Addictions Are Tenacious
He was addicted.
The first time he called into the radio station I told him, “Rudy, it’s the best thing I ever did for myself.”
Addictions Never Leave You Alone
Addictions don’t care if you call yourself a Christian. Take for example smoking. Smoking is an addiction some think as “acceptable.”
Reading negative statistics has little to no effect on addictions because an addiction has little to do with intelligence.
“The doctor tells me if I quit smoking,” Rudy said, “then I can have the heart operation I’m needing.”
“So how’s quitting smoking going?”
“Oh, I do pretty well for a day or two, then bam I’m back to smoking as much as ever.”
Potential health didn’t move Rudy to change his habit. He could barely get his lungs kick started in the morning, but his attitude was, “so what?”
I tried a different approach. “Rudy I’m sure you’ve prayed about this?”
“Well sure, my church is praying … I think the whole world is praying for me … it hasn’t made any difference. What do you think I should do now?”
Addictions Make You Believe A Lie
I remember I never thought I was in trouble. I believed I was in control. I could stop hurting myself at any time. But I didn’t. I told Rudy, “All right let me give you something that might help. Rudy the next time you’re tempted tell yourself: “Every temptation is an opportunity to get closer to Jesus” … Does that make sense?”
“Yeah, sure, sort of … I’ll try it. That sounds good. I like it. It makes sense. How’s that go again?”
I repeated the phrase for Rudy. He wrote it down. I prayed he’d hear the truth in the words. Rudy hung up.
Addictions Are Noisy
Two months later Rudy called again. “Hi, Rudy, how you doing?”
His raspy voice and short breaths told me, “Not very good.”
Rudy’s addiction sounded like death.
Between his calls, I’d reflected on why people have such a hard time quitting an addiction. Sometimes people tell you to, “Just give it to Jesus.” As if Jesus were a magic wand. But this cliche rarely makes much difference. It doesn’t work because something else goes with this, a personal commitment … personal involvement.
I prayed, “Lord God what do we need, what’s missing?”
Of course, I was really praying for a formula. If I do this, that will happen. I like formulas. Because if a formula fails it isn’t my bad. I can always blame my failure on the defective formula. “Naw I tried that, it doesn’t work.”
Addictions Are Cruel And Demeaning
I’ve done this myself. I came up with an objection and an excuse for every downfall. Any addiction is a cruel and demeaning master. So, how does someone beat addiction? If, “Jesus you take it!” isn’t sufficient then what?
I thought about it and began to doodle what I was thinking:
1. You have to want to quit your addiction
2. You have to take personal responsibility for your addiction
3. You have to resist and refuse to go along with the temptation of addiction. Then
4. You have to ask for God’s help with your addiction. But that isn’t enough because then
5. You must cooperate with God in giving up your addiction, not just once but continually.
I told myself, “This looks like a formula.”
It is, but employ it anyway.
Addictions are cruel and demeaning. Addictions lie to you. What your addiction says is fun isn’t fun anymore.
In this method, there are four important steps to accomplish before you get to the fifth step. The good news is when you enact this plan of action you will begin to enjoy freedom you may have never experienced. This is a benefit of inestimable pleasure for you.
Your continuing cooperation with Jesus means you’re working on your addiction together. This is significant. You have a relationship, a working relationship, which perpetually grows into a dependent freedom.
This Is Worth It?
I waited for Rudy to call back. When he did I planned to explain my idea.
The flashing red light meant an incoming phone call. “… Good to hear from you, Rudy. What’s happening with you?”
“Well, I had the operation.” Rudy’s wheeze sounded less sick. “The heart guy did what he planned to do.”
“Terrific! Have you quit smoking?”
“Um, I did for a while,” … short, shallow breath … “and now I’m smoking again.” … a gasp and a sigh… “not as much as before, though.”
I heard Rudy’s pain.
Addictions Have No Mercy
Since Rudy, I’ve told other addicted callers about the five steps I scribbled on a piece of scrap paper one night in the radio studio.
Those who seriously tried these steps have called back to tell me their stories of recovery. I praise God for every report because it isn’t a walk in the park to stop abusing yourself.
“Just give it to Jesus” is sufficient for some, principally because they’ve already made the choice to quit their addiction.
For many, though, this isn’t sufficient because they haven’t made a commitment. To those I say, first you must say to yourself, “I’m not doing this anymore.”
In other words, you have to want to stop harming yourself. As you do this you begin to understand why you can’t afford to waste any more time getting less than all Jesus has to offer you. I’m talking benefits.
This is what I did … and continue to do.
Truthfully, my relationship with God is much more satisfying than my previous addiction.
Jesus wants our heart. If Jesus has our heart, we’ll do anything necessary to grow in our relationship with the Lord.
Rudy found this out, too.
Thanks for listening to Lee’s Nite Radio.
Mercyme “The Hurt & the Healer”
Jeremy Camp “Overcome”
Bonus No. 2,
Free Devotionals @ MLS