The Mighty Fall

We think one person has developed to the place in recovery that they are above temptation’s ability to deceive them. Our admiration of such a person places them as heroic in our minds. Then, this mountain of stability takes a major tumble into relapse. Some of us are quick to point out why, in a judgmental pose from our own perch. Others say, what’s my chance to stay clean and sober when someone with their knowledge of sober living comes  to this? They go ahead and give up, and relapse. “What’s the use?” they ask.

We cannot be deceived to think we are too full of recovery smarts that we cannot fall. Relapse can come from many sources, in ways unexpected. The first way is pride. The thought that we do not need to go to meetings regularly.

Never think that you have paid the price and can’t see the need to get to meetings. Prideful people are very fast to judge other’s sobriety. I really feel pride has such a negative impact on an individual that it’s presence affects the spiritual plane of our existence, causing one to face the weaknesses they see in others.

Another biggie is complacency. This little booger is closely related to pride. The difference is the complacent individual is awareness they aren’t above relapse. Their issue is not “feeling” like going, not feeling like reading positive materials, or praying, or helping others. This kills most people’s recovery about a year, more or less, ahead of the actual fall back into their addiction.

Procrastination, the five syllables of death has ruined the recovery of many. Putting off working the steps to recovery, or doing the next right thing because they are so loaded down with other tasks they cannot see a meeting, calling their sponsor, or helping a neighbor, etc.

Also, some are laden with consequences from the past. They try too hard to “fix” or undo their past by taking on the bigger problems. If unsuccessful, they just quit. Do little things first, the big ones will become easier as each little problem solved builds confidence.

Religion can be a bad thing for a person choosing to go the church attendance route instead of AA, NA, GA, CR, etc. I am all for church attendance for aiding recovery. Keep this in mind; Recovery meetings teach you how to recover from your addictions, help you understand and accept and surrender what you have become, and help you learn to deal with consequences.

Church meetings can reinforce and help with these problems, but it is highly doubtful the weekly sermon will be about your recovery. Many take this route because of pride, not wanting anyone to know they are anything other than a sinner, not a weak, out-of-control addict or drunk.

There are other things that bring down the mightiest of recovering individuals. For your information, I don’t have these thoughts from just observing others. I have, and still do face many of these issues personally. My enemy, or addiction is me. Self- serving is my real problem, addictions to anything are side effects.

For all of us working our recovery, don’t get too smart. Don’t be dishonest of where you are when things are awry. Total honesty is an admission that may save us from pride, complacency, and putting off recovery. The season of joy is here when we celebrate the birth of Christ, and welcome the new year. Humbly ask God’s help for understanding the purpose of Christ’s coming, and the purpose He has for you today, the upcoming year, and direction to keep you from falling.

What do you think? What would you add as a reason for relapse?

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Complacently Proud

Two words to remaining on the outskirts of God’s grace are pride and complacency. Put the two together and you have a person completely sure of themselves spiritually. This is the goal of the enemy for everyone who makes the decision to become a follower of Jesus. We get enough of faith to believe we have enough faith to stop growing or conforming to the image of Christ. We can rest knowing our eternity is secure, our doctrines are correct, so let’s move on to achieving our mission in life to obtain gain.

The evil one is aware that Jesus’ words, quoting from the Song of Songs, about the little things ending our fruit-bearing lives:
“Catch us the foxes, the little foxes that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes.” Song of Songs 2:15
Little things ignored kill big hopes. But complacency or not feeling like doing spiritual practices in our lives doesn’t always murder our desire to follow God’s plan for our lives. We can be complacent and have the sudden epiphany like the prodigal son…why am I here eating with pigs?
“But when he came to himself, he said, “How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?” Luke 15:17
Complacency is bad. But one may just fall into complacency from having so much activity that they stop spending time looking to please God, serve others, do the next right thing. They may suddenly say, “Why are things so out of whack?”, then ask the Source for help.
Now add pride to the equation. Thinking I know enough and don’t need to go further even though everything is falling apart, is spiritual suicide. That is the place where humility makes its exodus from our heart. We can fix the problem by sheer willpower and not humbly seek help in prayer or from talking to another believer. The crux of the problem when the two meet is we forget what or where God brought us from. Gratitude, the mother of all virtue is no longer something we think of. Pride says you made it happen…gratitude says it is by God’s grace alone that I stand.
Had God not led me to recovery rooms, I may have never noticed how closely recovery and being a follower of Christ are related. I have seen many with long-term sobriety relapse. I have seen many long-time Christians fall deeply into sin…I was one who did. Maybe you are there now. If you are not able to recall how long it has been since you approached God for any reason, you have arrived in the danger zone. You cannot shirk this off with “I’ll be okay” thinking.
Get with God without delay. Find another believer to talk to. Humble yourself. Don’t swallow your pride…puke it out. If you fear talking to another, know why you fear that. It is pride in its true form. You don’t want to appear weak or un-spiritual. Do not allow the enemy to have this victory. The ripple effect is devastating.
Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.

