Sometimes, when reading the bible, we see the miracles and hear phrases like, “Thy faith hath made thee whole,” and wonder how our belief didn’t protect us from addiction or help us heal after the fact. We doubt our faith, whether God really exists or loves His children. We doubt the strength of our testimony when we fall and return to old damaging habits and wonder how our repentance and recovery failed.
Addiction is a ruthless taskmaster who takes no pity regardless of who you are, your gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background.
Addiction is also like water. It finds every hole in our defenses, every flaw in our understanding, and every crack in our resistance.
So, did Christianity fail?
Not at all. When looking at your faith or that of a loved one, there are several things to remember.
- Testimonies Are not Equal: You cannot compare the faith of an adult who has always walked with Christ with a young man who only recently learned he had a Savior. Testimonies grow stronger over time and at different rates. Some people intellectually accept Christ but aren’t emotionally committed. Sometimes, testimonies are stronger than others. No two walks with God are the same.
- Trials Are Part of Life: Rain falls on the just and the unjust. For example, the death of a loved one drives us all to our knees, but a lifetime of choices and experiences decides whether we know how to fight back the darkness through prayer while we’re down there or if we crumble in grief.
- Freedom Means Choices: If you’re grieving for a child that’s gone off the path you set for them, do not consider your efforts a failure. The prodigal son had to learn the value of what his father had given him by losing it. Only then did he realize his mistakes and change his life. The father let his son make his mistakes, then comforted him and loved him unconditionally when the son let him. Healing only comes when the prodigal allows God’s love to work in them.
What Is Faith?
If temptation is like water, faith is like fire. We may get a spark of faith from a friend, a motivational speaker, or a passage of scripture, but if you don’t feed the spark, it dies. You don’t feed it once; you feed it tiny bits every few seconds till you get a flame, then twigs, branches, and logs.
Every act of faith, every lesson learned, and every trial overcome is fuel for the fire. If you have a little testimony, just a little fire, and strong temptation pours like a pitcher of water over your struggling testimony, it extinguishes the flame. If you have a roaring bonfire, that same water pitcher may leave a temporary mark, a branch out of the whole that struggles, but the rest soon turns the water to steam until it roars happily again.
Christianity isn’t a one-time decision made in the warm glow of someone else’s fire. It’s taking that spark and feeding it with scripture study, prayer, song, rejoicing, and choices made in faith.
A thousand tiny battles won give us the strength to fight the bigger ones. This is one of the reasons why choosing a faith-based rehab can play such a critical role in Christian recovery; you get the required clinical care with the constant spiritual support you need.
How Does Faith Kill Addiction?
It depends on how stubbornly you keep feeding the flame as more and more water comes your way. You might barely rekindle the fire before water snuffs it out again. You light it again and again, determined not to let temptation win. Then, you gain traction. You’re putting in more fuel before the water hits. Your determination to fuel your testimony outweighs your desire to give in.
That decision opens a door, and Jesus steps in to help put fuel on the fire. You can accomplish what you couldn’t do on your own with His help. He’s bigger than you and throws in wood faster than you ever could, but He wants whatever effort you can give while He wins the battle. Only you can let Him in, and He wants you to actively participate in your recovery.
How Can You Help a Loved One Win Their Battle?
The best way to help someone struggling with addiction is to love them without reservation but expect them to deal with the consequences of their choices. To forgive them as often as necessary without allowing them to damage you in the process.
Make it clear your house is a drug-free zone. They are welcome whenever they are sober. Then, have the commitment to send them to a shelter when they cross that line. It isn’t a judgment against them; you aren’t calling them a bad person. You are enforcing a boundary they cannot cross.
When you or your loved one is ready to heal, contact a Christian-based treatment center to help fan the flames of your testimony until you start winning the battle.