Death from addiction is an all too frequent thing. I see posts on Facebook about people dying from heroin overdoses, fentanyl overdoses, DUI wrecks, and a long list of other reasons rooted in addiction. That was almost my story. Then it became my story.
My brief story
I battled an addiction to pain medication for about 13 years. February 21, 2016, I unknowingly took some pills that were laced with something, and I blacked out while driving. I had 2 of my children in the car at the time. I drove for approximately 20 minutes then blacked out. That was a Sunday night. I woke up in the hospital Thursday morning.
The second time I was at work about two weeks later. I, again, unknowingly took some pills laced with something and blacked out driving my work truck. I got on the interstate and drove for about 10 minutes completely blacked out. I somehow managed to pull into a rest area, and park, before I completely passed out. That was a Monday. I woke up at home on Thursday.
Either one of those days I could’ve easily died and taken multiple people with me, including 2 of my children.
I almost died twice. Little did I know that two near overdoses were the event that would eventually lead to the death of this addict.
Jonathan Edwards and submission: “On January 12, 1723, I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed, to take God for my whole portion and felicity (source of happiness); looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and [to take] his law for the constant rule of my obedience: engaging to fight, with all my might, against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. But I have reason to be infinitely humbled, when I consider, how much I have failed, of answering my obligation.”
Our “Higher Power” is Jesus Christ, only
Some recovery traditions make use of the phrase “Higher Power” as a reference to God. I have a very upfront criticism of this thought process. First, let me say that if yielding to some vague, anonymous “Higher Power” helps you stay sober then good. Staying sober is a great accomplishment, no matter how you do it. But to refer to a non-descript “Higher Power” is trying to make use of the power of Christ without acknowledging His legitimate authority to rule and reign over our lives. In essence, we want to have our cake and eat it too. We want to be free from our addictions, but we don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of submitting our lives to God. If we did that we might have to make some serious changes.
The choice to submit is really just a temporary illusion.
The Bible tells us that by the time this story concludes, every person who has ever lived will bow before the King of The Universe, acknowledging who He is, and bend in submission to who He is. It is the only possible outcome for us to be in a relationship with a Holy God. He deserves nothing less. We were created to worship.
We all worship something
People can claim to be atheists or agnostics if they want, but the evidence of God’s existence is in every single person who has ever lived. We are beings that were created to worship The Living God. That is our purpose in this life. God allows us the choice to worship Him or not, but we all worship something. Maybe it’s the old man down the road who spends countless hours a day pouring himself into his yard work, making his home and yard look immaculate. Maybe it’s the man who has old cars and spends crazy amounts of money buying, restoring, and maintaining his vehicles in pristine condition. Maybe it’s our sports team we know every single stat about, living and dying with each victory and loss. It can really be anything on earth, but the bottom line is you can easily see man’s penchant for worship in the way every single person pours themselves whole-heartedly into SOMETHING. That desire was created in us so that we would worship God. Many of us fell into worshiping drugs, pouring all of our time, resources, and effort into pursuing, acquiring, and appreciating those substances that removed our pain. In the process, we missed the fact that these pursuits are fleeting and temporary. In so doing, we forfeited our right to access the only thing that could permanently ease our suffering, and establish in us peace and joy that many of us have never known, making us complete.
Worshiping Christ and submitting to His authority sets us free
If we truly yield control of our lives to Christ Jesus, as Jonathan Edwards was committing to do, and allow Christ to reign in our lives, then the power of addiction will be broken. Christ will not cause us to choose those sinful things. He will cause us to walk in righteousness and holiness. So I guess the question is this: Why do we want to continue to be in control anyway? How has our being in control treated us thus far? I can only speak for myself, but my being in control has fallen short, it almost led to death. It did lead to me messing up my life and the lives of all those around me. Why would I want to be in charge?
Let’s make a vow today. Let’s choose to die.
I don’t know how many people will read this blog post. For those who do start to read it, I don’t know how many will make it all the way to the end. Maybe not very many, but here we go. I’d like to ask you to make a vow with me, but only if you truly mean it. It is time for us to take that next step. It is time for us to submit to Christ and to allow him to do what He wants to do in us, so that we may begin to experience that truly abundant life He has always intended for us. And this is absolutely no April’s Fools joke.
April 1st, 2017, approximately 6 AM: “Jesus, I make a solemn dedication of myself to you, and write it down; giving up myself, and all that I have to You; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that has no right to himself, in any respect. And I solemnly vow, to take God for my whole portion and the source of my happiness; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it is; and [to take] Your law for the constant rule of my obedience: engaging to fight, with all my might, against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. I ask that you strengthen me with Your grace and your Holy Spirit, to fulfill this vow in my life, not for my glory, but because of who You are, the fact that You deserve my obedience, and because You desire what is truly best for me, even more than i do. Help me to fulfill this vow daily, moment by moment, in Jesus’ name, amen.