The Big Books of AA and NA have examples as to what happens and causes so many that fail to recover. In recovery meetings, we say they didn't "get it" when someone relapses. Celebrate Recovery offers explanations as to why the failure, being based on a "Christ-centered" recovery from various types of addictions. If you are taking the time to read this post, you may be a victim of relapse, or know of a loved friend or family member that has been.
I'll attempt to get to the point. Everyone has this issue. You may not be a drinker, use drugs, be a gambler or hooked on porn...thank God. But you have flaws, vice, or sins that you deal with.
An example being someone who worries. This individual constantly fears what may happen. Because of worry, the nag at their spouse and children because they don't comply to their repeated advice. They become angry over anything that goes against what they think is right, i.e. the government's stance on various social issues. Or, they may be paralyzed by fears, ending up in deep depression.
This type of individual needs recovery too. The problem is that few people see worry, nagging, or anger as sinful. They feel above the addicts because they don't smoke, or chew, or run with those who do. Hint: they need as much help as any alcoholic...they're hooked.
Jesus taught using parables, or stories. People love to listen to stories. A good orator knows to keep the attention of a crowd, tell a story. One of Jesus' parables was given with what seemed to be no final result or moral. In Mark 4, he tells of the farmer scattering seed for crop.
Some of the seed fell on the wayside and was eaten by birds. Some fell on rocky soil, sprouted, but the sun burned it up. Some fell among the thorns, which choked the seed, killing it. But some of the seed landed in a fertile loam that grew and yielded many times, perhaps making up for all of the failed crop. The end.
Jesus left the story there, and later, told the disciples the parable's meaning. The Word is the seed. The scripture may reveal a message of recovery from any addiction, whether substances or emotions. His words explain, in my estimation, why so many fail in recovery, in business, in their faith, and in life. And why some succeed almost effortlessly.
The birds that ate the seed was the adversary and his imps. His aim is confusion and distraction. He is successful through many means, knowing human weaknesses, desires, and sloth. He capitalizes with fears like shame and loss of friends. He loves to complicate the simplicity of recovery by making "doing right" for whimps, totally uncool.
The seed burned up by the sun is those who accept the Word with joy, but the moment any sort of persecution, or trouble arises, they move on or back to their old life.
The seed choked out by the thorns is those that hear the message, but the cares of life, the deception of fame or wealth and living the life of the glamorous is their desired choice.
The one who hears the message, accepts it, and surrenders to do what it takes to find real life, is where the seed fell into the soil and took a strong yielding root. The Word thrived in these individuals and not only fed them, leading them to a life of joy and freedom, but also yielding so much crop, potentially feeding masses.
The teaching Jesus brought in this open-ended parable gives the religious a lot of ammunition to condemn those hearing but non-conforming. My suggestion to the religious is to unload your weapon. That goes as well for those who judge others in recovery as they hold court on the relapser. Stop and think.
The message Jesus taught is true, the listener has heard, the seed is sown. We do not know where the seed falls in every person. Think and pray for God's best. Expect that wayward Christian to return, the fallen addict, alcoholic, or any addicted to anything to give up and return broken, ready to comply. When they do, show how deeply the seed landed in you...accept, love, and help them.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all!
I was looking at a coyote sitting still, possibly drawing a bead on it's next meal. It was around three in the morning when I first noticed the animal's presence. It was very dark that night, and visibility was limited, but I looked its direction, curious as to what it was stalking. The night hound stayed completely motionless and I became impatient. I shined my flashlight in that direction only to see the coyote was actually a tree stump. I was convinced it was a living creature I gazed at for that hour or more. Darkness can play tricks on what my eyes tell my brain I am seeing.
So it is in my spiritual life. It takes the Light to help me see ahead. Being pressed within my desires and needs will cause me to look away from the light and focus on personal fulfillment. What I see in the dark I call God's will, but it is a deception of my spiritual eyesight, telling my heart I see the path correctly...go that direction.
So I walk that way. My desire for the Holy begins to fade. The hunger to do good is then obscured by experiencing personal pleasure, good food, good fun,..."good Lord, where have You gone? Why have You moved away from me?" I question. Thinking I know God's will takes a broad turn when what I think I saw goes awry.
I suddenly trip with each step, getting further from having the ability to walk at all. I cannot see that the path is no path at all. I am fully among the thorns and the briars and see no way out of this trap.I need light to see.
"The path of the righteous is like the morning sun that shines ever brighter till the full light of day." Prov.4:18
You have been there too, I'm sure. God doesn't move away from us. We move away from Him, looking for that which is not. We always tend to think our eyes aren't deceived, or we can't be wrong...we are followers of Christ, we are clean and sober and free of addictions. This is the home of constant error, the arena of spiritual defeat from arrogant pride, not leaning on the Eternal and trusting Him. We are restless, bored from doing the "norm."
I experience pain from not looking at the lighted path ahead and winding up swamped in the quick-sand of sin and ignorance because I think I see spiritual matters so clearly. The only way to remain in the light and see trouble ahead is to reject the notion I have arrived and have the answers the world seeks.
Prayer gives me sight.
Prayer isn't tossing up foolish repetitive words toward heaven hoping they stick. Praying with purpose brings results, like Paul says he prayed for the Ephesians:
"I pray that He will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which He has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance He has promised His people." Eph.1:18
This type of praying in faith moves God into action for us and far transcends "now I lay me down to sleep"... Even though Paul prayed this for others, pray that for yourself.
The Word gives me sight.
"Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path." Ps. 119:105
If my focus is on God's precepts, totally convinced His Word is truth and my steps are ordered by His decrees, I will stay in the Light of truth, unable to fall. But I don't, we don't. We all tend to stray from the Light from time to time. The Word, however, implanted in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, brings to our attention that we are drifting away. This is why we need to give time to the Word daily.
My moments with the phony coyote were comical. I also laugh at myself after I am drawn back into the Light spiritually as well. The truth is, I seem to spend too much time off of the path until the pain is unbearable. God's mercy and grace is awesome! Like Jesus said, He comes looking for me, the lost sheep, misguided by self. Thank You God for the Light.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.