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Tag Archives: addiction

Relapse

Backslide, deteriorate, revert and sink are words associated with relapse.  This condition is a byproduct of falling back into old habits.  Whether someone becomes lazy, out of sync or unfocused, it doesn’t take much for human beings to drift back into patterns of their childhood.  Perhaps, this explains why addiction is so hard to beat as weakened souls are often sucked back by demons of your past.

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John 3:8.

The average person doesn’t wake up eager to sin, longing to worship the devil.  Rather, the practice of sinning is conceived within minds.  Subtle thoughts set the process of temptation into motion.  Whenever anyone strays slightly from God’s commands, compromise gives birth to a lowering of personal standards.  For those heading off in this direction, relapse is inevitable.  Yet, many are surprised by how far and quickly this downward spiral occurs.

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God,” Luke 9:62.

The context of the passage above refers to someone who wanted to be one of Jesus’ disciples.  The individual who is turned down by Jesus simply wanted to say goodbye to his family.  Yet, the point Jesus was trying to make is that people who have a tendency to relapse won’t set a godly example for others to follow.  In the last month, conviction has pierced my heart as my own life has been a poor model, not fit for God’s kingdom.  I must confess that I have relapsed back to my shy days of an unconfident stutterer.  Instead of keeping in step with the Holy Spirit, I am defeated, void of any spiritual victory.  Thus, I am in desperate need to heed the call of Silverline’s song, Never Look Back so I can begin to turn my life around.

by Jay Mankus

 

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The Pathway to Addiction and Freedom

As a story teller, there was no one better during the first century than Jesus.  Appealing to visual learners, Jesus painted vivid pictures allowing the minds of listeners to follow along with each word.  Nearing the end of his sermon on the Mount of Olives, Jesus gives those in attendance two choices.  There are two different roads that you can follow in this life.  One leads to addiction, the other toward freedom.  You may have a great time on the popular path, but in the end you’ll be left with an eternal hangover.  Meanwhile, the path less traveled is a difficult journey, but the benefits to staying the course are eternal.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow and difficult to travel is the path that leads the way to [everlasting] life, and there are few who find it,” Matthew 7:13-14.

After Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, one of Jesus’ disciples goes into greater detail about the broad road that leads to destruction.  John refers to emotions that keep individuals ensnared, paralyzed by lustful desires.  These cravings distract souls from any standards that they may have held, kept or were raised with prior to turning on to this interstate.  Lust, sensual desires and pride tend to blind those ashamed, guilty or filled with remorse by this change of course.  Unfortunately, the longer anyone stays on the path to addiction, the harder it becomes to leave for good.

Do not love the world [of sin that opposes God and His precepts], nor the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust and sensual craving of the flesh and the lust and longing of the eyes and the boastful pride of life [pretentious confidence in one’s resources or in the stability of earthly things]—these do not come from the Father, but are from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and with it its lusts [the shameful pursuits and ungodly longings]; but the one who does the will of God and carries out His purposes lives forever, 1 John 2:15-17.

Instead of typical road signs that you may see everyday, the pathway to freedom contains God’s precepts.  These nuggets of truth preach an alternative message from the flashy advertisements on the highway to hell.  Words such as serve, surrender and selfless appeal to those searching for something deeper, pondering the meaning of life.  The further you travel along this barren road, the narrower it becomes.  Ideally, accountability partners, friends and mentors will encourage you to choose freedom over temporary pleasures.  To persist, press on and demonstrate resolve.  In the end, the choose is yours.  I’ll leave you with Moses’ farewell address to Israel, Deuteronomy 30:19, choose life.

by Jay Mankus

Self Medicating Pain

According to a 2017 article posted on The Upshot, Josh Katz uses new data to illustrate that drug deaths in America are rising faster than ever before.  Drug overdose claimed the lives of nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016.  A large majority of these deaths are being blamed on opioids, prompting a 2017 presidential commission to address this growing crisis.  Instead of coping with depression, an attempt to self medicate pain has resulted in deadly addictions nationwide.

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” – Matthew 9:10-11.

During the first century, class warfare was commonly practiced to avoid negative influences from those who shared a different worldview.  This mindset caused religious leaders to question Jesus’ association with sinners, regularly dining and reaching out to social outcasts within society.  In the passage below, Jesus reveals the purpose for this unusual outreach.  If you read between the lines, the goal for any adult is learning how to take care of yourself.  This is a sign of maturity, being able to self medicate pain through spiritual practices.

On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, Matthew 9:12.

The apostle Paul shines light on how this is accomplished within Philippians 2:1-4.  The spiritual healthy gradually develop a Christ like mindset.  Before beginning every day, Jesus withdrew to a quiet place, often on a mountain top outside of where he was staying, void of distractions.  Essentially, Paul is suggesting you can’t help others until you take care of your own needs first.  When your daily devotions, prayer and reflection is complete each morning, you are primed to self medicate pain.  Until this process is complete, you won’t be any good to anyone.  Therefore, if you want to be healthy, not needing a doctor, start each day with a daily dose of Jesus.

by Jay Mankus

The Paralysis of Sin

Terms like debilitating, immobility and incapacity describe symptoms of paralysis.  Those individuals whose lives are turned upside down by accidents, disease or extreme events are forced to go with life with several new obstacles to overcome.  Unfortunately, paralysis can attack souls through the presence and spread of sin.

