November 18, 2017

But I’m In Control”

By Carlos M. Aguilar

Those that inhale, inject, drink, snort, or by whatever means they put chemicals into their bodies have become a tragedy, spinning uncontrollably towards death. Not only do drug users destroy their own lives, but the effect of their dependence stretches out to many people. It is to this lifestyle that many succumb everyday and cannot by themselves escape it. When one is serving God correctly his life must demonstrate the basic principles taught within his sacred writings. Matthew 7:14 instills within us the importance of faithful living knowing that the way unto heaven is a narrow and difficult one, and it is for this reason that a strong devotion and commitment to God is critical. The Apostle Peter begins his second epistle by referring to the brethren as "those who have obtained like precious faith" and have "escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet. 1:1-4).

All, of course, made possible "through His divine power" (2 Pet. 1:3). But Peter doesn't stop there. In v. 5 he tells them to now do their part, God has already done his part, man's participation is trivial compared to what God has done but nonetheless it is absolutely essential and he admonishes them to act with "all diligence" so that they might enjoy the blessing which the Father had made available to them. They were to demonstrate diligence by adding the following characteristics to their faith; virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. These are all characteristics which we must constantly build upon in order not to be lacking or short-sighted to the point of blindness (v. 9).

It is this blindness created by the world that forces many into a destructive lifestyle, a lifestyle which is nearly impossible to escape. One particular Christian grace which Peter mentions is self-control. Literally it means "one who holds himself in." It denotes self government, discipline, the ability of one to control his own life. The drug user lacks this characteristic in his life. He would argue that he is in control, but take away his drugs and the effects of his dependence are evident. Withdrawal from narcotics will cause his muscles to ache, chills to occur, fevers, and stomach cramps; the dependence becomes very evident. Withdrawal illness from sedatives causes a high fever and convulsions, it also causes a condition in which the victim is shaky and sees and hears things that are not present. Too swift a withdrawal from sedatives can cause death. The addict would say, ". . . but, I'm in control."

Many addicts spend so much time under the influence of drugs that they neglect their health, work, family, and friends. They find it difficult to keep a job or to handle family responsibilities. They fail to eat well and to maintain personal cleanliness. As a result, many addicts suffer from malnutrition. Addicts who inject drugs may get any number of diseases from an unsterile needle. For most addicts, the chief goal in life is obtaining more drugs. Since this addiction is costly and many cannot keep their jobs, they turn to crime to support their habit. Hollywood portrays the prostitute as glamorous and appealing, engaging in prostitution to maintain her lavish lifestyle. The truth is seen everyday on certain streets of just about every town. Tragic lives are sustained by an even more tragic lifestyle. It is the drug addict that must engage in prostitution, not to live in wealth, but to maintain her heroin dependence, to provide a rat infested roof over her and her family's head.

Yes, a family! Yes, a husband! Yes, children! Not quite the glamorous life that is portrayed. But before I forget, let the addict respond, ". . . but, I'm in control." Control? There is definitely control. This is the "corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Pet. 1:4). We are told in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the coming of the lawless one will be a direct result of Satan himself, "with all power, signs, and lying wonders and with all unrighteous deception" (vv. 9-10). For those who did not receive the love of the truth it will be particularly tempting, and God says that he "will send strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (v. 11).1 John 5:3 says, "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments," and Romans 1:18 says, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."

This is possibly one of the most dangerous conditions a man can enter into, to know the truth and not obey it. If one does this he will make his eternal condemnation sure. When one is in this condition he is ripe for the picking when sin enters the field. He is seeking to satisfy his lusts and desires and not that of God. Isaiah 66:3, 4 teaches the very principle discussed in 2 Thessalonians. All too often man thinks he is in control of his life. He gives himself credit for his accomplishments and does not acknowledge God. It is this man who sins and becomes ensnared by its deceitfulness. While it is true that any one who has sunk to the level of drug use has certainly "believed the lie" and has made every provision for sin to take a hold of his life, it is equally true of any sin, and the way of escape is also similarly found. The world has spent much effort in writing laws to make drug use and drug sales illegal, but it has not put an end to it. The only laws that will prevent and end it is the spiritual law found within God's inspired word.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." What sinners' heart cannot be touched by those words? What sinner has not spent many hours in sorrow not knowing how or what to do next? God has promised that he will make the way of escape from sin possible for us (1 Cor. 10:13). But it takes a willingness on the sinners part to acknowledge his sin, to humble himself before God and pray  pray for forgiveness and for help. We all are susceptible to sin, that is why Peter admonishes us in 2 Peter 1:10, "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble."

The road back from drug dependence is not an easy one, it is one which will have to be traveled one day at time, one step at a time, one prayer at a time. It will mean letting Christ rule your heart and allowing him to be in control. The apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." These are words for all of us to live by.

Guardian of Truth XL: No. 13, p. 12-13
July 4, 1996

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