Once an addict, always an addict…a spiritual application for Holiness.

There’s an old saying in the Drug rehabilitation process which goes like this: “Once an addict always an addict”. Some people say this is a scare tactic to keep people locked into a program…I think that this saying has more credence than we realize.

There is a real difference between an active addict and a recovering addict isn’t there? One addict is still seeking that high, that rush, that dependency on their drug(s) of choice. While the other addict had finally come to the realization that they weren’t controlling their habit, their habit was controlling them and their life has been horribly altered by it. They are seeking to become better, stronger and healthier so that they can avoid those old trappings. The recovering addict knows what weaknesses they possess and so they will go to great lengths to stay away from the slippery slope that is the erosion of self-control. They know that one glance back into that lifestyle…one sniff, one hit, one pop…and it’s goodbye recovery hello active addiction once more.

The recovering addict needs support. They understand that they can’t go at it alone. The addict knows that they need accountability of a sober companion or a sponsor of some kind. Someone who will push them when that “itch” returns…or when stress threatens to push them over the edge. Sponsors and addictions partners are vital to recovery and a return to a healthier “normal” in their lives.

THIS IS SPIRITUALLY APPLICABLE!

Either we are an active sinner, or a recovering sinner. To borrow a little from the Calvinist, we are all fallen, wretched creatures…but we don’t have to remain that way!! Praise the God of second and third and fourth chances! No this isn’t some sort of excuse to say that we can slip up and just wander back with some sort of “get out of hell” redemption card every time we willfully chose to sin again and find forgiveness…but as a recovering sinner who is saved by grace I recognize that we can still fall away if we are not careful! Recovery from sin requires not only the avoidance of sin and its subsequent temptational trappings but also the recognition of our own personal weaknesses. We too must realize that if we know our weaknesses Satan certainly does as well.

Scripture tells “there is no one righteous, no not one!” (Romans 3:10) If this is true then we are all sinners in need of a redemption that is beyond our physical reach. Enter Jesus. He comes and gives us the only way out of our addiction of sin. Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me…” John 14:6.

Our addiction to sin can be ultimately relieved but only after entire sanctification has ravaged our souls, scrubbing it clean of our prior ways of life so that our vessel is fit for the embodiment of Christ alone within us. This act requires from us our complete faith and utter surrender. The Holy Spirit provides the act of cleansing from the moment of initial sanctification and the invitation for Christ to be ours and ours alone, to the maturation of our spiritual growth as we continue to feast on His word and our absorption of His grace within and without us so that in word and deed we serve only Him. This is a hard and difficult road. For though Holiness isn’t physical perfection it is a complete death to selfish wants and needs in an answer to this higher and holy calling of Christ-likeness.

Yet in and of ourselves we can not complete this daunting task. Dare I say that the Holy Spirit is sufficient though without other godly men and women beside us to prompt us, correct us, affirm us and challenging us along they way, we can find this complete surrendering nearly impossible. We need sponsors of the Spiritual kind. We are all in need of spiritual sober companions to help in our discipleship. Because there is a very real danger that though we are saved by His grace, we can look back, and in so doing find that we have backslidden into our old selfishness and sin. Addictions, across the board, are like this. We crave it’s seductive lure. We yearn for the instant gratification yet if we succumb, we will have gone horribly backward, and would have strayed from our desire to be like Christ and would have threatened to unravel our entire salvation story in the process.

The Holy Spirit wants to make us like Christ. He wants to restore that first image that God set at the dawning of time within us. Yet we are still addicts to sin. We must never forget where we have come, how we got there, and where our weaknesses lie so that we can accept this full restoration that He so willingly offers to us. For many, this restoration will take a life time. For all of us, we must continually go to The Well of our righteousness! We must come to His waters and be filled up not just daily but moment by moment. Isaiah 55 says: “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; …”

Come all who are thirsty! We can be fully restored, but we must be willing to let Him continue this work within us! It must be found in our daily even moment by moment surrendering to His will and to His image forming hands.

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