Why We Kill Each Other

The other day I was listening to a radio broadcast by a double Phd minister who was being asked about another minister, whether the other was on the up-and-up. The supposed brilliant radio host proceeded to take the other apart saying he was a false teacher and for the caller to stay clear of that man, along with everyone else that didn’t agree with him. Of course he is biblically correct and has the doctorates to prove it. The thing I find interesting is that the man’s program is a half hour long, and the largest percentage of his program is selling his “useful” tools for spiritual growth, and the proceeds going to keep him on the air….right. I guess he really works for free since he doesn’t make any money from his “helpful” tools.
The pic of the little “cowpoke” here is the image I have of this radio host. His plan is to run off all of the false guys, and make sure everyone gets on the same page with himself. He is little man with a lot of knowledge, but little understanding. The results: the only person harmed by his attack is everyone, but specifically, Christ who died for all. I haven’t found being a sheriff, as a spiritual gift in the Bible. It goes beyond that. There are many people that call themselves “watchdogs” over the body of Christ, thinking that they are the protectors of the Faith. In the final analysis, they are the ones that the Word says to beware of, but they don’t know it’s them!
We know of the warnings of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and James in the New Testament. There are phonies out there that have one goal in mind; to dupe people out of money for their personal gain. The advice Jesus gave is simple enough to follow:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” Matt. 7:15, ” Therefore by their fruits you shall know them.” 7:20
His words to us is that we will know the bad guys by the fruit they bear. If a man or woman’s entire message is based on money and profit…their no prophet. If it is Christ centered with a message of profit through prudence, sharing with the needy, supporting your local church, then hear them. Does that make sense?
The same goes for the “faith” ministers. If it is a Christ centered message, do like a cow does, eat the hay not the sticks. Every person in ministry will stumble doctrinally. For us to kill each other for the error is demonic. The Holy Spirit dwells in you, He will guide you, if you look to Him. But if you run around chasing all kinds of hot prophets for answers, instead of searching the Word and going the the University of Kneedom, praying for answers, then He will let you search the world over for answers you will not get. He will patiently wait until you surrender and seek Him for the truth. When surrendered, the answers you search for will come in surprising ways…a topic for another day.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasures that war in your members?”  Jas.4:1  The members is not church members, but our own mental faculties, our desire to be doctrinally correct and having the mind of God regarding spiritual truth. It is pride, the pleasure of being right and proving another wrong. We bring reproach on the name of Jesus with our pride of being right, and the world sees our dissention and hatred to each other and skeedattles away from believers, I want no part of that, they often say.
Okay, I don’t want this to be a book, just a reality check for us all. One says God doesn’t heal today, that passed away with the apostles. The same goes for all of the gifts of the Spirit, and they can prove it with scripture. The other says God does heal, the gifts of the Spirit are part of the spiritual nature we receive when we believe. One boxes God into a corner, the other allows the flow of spirituality to continue, but doesn’t teach their followers how to “flow,” and then you have all kinds of oddball prophecies and phoney healers among the people of God.
One group says Jesus will come back mid-trib, the next group says pre-trib, the other post-trib, and some says He has already returned, headquartered in Salt Lake City, (I’m sure that one is wrong), and each, except the last one has biblical proof, so we devour each other, and the world remains in darkness, our family members are hell-bound, and we hate and lie about it saying, I really don’t hate them, but they are teaching false doctrines!  So as long as your are right, the things you and I should be on our knees about don’t really matter. They will matter when we all stand at the judgment seat of Christ. How will we account for our hatred toward each other. This is just another way we use our liberty in Christ, and justify ourselves.
“Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren (and sistren), these things ought not be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?” James 3:10-11
Can we agree to disagree about non-redemptive issues? Can we warn each other without naming names? Can we actually follow New Testament conduct doctrines and love each other, and forbear with each other, careful not to cause each other to stumble? If so, this begins revival among in the body of Christ, and fulfill God’s joy as we become one. Even though we still may not be one doctrinally, we love, truly love one another. If not, don’t partake of the Lord’s table. (another topic) Thanks for reading, God bless and keep you all.