How many who have struggled with drugs have prayed to God and said something like this, “God, please help me never to give in to those pills again,” or, “God, please take away my desire to drink, and if You do, I will never drink again.” How many have prayed something similar to this? If so, let me ask you, what was the outcome? God can and does deliver people from drug addiction and if you are one who has been delivered you should praise the Lord for it. But, I would think the vast majority who have prayed similar prayers to those mentioned above have found that they have just continued down the horrible road of drug addiction.
“Why didn’t God help? Where was God at? Has God forgotten me? Does God hate me? Does God exist? Maybe Christianity isn’t true. Maybe it’s all a hoax.” Have you found yourself thinking or saying things like these before?
There are a number of reasons why you might still be addicted to drugs even though you have asked God to help you. But I want to look at one reason, and I think this is by far the biggest reason why many who ask God for help are practically in the same situation they were in before they prayed and asked God for help (and this goes not only for drugs but any sin). This is the reason: They ask God for help, but they do not give themselves to God. Look at what the Bible says,
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
You might be reading this now, and you have tried to resist the devil over and over again. You have tried to say no, you want him to flee from you, you want God’s help, and have asked for God’s help, and still you find yourself in the same position you were in months or years ago. Why?
Look at that verse again, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” The first thing this verse says is to submit to God. I hope this does not come across as harsh, but if you have not truly submitted yourselves to God then you should not expect God’s help. You can pray over and over for God to help you with your drug addiction but until you give your entire self to Him don’t expect His help. The verse is simple enough, isn’t it? God tells us to submit to Him, then resist the devil, and then the devil will flee from you. Resisting the devil and him fleeing from you is a wonderful thought, isn’t it? But it begins with submitting yourselves to God. You cannot fight the devil while you are fighting with God.
The question isn’t, “do you want to be free from drugs,” but the question is, “will you, by God’s grace, fully give yourself to God?” If you truly give yourself to God then you should most certainly expect His help.
What does submitting to God look like?
Of course, part of submitting to God is asking for help when it comes to drug addiction. But it’s more. You stop using God’s name in vain, stop looking at pornography, stop committing adultery, stop stealing, stop lying, you take the Bible as God’s Word, you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You become committed to do whatever God tells you to do in His Word. You become a Christian.
If you will not do this then don’t expect God’s help.
Now, I don’t want to give the impression that the way you submit to God is to stop doing all the bad things you love and want to continue doing. Of course, you do give up evil things and begin doing good things. But the reason you begin to do these good things is because God has changed your heart. The Bible calls it being “born again.” God changes your heart and gives you the desire to give up these evil things and gives you the desire to start doing the good things. Is there still evil desire and inward struggles in the Christian life at times? Yes. But when one becomes a Christian God comes and lives inside of that person. God gives that person His Holy Spirit. And when temptation comes there can still be a desire to give in to the evil things, but God gives the Christian strength to say “no” to the temptation and to follow Him.
Some of you reading this may want to give up drugs (and/or a thousand other things). That’s good. But, again, the big question is not, “do you want to give these things up?,” but, “do I want to love God and let Him rule my life?” I hope the answer to the last question is “yes.” And if not, I hope you start to pray that God would change your heart so your answer would be, “yes.”
I think you have pretty much hit the nail on the head, Clint. Getting this message across clearly (and in the right spirit, as I see you have pursued) is so important for those in addiction problems. And it is vitally important to see what you have at least implied clearly enough: The fault is not with God, but on our side. By the way, this is true for all sin problems, not only substance abuse and addiction problems.