Dead Man Walking – Part II – Freedom from Addiction

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Saturday, April 5, 2014 0 comments

If you didn’t read last week’s blog, please take a moment and go back and review it. There is a key to freedom from addiction discussed there that is essential. Without it, nothing I share this week will make much sense.

The Bible shares the life story of King David – who was considered a “man after God’s own heart.” He was definitely passionate about honoring God in all he did, but he also was human and proned to sin like everyone else. The lustful attraction to a woman he saw bathing, lead him down a path of violence and self-destruction. After arranging for the woman’s husband to be killed, he takes her to be his wife and pays some very serious consequences for his actions. If you haven’t read David’s story, please take a moment to go there – 2 Samuel 11.

If we have felt the hook of addiction, the guilt and shame of lustful actions, we can identify with David’s situation and his grief. Sometimes it is more challenging to get to a point where we are really broken and really ready to change. Sometimes after being broken, we have a hard time keeping ourselves free from the addiction and away from the triggers that draw us it.

After David was emotionally and spiritually broken over his sin, he wrote Psalm 51. He shares a perspective that I believe is helpful for those who are already wrestling through what I shared last week, and are trying to walk in freedom from their addiction. David realizes there are bigger reasons for him to continue to walk in freedom.

In the first couple verses of the Psalm David shares a humbling struggle that all of us have experienced in one way or another. Our sin, the things we have done wrong, are always before us – maybe they play like a video tape in your mind. And on top of our own remembering of our sin, we see the consequences in our life, in our family, and maybe even hear it in the disapproval of others. It feels like a constant loop leading us back again and again to our shame. But look what David shares in verses 6-13.

“You desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out my iniquity. Create in me a clean heart oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”

David latches on to a few things here that are essential to walking in freedom from addiction. The first is, God intended us to be free! God made us to be able to walk in faithful relationship with Him – and walking in that relationship brings freedom to every part of who we are. Because of that David can appeal to God to rescue him and cleanse him. From what I understand “hyssop” was a mixture of materials that stripped things clean like acid. David appeals to God’s design for him and God’s mercy, and essentially says, “strip me down to bare bones, cleansing me like with acid to burn away this sin, and return joy and gladness.” We depend on God’s mercy and compassion to restore us to the design and the freedom He intended us to live in.

Second David knows he needs “heart surgery” to deal with the roots of the desires that lead him into sin. The wounds of life, of circumstances, of things others have done to us, and that we have done to others, all get piled up in our heart - twisting the way we see ourselves and the world. David asks God to clean out his heart, make it pure in desires and motives, and to renew the ability to stand firm in what is good and right and true. And he knows what will help him stay pure, and walk in freedom, is the joy of experiencing God’s rescue.

I am not sure if you have ever been rescued from a dangerous situation, or maybe you experienced a close call that made you certain “angels were watching over you.” But that sense of RESCUE, of SAVING from a dangerous situation is what David is talking about. There is a joy and excitement that wells up in your heart after you realize you get to live and breathe another day. It can add incredible perspective and bring determined life change. That is what David is asking God to refresh and renew in him – the joy and the experience of being rescued by God.

So David latches on to God’s design and mercy to cleanse him, then he asks for God to purify his heart and renew his joy. He asks for a willingness to receive these things so that he can stand firmly and free in God. But the third thing David latches onto here is something that gives an even greater reason for David to seek Freedom from his lust and sin. He realizes that if he is free, truly free, then he can help OTHERS be free.

“…then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners to turn back to you…”

David gets the “bigger picture” of what his freedom from lust is about – helping to rescue others. When it comes to being free from addiction and walking free in sobriety, our overcoming of that addiction relys on us knowing it is beyond our control, needing and accepting God’s help in overcoming that addiction, and realizing we are not seeking freedom for any other reason than our own freedom (meaning it cannot depend on someone else’s expectations or freedom). But what helps us in those moments when we have walked free for a while, what helps us grit our teeth and lean into trusting God a little more in the face of temptation, is realizing our freedom can set the stage for others to be free. The simple sharing of our freedom, the simple example of walking free for one more day, can help someone trapped in addiction realize that they too can be free.

If you are struggling with addiction, make sure you get help and be honest with those who can help you take the necessary steps to deal with your addiction. Let this blog be a simple encouragement that there are those who have been able to break free – and so can you.

If have been freed from addiction and are walking free – don’t let your story be anonymous. Let God revive, refresh, renew, and purify your heart of all fear and shame. And then let your story be told, so others know they can be free. God will shine brightly through your most broken places.