exploration.
The Light, as it was delivered to men through the preaching the Good News of reconciliation to God, came on. Even those rejecting the Truth, benefited from the Creator's presence in the world. I realize this to be arguable, as prior to this time, discovery and invention existed, the pyramids, the gardens of Babylon, the water systems of cities, the Roman roads throughout their empire. Furthermore, the argument of the Dark Ages and lack of anything new but plagues and wars. So, these arguments I acknowledge, but the Light had an enemy that was a sore loser, and did all he could to darken men's minds through the religious. Not all of the religious were in favor of controlling the minds of the unlearned and ignorant. The monks of Ireland began universities throughout Europe. Through education and literacy, the L