Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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April 24 – Beware Of Addictions

“Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast.  ‘They struck me,’ you will say, ‘but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.'”  Proverbs 23:31-35

Devotional Thought For The Day

Apparently alcoholism, the inability to stop imbibing even when the debilitating consequences are apparent to all, also existed in more ancient times. The first report of “drunkenness” is in Gen. 9:20ff, and the consequences of Noah’s sinful indiscretion were frightful, the disintegration of his family harmony. The author’s description of binge drinking almost sounds like personal experience; at the least, it represents first hand observation. Most of us have had the same kinds of experience with alcohol – it seems to be one of those common human phenomena. However, most people learn and work hard to moderate their use of alcohol. Those who cannot [estimated to be about 10% of the population] have two choices: stop entirely, or continue downward in self-destructive and irresponsible behavior to an early death.

The same description aptly applies to a number of illegal drugs, including marijuana. With some of these drugs the compulsion is horribly intense and addiction is virtually immediate. There is a reason they are illegal. Even with less addictive drugs a person can become so dependent that they find it difficult to quit. These lesser drugs, like marijuana, also have their effect on one’s productivity and bring negative consequences into one’s life. The addict has numerous explanations as to why it was not the drugs, but some other person’s fault that they were fired, got into an accident, were evicted, got their vehicle re-possessed, etc.  The laziness and dysfunction that others note in them doesn’t seem to bother the addict at all – they have an abundance of excuses. Such is the hold of drug addiction; they are illegal for a reason.

All of these things are in some regard good gifts of God. Narcotic substances occur naturally, and fermentation is natural. The problems really stem from the purposeful intensification of these natural substances.  The substances are not evil but our use of them becomes evil when we allow ourselves to be brought under the control of anything. This includes food – which some people become addicted to, especially manufactured foods. God’s will for human beings is that they be free – especially free to know, believe, and live in His love for us in Christ Jesus, and also free to live good, healthy, productive lives of love that richly benefit others around us. Obviously, addiction tends to negate all of this and so is completely contrary to God’s will for us.

There is forgiveness for all of these sins – “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” [1 John 1:7] Such forgiveness is not license, but freeing – so that by the power of His love our priorities are changed, so that anything that detracts from or destroys love must be avoided. Certainly this includes all manner of substance abuse and addiction; but it also includes our more intuitive sins such as selfishness, pride, love of money, miserliness, lust, anger, malice, hatred, and rebellion against God’s Word. Thank God for His gracious mercy and forgiveness!  Thank God if by His grace you have avoided enslavement to most of these things, and have experienced at least a modicum of freedom. Understand His good and gracious will for human being, and beware of the many things that conflict with His will.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, forgive us for our predilection to addiction, and for the many excuses we render for indulging our sinful passions. Help us to understand the beauty and goodness of freedom – that by Your gracious and perfect love we live to love You and those around us. Graciously protect us and preserve us from the most destructive addictions. Amen.