For this discussion of addiction and deliverance, we have asked important questions in Part 1, shared the mighty promise and power of the Holy Spirit in Part 2, and encouraged you to say “Yes” to God in Part 3.
In this final post of the mini-series, we discuss the importance of building a community.
God made it clear from the very beginning of creation that “It is not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18).”
Isolation is one of the first steps the enemy uses to put people in bondage. When people are alone or lonely, it is easy for the enemy to convince them of lies.
You are a nobody. You are just like your father. Everyone in your family is an alcoholic so you might as well be one too. Nothing ever works out for you, so you might as well stop trying. Nobody cares about you.
The list goes on and on. Eventually, people respond in self destructive ways out of misplaced identities, lies, guilt, weakness, and self pity. Yet, it is much more difficult to defeat someone who has strong relationships. When pondering life, the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote in verses 4:9-12:
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
Two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
I never got into a fight in grade school. The reason is no that I was such a good girl, but rather I was surrounded by people who fought well, people who would have gladly fought for me, and they made sure everyone knew it. Therefore, people did not approach me in a violent manner. No one wants to fight when there is a good chance of defeat. Building a community is matter of prevention, but also a matter of protection.
Jesus and his disciples always traveled in a group. When he sent them on a mission, they went in pairs of two (Luke 10:1). In the Marine Corps, we call this approach the “Buddy System.” When in a foreign land or on break, no Marine is to go alone. We understood this rule was for our benefit and safety. It is good having others standing with you, especially if you are entering dangerous territory where you may have to fight.
We all need a safe and trusted community
of friends. So it is a good thing for people to reach out and take the risks to establish the healthy relationships needed in life. A person who has had an addiction may not have the strength or confidence to establish these relationships. As Christians, we then have the responsibility to observe and take the initiative to love our neighbor by being a friend, helping them understand the importance of these relationships, maybe providing them with information and facilitating the establishment of these relationships. Be clear about what role you can play and establish boundaries for a mutually beneficial and healthy relationship.
This is the type of community an “addicted” person needs to walk in deliverance:
1. A Cheerleader/Encourager:
This person is one of the main reasons why groups like Alcohol Anonymous are so successful.
We should not forget—we overcome in this life by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] AND by the word of our testimony (Rev 12:11). What a blessing it is to testify when God delivers you from an addiction. Celebrate. Share your testimony with another and lift them up.
Find a local Christian Support Group through Celebrate Recovery.
Official Website www.celebraterecovery.com
2. Prayer Warrior:
I believe strongly that addiction is a form of spiritual warfare. Therefore, we cannot fight spiritual battles with carnal means (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The Bible compels us to “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).” James also writes that we should pray in faith. “When [you] ask, you] must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does (James 1:6-7).” In other words, a true prayer warrior will not believe in anything less than the mighty power of the Holy Spirit to provide total deliverance. Finally, this person must understand spiritual warfare beginning with Eph 6:10-20 and Rom 8:35-39.
3. A Mentor or Person Offering Discipleship:
We all need this person in our lives. The Bible supports this truth throughout scripture. This person’s responsibility is to teach and train (Titus 2:1-15) and model a life of godliness before you. This person will most likely pray for you and with you. This person will most likely encourage you and offer practical assistance. He or she may even facilitate some of the other relationships presented. Their primary responsibility, however, is to point you to Jesus and teach you to obey his commands out of loving obedience to him (Matt. 28:19-20). This includes accountability by asking the hard questions.
The “Setting Captives Free” is a free online Christian program which uses scripture to free people from the bondages of sin. This is an excellent program to work through with a mentor and a great tool for accountability.
Online Course Topics include: sexual purity, food issues, substance abuse, self injury, and gambling. The website also includes Bible studies and additional resources.
4. A Local Church:
One benefit of being a member of a local church congregation is that you can hopefully receive help when you need it. A strong Bible believing and teaching church will offer some form of church discipline as outlined in Matt. 18:15-17 for the point of accountability, fixing any broken relationships between you and God or others you may have offended, and assisting in the process of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. When a church lovingly provides corrective discipline in this manner, they model the very love God has for his children. Scripture References: Prov 3:11-12 and Heb 12:1-14.
5. Professional Assistance:
Depending on the seriousness of the situation, professional assistance (either through counseling and/or medical treatment) may be needed. One major flaw I have observed in the church is suggesting professional counseling (Christian or otherwise) to broken people and then “washing their hands” of the situation. This is an error which removes accountability, leaves open the possibility for lapses of judgment, causes broken lines of communication, and may still leave the suffering party in isolation. When this step is needed, the best case scenario is having this identified community humbly work together to lovingly support the believer on their road to victory.
No doubt about it, building a community is hard work. But what better way to love a neighbor than to present them with the truth of God’s Word, invite them to place their faith and hope in it fully expecting God’s total deliverance, and loving them for who they are in Christ Jesus? This is how we make disciples. This is how we walk in deliverance.
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012