Seven Things Jesus Might Say to Someone Struggling with Addiction
Addiction is the kind of disease that can really break a person down. It causes embarrassment, guilt, and feelings of inadequacy. People struggling with addiction often feel worthless and/or wonder how they can ever live a meaningful life again. Focusing on a person’s spiritual health during recovery is important because it provides peace and hope. Jesus is the source of all peace, and by listening closely to what he has to say, someone struggling with addiction can experience a new kind of love -- an unconditional love that will help with true recovery.
If we listen, we can hear our Savior speaking to us, even during addiction and recovery. Through Bible study and prayer, and through interactions with other Christians, someone in recovery can learn what things Jesus has to say to them. Let me share 7 of the many tips Jesus shared with me which not just set me free from my addiction, but melted my hardened heart, renewed my mind, and transformed my life.
1. “I love you so much that I died for you. Not for you to feel guilty, but to be set free!” We read in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” A Christian’s faith hinges upon this passage. Our Savior’s love is beyond comprehension because it caused him to die to take away the wrong things we have done. For the struggling addict, this means that Christ has a love for them that will never fail.
2. “No matter how much you relapse and struggle, I still love you and always will.” The guilt and baggage that go along with addiction often keep people from accepting the help that is offered to them. They feel undeserving of a new life, and sometimes spend months or years trying to make up for their past. But Jesus reminds us that even the addiction, the lies, and all the past wrongs can’t keep him from loving us. He reminds us in Jeremiah 31:34 that “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
3. “Let me connect my yoke to you and carry most of your burden while you grow in strength to bear up more of it at a later time.” Recovery is a difficult journey, and many people grow tired of the fight against the triggers and temptations to use. Jesus promises to help us with our burdens and to be the strength we need to get through the toughest of days. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) For the addict, even when they want to quit the fight, Jesus is there to help them through.
4. “I will always advocate for you to my Father and you will be my brother at the ultimate banquet table.” Jesus wants to have a relationship with us, and He calls us his brothers and sisters. “On behalf of a man, He pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.” (Job 16:21) This means the world to someone who has experienced strained relationships with family and friends because of addiction. Jesus wants us to go to Him with all our worries, and to look forward to a heavenly home together in heaven some day.
5. “I came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:17-21). I want to set YOU free.” Sometimes the thought of maintaining a substance-free life is daunting, just as trying to live life free from lying, cheating, or stealing is overwhelming. We all have sins that try to weigh us down, and it is a daily struggle to follow God’s commands. But life is a lot harder when you don’t follow His commands, and you already know that. Through the Holy Spirit, we gain power and strength, and when we fall short, we can remember that God still forgives. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18) God tells us that if we are his followers, we will have the mind of Christ in us. We will also have the Holy Spirit who will empower and guide us, but we have to listen to his urging and humbly follow it.
6. “The thief, Satan, came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you would have life abundantly.” (John 10:10) Finally, Jesus tells us that we can have new life through Him. Jesus wants us to not just have a so-so life, but have a life of psychological and spiritual abundance and fulfillment. If we follow His teachings, they will set us free to live the abundant life He wants us to have, He died so we could have access, and God has designed us to live. These words are empowering to the addict in recovery, as he faces the daily struggles of life and learns to trust God’s will for his life.
7. “I know you are confused, overwhelmed, and afraid, but I will bring you peace and stability.” Digging out of the addiction hole or stopping the downward spiral is difficult. Many decisions need to be made each day, even each hour, to stay sober and moving forward. Making those decisions when stressed, hopeless, emotional, and foggy usually leads to wrong decisions. Peace to think clearly and not make knee-jerk or impulsive decisions is essential to start making one good decision after another. “You (God) keep him (addict) in perfect peace whose mind is stayed (focused) on you (God), because he trusts in you.” (Isaiah 26:3) We need and crave peace, especially when our world is caving in. Jesus is the rock to build your peace on, so keep your eyes and mind on Him and you will have the peace you need to start a positive spiral and dig out of the hole of addiction and into the light of Jesus’ love, grace, and freedom!
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