Monday, April 30, 2012

An Addict's Truth

On self-control and sober minds

Sobriety, in contemporary vernacular is equated with the absence of drug or alcohol’s influence.  Its antithesis implies the giving over of one’s faculties to outside influence.  To surrender one’s person to the control of an altering substance. 

This morning, I read a beautifularticle about an obvious, physical addiction.  Heather Kopp, the author of SoberBoots, likened the addict’s state to that of a zombie:  the shell of a person, utterly lifeless, and bent only on destruction.  I want to take nothing away from that gripping, devouring experience of these physical addictions (be they porn, alcohol, or drugs); yet today, as I read Titus 1 and 2, her description made me wonder at spiritual addictions.  The combination this morning made me wonder at the difference between the words “self-control{NIV} and “sober minded.” {ASB} 

I’ve stood in many a room and introduced myself as thus:

                “Hi, I’m Jen.  And I’m an addict.  I am recovering from:…”  The list went on ad nauseum.  But, I wasn’t the stereotypical addict, utterly given over to substances; at least not on the outside.  However, in truth, I can look at my life and see where I have given control of my mind, my heart, and my life to things [people, ideas] outside of me.  Things outside of the Holy Spirit.

If you’re still reading, and thinking, “oh, good, this post has nothing to do with me,” might I humbly ask you to step back for just a moment.  And take a hard look at your days, at how they’re spent.  What’s the first thought in your head in the morning?  The last before you go to sleep?  What is the pervasive theme of your ruminations? 

Ask yourself:

What am I allowing to control me?

Is it my physical appearance?  Is it how I think others perceive me?  Is it my bank account or my bills?  Is it my home, my kids, my spouse, my long-distant family, my local friends, the politics in my churches, social media, politics, sports?  Is it serving God or his people?  Is there anything that has transformed who I was designed to be into a zombie’s mindless pursuit of the very object of my desire? 

Addiction’s a tricky thing.  If it’s not the obvious, external kind, then we can rationalize, justify.  We can even spiritualize some of these addictions.  If the expression of ours doesn’t look like the bum on the corner, or the zombie in Kopp’s blog, we dismiss it.  But that’s the deception.  The prideful “I’m better than those people.”  And it’s a lie. 

I can say this because none of us have arrived.  None of us so is completely given over to God’s graceful love that we are utterly unencumbered by this world and its passions.  All of us have something standing in the way of perfect communion with our Heavenly Father, in the resplendence of absolute Christ-likeness.  And whatever that thing is, that’s our addiction.

Because it is that which controls us. 

But God…

But Christ is the freer of captives, the healer of the broken, the answer to addiction.  Ask him to show you what’s making you a zombie.  Ask him to help you overcome it.  Ask him to help you stay sober-minded, not allowing your addiction to control you anymore. 

Ask Christ for sobriety.  Sobriety from this world and its vain pursuit.  There is no shame in admitting that you are not sober-minded, nor self-controlled.  Run head-long into Christ.  He always meets each one of us wherever we are.   The humble pursuits of a closer, deeper devotion to him is the cure for the addictions and distractions we all face.

The sober-minded pursuit of Christ, and Christ alone, requires self-control.  Perhaps therein the connection lies.               

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