Powerless… Without God

Me: Spirit of addiction, I renounce you. Get out in the name of Jesus Christ.

Spirit: You can’t renounce me, you’re an addict.

Me: Yes, I can, because with God all things are possible.

It is true that I am an addict. Even after all these years, the thought still occurs to me that drugs will fix whatever feelings I have. On my own, I’m powerless over these thoughts. I’ve seen people driven back to active addiction when the old obsession overpowers rational thought.

It is also true that I haven’t used drugs for 35 years. By the grace of God, I’ve been set free from the hold addiction had over me. But only by the grace of God. If I ever begin to think that I did this, I’m in trouble.

That, of course, is the original sin: thinking that I can be my own god (Genesis 3:22). We’re all prone to it. “Thanks, God, for getting me through– I got this now” is an all too familiar phrase. The fact is, I will never be safe from addiction without reliance on God.

That should be obvious. But sometimes it isn’t. That’s because I fail to admit powerlessness in all areas of my life. Do I turn my finances over to God? I try, but I often find myself worrying about where the money will come from to pay the bills– and sometimes engaging in frantic behavior to make it happen.

Do I turn my marriage over to God? How much time do I spend worrying about what I did wrong, or what she did wrong, or whose character defects are acting up today?

Do I give my children to God, trusting that the life God has written for them (Psalm 139:16) is what is best? Of course not! I worry about getting them the best education I can, who they hang out with, and what to do about problem behaviors.

So it’s no surprise that I fall into the same trap with addiction from time to time, especially on those days when God seems far away. And often, it’s those days when a song, a smell, or a memory triggers a romancing of my old life– the ritual, the relief, even the single-minded focus that characterized my life in those days. I didn’t worry about money, except as it applied to getting drugs. I didn’t worry about relationships or children because I didn’t have any. I had only one concern: getting high.

And it was a living hell. I wanted to die, but was too cowardly to do it.

That’s one of the most important tools I have: thinking it through. It wasn’t romantic. It was awful. I couldn’t stop– not until I became desperate enough to ask God for help. I didn’t even believe in God! But God helped me anyway.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:8:10)

Now that I believe, I have a rock to build my foundation on. Now that I believe, I have been reconcile to God through Christ. Now that I believe, the authority of Jesus Christ will protect me from the spirits that haunted me as a result of trauma, sin, and generations of alienation from God… but only if I remember that God does this, not me. I have to ask for help as much as I did in the beginning (Matthew 21:22).

You see, I’m powerless. God is God, and I’m not. God has the power. I don’t. “For yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory…” (1 Chronicles 29:11).

For ever and ever.

Amen.

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