Can You Help Me?
Experience and Addiction
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Do you need to be an addict to help an addict? Some people believe that only the experience of one person can help another person change. Many people say that if you have never experienced what I have experienced, then you cannot help me. They mean that if you have never suffered addiction, then you cannot help them overcome addiction. All of these things have one thing in common. The people who say such things live by their own human experience. For them, their own experience has become their final authority. In this case, authority means the ultimate guide for life and the ultimate source for decision making. Frequently I hear people who have struggled with addiction to drugs and alcohol believe that experience with addiction to drugs and alcohol qualifies them to guide others to recovery. Of course, they use the term “recovery” to mean they will never leave the addiction behind, because they believe they must live in recovery for the rest of their lives. When your experience guides your life and makes your decisions, then rest assured you have joined the blind leading the blind, and both fall into the pit. People who trust their own human experience trust in man and not in God. What is wrong with living by our experience?
The Ways of God
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declares the LORD.
When people live by human experience, then they are not living in the ways of God. Likewise, they are not thinking the thoughts of God. They are living by human thoughts and human ways. In contrast, God said that His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). God meant that we will not think the thoughts of God. His thoughts are not like our thoughts. Furthermore, when we live by human experience, then we are not following the ways of God. The ways of God are not the ways of humans. If two things are different, then they are not the same. So when someone tells you that they want someone who has been through the same experience to help them, then remember that living by human experience will separate you from the ways of God and the thoughts of God. You also need God’s wisdom to solve problems, not human wisdom. God’s wisdom is not like human wisdom.
This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.
When people live by human experience, and seek others to guide them according to human experience, then they embrace the wisdom of this world. The wisdom of this world is earthly, natural and demonic (James 3:15). By the wisdom of this world, people never knew God (1 Corinthians 1:21). People dealing with addiction and all other kinds of sin need the wisdom of God to overcome their problems. They need counselors living by the wisdom of God who can share with them the ways of God and the wisdom of God. The only way to overcome addiction is through the wisdom of God, not human experience. The word of God and the power of God will deliver them from the power of sin, and all addiction is sin. People with addictions do not have a disease, but a sin problem. The sin problem will certainly give rise to physical problems, but the root of the problem has always been sin, not sickness. When people tell other people that addiction is only a disease, then the addicts will never turn to Jesus Christ as Savior to receive the free gift of salvation. The devil delights in deceiving addicts to believe they have a disease no one can cure. The devil blinds the hearts and minds with lies about addictions. He thrives upon people following human experience, with its human wisdom. Human experience embodies the wisdom of this world which is always earthly, natural and demonic. If you believe the root of your addiction is a disease, then you have been deceived by the devil. You now embrace human wisdom which is earthly, natural and demonic. What is God’s wisdom?
The Wisdom of God
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
In contrast to human wisdom, the wisdom of God is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. You will not have those qualities in your life without following the wisdom of God. The wisdom of this world will never produce those qualities in unbelievers and never in addicts without the power of Jesus Christ at work in their lives. If you teach people that addiction always means a lifetime of recovery, and you are never “cured,” then you are living by human wisdom and neglecting the wisdom of God. The wisdom of God produces all those wonderful qualities in every believer’s life, including every believer who has suffered with addiction. How do we get the wisdom of God?
The Lack of Wisdom
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, a double-souled man, unstable in all his ways.
If you want to overcome your addiction and never to return to it, then you will need the wisdom of God. Through the wisdom of God we learn the thoughts of God and the ways of God. If you lack wisdom from God, then ask for it. Seems simple? Yes, it is. You must ask for the wisdom of God in faith. If you doubt, then you are like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. If your life is tossed and driven, then you know you have a faith issue. If you ask in faith, then God will give you the wisdom to overcome all addiction by the wisdom of God. If you doubt, then you will receive nothing from the Lord, being double-souled. The double-souled man is unstable in all his ways, because he does not actually put his total faith in God. When you start to trust human wisdom to help you overcome addiction, then you have returned to your double-souled ways and God will not help you. You cannot serve two masters. You must decide to serve only God. The Holy Spirit abides in every believer, and He has infinite power to help you live pleasing to God each day. On a daily basis, you can learn to love other people like you love God. Addicts dwell upon their own wants, hurts and desires; they ignore the love of God and the love of other people. They love to hate themselves and live in guilt and shame. Only by your total trust that God will lead you every day will you overcome your sin problem underlying your addiction. How do we learn to live in the wisdom of God?
The Word of God
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
We learn the wisdom of God from the word of God. Have you ever heard a person say that they have never seen a person change after reading a Bible verse? In contrast, God said He breathed out the Bible so that people would be adequately equipped for every good work. God gave us the Bible as the final authority in our lives. God has granted to believers everything pertaining to life and Godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence (2 Peter 1:3). Through the Bible, sixty-six books we call the Old Testament and the New Testament, God revealed everything we need to know about overcoming the spiritual problems of addiction. Your counselor should know the Bible. Believers are sanctified in the truth; the word of God is the truth. As we read the Bible, we learn about God and His ways. As we learn His ways, we find the power of God at work in our lives to live for the glory of God, and not ourselves. God has given you at least one spiritual gift at the moment of salvation. Your life will change forever when you begin to use your spiritual gifts to help other people live in the love of God. If your counselor is unfamiliar with all the spiritual gifts, then find another counselor. Your counselor should have a primary goal of helping you develop a ministry based upon using your spiritual gifts to the glory of God each day. Life becomes daily ministry, where you love God and love people. You will get out of the pit of human experience and begin to look forward to serving God each day and loving Him and loving all the people God sends your way. God’s word equips us with all we need to do every good work which God has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Do you need someone who has been addicted to help you with your addiction? Absolutely not. You need the person that God sends you to help you overcome your addiction. That person lives in the wisdom of God and loves God. They use their spiritual gifts to help you learn to use your spiritual gifts. As you live in ministry each day using your spiritual gifts, then your entire life will change. You will begin to live each day to the glory of God, as you love the people God sends your way.