Monday, January 18, 2010

Overcoming Addictions Part III

"The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."1


First a word of warning to those of us who say, "I don't have any addictions. That's not my problem."

We all need to realize that anything we habitually do or use to avoid facing our inner pain is an addiction—no matter how good what we are doing may appear to be. A codependent person, for example, is addicted to the addict in his or her life. Others of us hide behind our busyness, our intellectuality, our position, or whatever. Some people escape into religion and claim they are standing on the Word of God, when in fact they are hiding behind the Word of God. They use God's Truth as a defense against facing the truth about themselves—a very subtle, self-deceiving, and self-destructive course to take.

Also, some people, as John Powell said, treat God as if he were a giant Bayer's aspirin. "Take God three times a day and you won't feel any pain!" It's not that simple. What is realistic is that God will help us but he will not do for us anything we need to do for ourselves, but he will bend the heavens to do for us what we can't do for ourselves—that's why Jesus came to earth and died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins and mine.

So when we ask God to help us to overcome our addictions, how can we pray to get our prayers answered?

First, pray honestly. The beginning point to resolve any problem is to admit that I have a problem. Only those who say, "I have a problem. I need help," can ever find help.

Second, pray sincerely. We need to want to overcome our problem with all our heart and be totally committed to do what we need to do about our recovery if we want God to help us. A wish won't wash. It has to be a genuine want. As Jesus would say, "Do you want—not wish—to be made well?"

Third, pray for truth. If, for example, I am an alcoholic, I need to (1) not only admit to myself that I am an addict but also admit/confess to God and at least one other person that I am an alcoholic (or whatever my addiction is); (2) that my life is out of control; (3) that I need help: and (4) ask God to confront me with the truth about myself; to show me the cause/s behind my addiction no matter how much it may hurt. This can be painful. I know because there have been times when I have prayed for God to confront me with the truth about myself. The good news is, once I see the truth about myself and the cause/s behind my problems, I know what I need to do to overcome. As Jesus taught, it's the truth that sets one free.

Remember the "LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth." So the way to pray to get prayer answered is to pray for truth—the truth, the whole truth about yourself.

Fourth, ask for guidance. When we pray, we need to ask God to lead us to the help we need to overcome our problem—and never give up until we find that help.

Fifth. accept responsibility. Part of our recovery, after we ask God for help and guidance, is to actively seek the help we need to overcome our problem, and to do what we need to do in order to recover.

Sixth, commitment. It took many years to become who and what we are so we don't overcome our struggles overnight. We need to be so committed that we never give up until we work through and resolve our problem so that we become more and more the person God envisioned for us to be—and that is to be made whole. God's goal goes much deeper than seeing us delivered from our addictions. It is that we are made whole, for only to the degree that we are made whole will our lifestyle, actions, attitudes, behaviors and relationships become wholesome.

Jesus' question to you and me is this: "Do you want to be made whole?" God will do his part. It's up to you and me to do our part. We need to pray the right prayer, want deliverance with all our heart, and do our part in the recovery process.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank you that you are waiting to help me when I pray the truth from my heart. Help me always to be honest with myself and with you knowing that when I am, you will always hear and answer my prayers. Help me, too, to always pray the right prayer. Thank you for hearing and answering me. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).

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