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate, Romans 7:15.

The apostle Paul highlights how sin impacts individual actions.  Similar to an addiction, bad habit or compulsive behavior, the ability to maintain self-control is lost.  This phenomena is not exempt for Christians as anyone who plays with fire in the form of temptation will eventually get burned.  Thus, even a missionary like Paul was paralyzed by sin.

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin, James 4:17.

One of the people who has made the greatest impact on my life is Skip Wilkins.  After becoming a high school All-American in 4 sports, Skip was paralyzed while water skiing before his senior year.  When colleges heard of his accident, all 2000 plus full scholarships were rescinded.  Skip’s faith helped him overcome this setback and eventually became a motivational speaker.  If it wasn’t for Skip Wilkins testimony, I still might be paralyzed by sin.  Yet, because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, you too can be set free from sin as there are no wheel chairs in heaven.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

It Seemed Pretty Innocent at the Time

Hollywood story lines attempt to produce a few basic responses.  Comedies seek to provoke laughter, dramas hope to gain your attention and genres somewhere in between try to imitate life through the art of entertainment.  Despite getting this down to a science, projecting which film, series and program will flop or succeed hasn’t been perfected.  Thus, the concept of pushing the envelope continues, stretching further and further each year.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! – Isaiah 5:20

The idea of a poor school teacher dying of cancer turning toward drugs to provide for his family seemed pretty innocent at the time.  The backdrop to Breaking Bad was original and made sense.  Why would a hard working man want to leave his family with the debt of countless medical bills.  Yet, as chemistry teacher Walter White begins manufacturing and selling methamphetamine, a cult following began during this shows five year run.  Like anything in life, this concept influenced some to produce and experiment with meth.

For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer, Romans 13:4.

My wife flew to Chicago on Wednesday for a funeral of a family member who became enslaved by meth.  While Bryan Cranston was able to evade the law in Breaking Bad, my nephew wasn’t as fortunate.  In real life, most behavior seems relatively innocent at first.  Yet, as you move from the light into darkness, evil stimulates further immoral acts.  By the time most people come to their senses, addiction has already arrived.  While I’m not blaming this hit show for Brandon’s drug overdose, I’m merely warning anyone on the verge of breaking bad.  May God send the Holy Spirit quickly to those who need divine intervention to escape darkness by finding the light.

by Jay Mankus

Linger, Lust and Lost

Drifting, hobbling or remaining idle are words which describe linger.  This state can lull people into a false sense of security.  Any type of prolonged visit here can stagger any sort of spiritual progress in the past.  I refer to linger as the first of 3 deadly L’s, laying the ground work for a crash, fall or prodigal act to follow.

Though he cannot bear to let it go and lets it linger in his mouth, Job 20:13.

The half way point on the road to destruction, Matthew 7:13, blends into linger.  Like a natural progression, lust is a byproduct of someone who is curious, distracted and side tracked.  Imagine a fish who is hungry.  Sure, fish realize the worm is on some sort of hook, but this craving leads to an irrational behavior.  If the tempter pulls as you take a bite, addiction is set in motion.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:14-15.

In the parable of the prodigal son, Luke 15, a doctor makes an interesting observation of a lost person.  Luke compares this phase of life as an individual who loses their perspective.  This debilitating state leads unwitting souls to hit rock bottom.  Like a never ending abyss, people continue in a free fall until one comes to their senses.  If this blog finds you somewhere on the road to destruction, lingering, lustful or lost, may the Holy Spirit pull you back in the right direction toward the road to recovery.  Keep the faith as the Bible illuminates the way, Psalm 119:105.

by Jay Mankus

Driven From the Light

When I moved back to Delaware in the last 1990’s, I began to have some initially eye issues.  Similar to pink eye, my condition began to involve pain.  One evening, I felt like a needle was stuck in my eye.  Whenever my eyes were exposed to light, this shooting pain intensified.  Subsequently, I was driven from the light into the darkness of an emergency room.

He is driven from light into the realm of darkness and is banished from the world, Job 18:18.

Bildad, a friend of Job’s refers to a different reference.  The context of the verse above refers to an individual who is affected by a harmful addiction.  When this illness becomes full blown, sin drives people from the light into a world of darkness.  Sometimes this dark transformation is subtle and other times its drastic, over night.

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James 1:14-15.

During my five years of blogging, I have crafted nearly 2000 blogs.  The one which has received the most comments and feedback is entitled The Second Glance.  This piece shines light on how lust can suck someone into a life of sin.  According to the passage above, full blow sin amounts to addiction.  Thus, if you allow yourself to become intrigued with a second glance like Eve in the Garden of Eden, it won’t be long before you are driven from the light into darkness.  In view of this dangerous threat, hold on tightly to Jesus whenever you feel yourself about to give into sin.

by Jay Mankus

 

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