God has this way of delivering news before He delivers the result. Usually, the person who receives the news has a hard time believing the result. The reason God does this is that He needs to challenge and shake-up our thinking to get us to perceive things as He does.
Consider the most hopeless case of addiction you know...perhaps that's you reading this right now. Imagine God saying, "Greetings, my clean, sober, healed, victorious child!" You may not believe that could ever be true, but God has already declared it to be true. There's a great story in the Bible about a man named Gideon that illustrates this principle.
"The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, 'Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian."
(Judges 6:11-13 NIV)
Gideon is hiding from the enemy who is so oppressive that anything the Jews have is immediately and forcefully stolen. God sends and angel to proclaim that Gideon is a "mighty warrior!" Sound ridiculous? It certainly did to Gideon. He was not able to conceptualize his own victory but God already had it planned.
In the grip of addiction, you cannot conceptualize your own freedom, but God has already declared it to be true.
Beyond the declaration, God calls Gideon into multiple steps of obedience, one at a time. Gideon is faithful and has enough belief to take God at His word, one step at a time.
Are you willing to believe God enough to take things one step at a time and be obedient to His will?
God even does the irrational, unthinkable, and gets Gideon to reduce the size of his army to 300 men so that God shows him that the victory over their enemy was due to the Lord's strength, not the power of their army.
God is willing to display His power in your weakness and deliver you to a place of freedom.
Ultimately, Gideon gets the victory God promised and there is peace in the land.
You can experience the victory and deliverance you seek from the grip of drugs. It takes God's power and your willing obedience. That combination simply cannot and will not fail!
You are one decision in the direction of God's will for your life to begin your miraculous journey to freedom. If you can't believe it, don't worry, because God can!
Father, in the name of Jesus, we receive your promise of freedom for our lives when we cannot believe it for ourselves. We say, "I believe, help my unbelief!" Show us, step by step, your will and your ways and help us to walk away from the drug, away from the alcohol, away from the toxic relationship, away from whatever has us in bondage and into your light. Give us the needed strength and wisdom. We need you and believe you even when we cannot believe in ourselves.
Play by the Rules?
Wherever you find addiction you will also find dysfunction. The two are joined at the hip. Because of the severe ill of addiction, the dysfunction is very clear. Friends and loved ones of the addict may say, "they used to be so full of life and now I just don't know who they are anymore." That is true of everyone who engages with the issue of addiction... the rules of relationships change. When it comes to the addict and their codependent, significant other, the rules of their relationship may look something like this:
From the Viewpoint of the Addict:
It doesn't take long before the illness spreads to everyone involved. The rules of an ill relationship have no good end. If you continue to play by the rules of dysfunctional relationships, nothing will change, and, in fact, things will only get worse. You may ask, "How can that be? I'm trying to help!" The only way that true change can happen is if the rules of the relationship change. The loved one of the addict is in a better place to change the rules than the addict many times. Changing the rules is hard, but not impossible.
1) You must detach. This is not divorce. Detachment is changing the rules of engagement and placing responsibility and accountability back on the individuals to whom they belong. Detachment says, "You may choose _______ but that doesn't mean I clean up after you." Detachment says, "I love you too much to keep on with the rules the way they are."
2) You must focus on self. Loved ones of addicts must shift the focus back to themselves and care for their own well being. In the absence of the over-involvement you have been giving the addict, you trust them into the care of God, and then you trust yourself into the care of God. Only His presence and power can change us.
3) You must establish new rules. This list will be completely different. A new list of rules might look like this:
The team of Addiction Response Ministry responds with messages of hope, help, and healing.