Addictions and the Like Precious Faith
(Thread begun by RandyP)
Addictions are a good place to study the application of the "like precious faith" we are exploring in our FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith series. These physical addictions present some of the same spiritual factors that we see in other more emotional or intellectual or visual addictions that we face in the field as well. The resources and applications are just the same as with any destructive trait.
Even those not battling these types of addictions should be able to see beneficial applications herein that could help them in whatever they are struggling against. We encourage everyone to read along!
We always start at the baseline treatment the addicts' perception of God's righteousness.
The addict (even Christian addicts) tend to have a very crippled perception of God's righteousness. Many early on have suffered spiritually debilitating events in their past that have made it much easier/likely for them to follow this course of addiction than to proceed as healthier more rational people would. A sizable portion of that injury has to do with what they continue to perceive as what God's role in that event(s) is.
For many these events have seemingly continued/replicated in other or similar forms and piled up for several years.
First and foremost the addict must allow a presumption of God's righteousness even if not clear initially what that righteousness might be. Further the addict must pursue the opening made by that presumption toward searching out the evidences of that righteousness to the point of coming to a broader grace and peace between he/she and God, he/she and the event and the faces and occurrences within it.
This is of primary importance because it is this knowledge/grace/peace that will open up the spiritual life line to God's power and promise and providence into their daily lives.
So we are looking for a strong diet of God righteousness verses, reading with an emphasis on open minded exploration, prayerful mediation and free form discussion.
If the addict wasn't obsessive compulsive going in they are more than likely to be coming out. This presents a difficulty when applying the prescribed diligence's bridging faith into action. They will nearly always be compulsively diligent about applying their own knowledge and resources at the problem rather than God's and obsessive about the problems that they may or may not face and all possible outcomes.
The grace and peace about recovery in general is also difficult for the obsessive to maintain as well.
Therefore, before any diligence is performed, focus must be given on the spiritual elements of God's Arm highlighted by Peter in verses 2-4. So we are still looking at a strong diet of God's righteousness, but now bringing into the study/meditation/discussion/preparations the numerous scriptural examples of God issuing these elements and examples of man's successes and failures with that.
The focus of understanding must be that all these elements work toward bringing us to a place of partaking of His divine nature and that it is His divine nature that is above the corruptions and dictates of our flesh.
Again before any diligence is performed the diligence must be understood from a spiritual perspective.
The virtue added for instance is not a courage or valor against addiction, it is a courage/valor for riding the strength of Lord's arm as He has revealed it out of addiction. Addiction doesn't stand a chance against the arm of the Lord, but riding that arm at first is a unfamiliar thing.
The knowledge added is not a knowledge of addiction recovery, it is a knowledge of Christ Jesus Himself, where the strength of His arm is in a particular situation and how it operates.
The temperance added likewise is a temperance for allowing in the power and promises and provisions supplied by God in and through the problem, not the problem influencing what you will think and do by your own resource.
Further down the diligences, the patience added is not a patience for the chemical withdrawals to subside, it is a patience with one's self in putting the faith forward correctly. There will be corrections to be made, but in a direction the Spirit is leading not the flesh.
One keeps adding and adding diligence's one upon another until there is built a flowing conduit of God's agape love. When corrections are to be made (and they will be frequent at first) they are made toward correcting/strengthening the weaker links of this structure. The valor for instance may need to be better placed in His strength. The temperance may need to adjusted towards His influence.
You see, these diligences are not only the focuses one places in front of their daily actions, they are the feedback looking back and areas of correction and building up moving forward. They become the standing platform surrounding the addict/the vessel used by the Lord that He navigates out of the addiction. It is no different than the vehicle He used to pull a man and his wife out of a rocky and corrupted marriage or a parent out of their abusiveness.
One's like precious faith however must keep the focus on applying this God's and Son's righteousness forward into their daily lives.
Notice Peter's seeming prediction of lack of fruit verses 8-9. You will see why we've put so much emphasis already on starting this off right. Our field of vision spiritually is already narrow that we will want to resort back to our former carnal field of vision, even though most of that is vain imaginary fluff and all of it corrupted.
The focus here must be expanding the spiritual field of vision which means continually going back through the loop of applications starting at the perception of His righteousness Father and Son, multiplying both grace and peace, searching out the movement of His arm.
Let us change for a moment the phrase "in the knowledge of Christ" which Peter so often repeated to "in the familiarity with His person". This is not a religious endeavor we are committing ourselves to here to become un-addicted, it is a one on one relationship Christ wants us invested in with Him. As much as He gives Himself to us, we give ourselves to Him.
Addiction has brought you to a point where now you are willing to see the possibility of such a relationship. Assurance of one's salvation, abundant entrance leading up to His eternal kingdom, remembrance of these things known, each important things no doubt, these are all things better served (come more naturally) by a sincere and engaged relationship to Him. It is this growing and active familiarity that we become fruitful with and in. This is what transforms and sanctifies our lives so.
So our application becomes more and more an outreach to others in helping them to see the fruitful affects of this relationship and the sharing of the steps of the like precious faith. It begins day two after we have begun this walk ourselves. It builds and continues repeatedly as we daily apply the diligences of brotherly kindness and agape love. Essentially that is all outreach is.
Outreach at some point always has to reach back to those that who have suffered by your addiction, even to those that may have started you down the road to it. The fullest grace and peace is never found as long as those memories remain haunting. Don't expect other's forgiveness, be sure to ask for it though, then simply accept God's.
Though it is not mentioned directly by Peter in this passage it is implied by the phrase "like precious faith" and further in scriptural context that there are others in the process of being delivered by the the strength of the arm of the Lord. Others that we need to be connected too.
The tendency by most Christian fellowships unfortunately is to separate the addicts into their corner and the abusive into theirs and the married couples into theirs; have their individual groups work out their particular problems. It gives the congregation the appearance of providing targeted "products" to meet the individual's needs, but also separates a more sweeping power of Christ into smaller channels. Even the methods developed for treatment become separate and distinct.
There is so much that the addict can add to the overall experience of like precious faith of the grieving widow, just as there is that the widow can add to the experience of healing to the troubled couple, just as their is from the wounded soldier to the convict and to the troubled teen etc.. circling round in reverse.
The beauty of Peter's like precious faith is that we are all much alike and the Lord's stated approach to us is is much the same. Sure our Lord seeks individual relationships with each of us, but He also seeks us having fruitful relations with one another. When you get further into the writings of other Apostles like Paul's tremendous kjv@Romans:12 discourse you see the importance of the togetherness of a entire body of believers and how they also become as a body fruitful in the knowledge of Christ.
Do not ignore this step. Though this additional step is challenging because our baser natures, it is as much of our process of growth in the end as anything else. Some would even say that individual growth is most limited by not being connected to the growth of the larger universal body.