29 July 2012

I Have a Secret (I'm an Addict)

In the mid 1960's the Surgeon General's first product warning appeared on the side of a pack of cigarettes: Caution: Cigarette Smoking May be Hazardous to Your Health.  I have no idea how successful the warning has been considering it was in the same font and color as all the other packaging.  But it is there to help deter us from ourselves. Shortly after the Surgeon General added that warning label on tobacco products, United States Senator Strom Thurmond determined that warning labels should also be required for all forms of alcohol.  As the story goes, the biggest question that came up regarding this label was, "What exactly should the warning label say?"
After conducting hearings on Capitol Hill, the Senator contacted Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  Surely, he assumed, they would know the danger of alcohol and be able to suggest just what the wording should be.

The Senator was quickly informed that Alcoholics Anonymous had no opinions on outside issues, and that it does not endorse or oppose any cause. And, furthermore, does not wish to be drawn into any controversy in accordance with AA’s Traditions.  The senator persisted but was again reminded that AA’s Traditions did not allow for any member to have an opinion.  However, as an individual- not as a member of AA, but as someone with a long history as a problem drinker-  the person was willing to offer a little advice to the frustrated Senator:

His personal suggestion for a warning label was:  "CAUTION:  THIS BOTTLE MAY RUN OUT."
If you're an addict now or have been you will get the humor. Others probably won't. 

Romans 6:12-14 "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God…For sin shall not be your master."

As you're reading this you may be thinking "I've dodged a bullet, There is no sin reigning in my life, and I have no addiction issues of any kind."

I have six questions to ask you:

1. Do your family and friends say that you have a problem? 
2. Do you continue even though you are hurting people?
3. Do you arrange your schedule around “it”?
4. Can you go a week without it?
5. Is it leading you to isolation, hurting your relationships?
6. Are you trying to keep it a secret?

If you answered yes to 3 or more of those questions, you may be battling with an addiction. When you're addicted, Satan loves to watch the spiral of destruction played out in your life.  Satan enjoys nothing more than seeing you identify yourself by your addiction: I'm a smoker, I'm a drinker, etc. The reason he takes so much pleasure in you identifying yourself with your sin is that it becomes personal.  When someone says, "You have a problem,"  you immediately become defensive making that person the enemy.

What are you addicted to? No pretending, no hiding, no secrets.  We really need to be honest in coming clean, confessing to God, and getting free. Your addiction could  be something as simple as caffeine. It could be smoking, even smoking weed.  It could be dipping. It could be illegal drugs.  It could be legal prescription drugs, or steroids.  You could be addicted to alcohol, gambling, the internet, television.  You could be overeating, over spending, over indulging.  The list could go on.

Addiction is a powerful cycle.  Here are two ways to break it:

1. "Can" the excuses.

No more excuses.  This is an excuse-free zone.  Understand that God is inviting you to experience REAL freedom, and if you make an excuse, you are excusing yourself from God’s best.

2. Cut the ties.

1 Cor 15:33 "Do not be misled: "Bad company corrupts good character. Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning."

If there is something or someone that leads you to the addiction, to the false lord, cut the ties.  If you have a friend who is your source or your tempter, that person can no longer be your friend until months or years down the road when you are strong enough to pull them out.  Today you can’t. They are not your friend.

The Bible says in James 4:7, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
What do you do?  You fight him off.  You fight.  You are swinging hard. You take your gloves off and you resist him.  You fight, and you continue to fight, and you cut the ties, and eventually he is going to say, “You know what?  I’ve tried about a hundred times, and I can no longer get to this person this way, so guess what?  He will flee from you.

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