The journey of a person who is truly striving for recovery— who genuinely wants and works for sobriety on a regular basis— is very similar to the passage of a person who is truly striving for Jesus. Both people are human, with flaws in personality or character. They each have a past— one that is probably full of mistakes they would change if they could. Now, they each face the truth of those actions and try to make amends. Both people are looking to a bright future and following a set of principles and prescriptions to get there.
In many cases, both people are actually one person. If you’re a Christian in addiction treatment or recovery, three particular Biblical verses can help guide you. As you read them, notice how the story about our own lives that Jesus tells us is one of transformation; to become Christian is to become whole spiritually. When you are spiritually whole in Christ, you can wield the weapons of the Spirit, such as faith or prayer, to help you in your transformation of addiction recovery.
A Living Sacrifice
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, (given) God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God— this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but transform yourself by renewing your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
In many Bibles, the first section of Romans 12 is “A Living Sacrifice.” While the header calls out a specific phrase in the Scripture itself, it’s also a play on words. In his letter to the Romans, Paul is reminding readers that Christ became a living sacrifice for each person; to receive the benefit of that sacrifice, all you have to do is believe in the gospel message and allow the Spirit of Christ into your heart.
Once you do that, though, Paul says that it’s your turn to become the living sacrifice. You don’t have to die physically, but instead, you turn to God and God’s ways, offering your body and your life and allowing the Spirit to transform and renew your mind. Instead of conforming to the world, you adapt to the image that God provided you in Jesus. The world says drink, do drugs, care not about your body and certainly don’t care about your soul. Jesus says to follow God’s commands, to treat your body as a temple and to put the care of your soul above the concerns of the flesh.
Clay to the Potter
He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
It’s not always easy to turn from the world and avoid conforming to what is around you. Similarly, it’s not easy to turn from drugs or alcohol and avoid returning to the cycle of addiction. Luckily, when you place yourself in God’s hands, you don’t have to do all of the work. Turning your life and your problems over to God doesn’t magically erase them. Furthermore, faith doesn’t automatically turn off all the trials of addiction recovery. But, when you invite him to do so, God can act mightily in your life and on your behalf.
Jeremiah was a prophet of the Lord, sent to Israel during a time when both the kings of Israel and Judah, as well as the people, were turning away from God. Many know Jeremiah as the Weeping Prophet because he cried out in sorrow at the visions God gave him and at the messages he was to bring to Israel; because Israel was conforming to the world, God could not give them the good gifts he wanted to. Instead, he was going to let neighboring kingdoms overtake them; Jerusalem would fall, and the Lord’s temple would be destroyed.
Even though all of this came to pass, Jeremiah’s writings show constant threads of a transformation message. Israel was like clay, and God was the potter. During that time, the potter worked, molded, and fired the clay so that it could become a strong and useful vessel.
Sometimes, we are worked like clay in the same way. Addiction recovery can certainly feel like that, but remember that on the other side, you come out stronger and more able to function in the world again.
Transformed in His Image
And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Every Christian who follows Jesus undergoes a transformation. Often, Christians talk about being saved by Christ as if it happened once, recently or long ago, and it is done. Really, though, Christians are being saved daily — continually — by this ongoing transformation that comes from the glory of the Lord.
Recovery is a lot like that. You didn’t quit drugs or alcohol this one time recently or long ago. As an addict in treatment or recovery, you are actively quitting drugs or alcohol all of the time. Many people don’t understand that it’s a constant action on your part, even if it does get easier with time and practice. That’s one reason it’s important to surround yourself with support systems during recovery who do understand the need for ongoing transformation.
If you’re dealing with a new desire to quit or you can’t find your way out of addiction and into the journey of recovery, the Road to Freedom can help. Call us at (844) 402-3605 any time of the day or night to find out how.