When you see broken beyond repair, I see mended by Matthew West
There is hope for the hopeless in Christ Jesus.
He came to set us free!!!!
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink. Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12
Abstain from all appearance of evil. I Thessalonians 5:22
Jesus first miracle involved wine. Wine in the Greek comes from several different words, whose definitions range from “new wine” which is sweet to a vinegar which is sour or bitter. All have the potential to be intoxicating if used in excess. In Scripture, wine is both a blessing and a curse depending on its use. It is used figuratively of wrath as well. Jesus, who grew up in Nazareth, a grape producing area, is familiar with grapes: their uses, wine’s dangers and its pleasures. So, we see Jesus had the opportunity to be “tempted” with wine in excess. Yes, Jesus drank wine. He produced the sweetest wine at the marriage of Cana (John 2:1-11) at the end of the wedding celebration. Was He part of the problem of intoxication at the wedding? No. Man is given a free will, the ability and freedom to choose. He simply did as His mother asked and when He created something and blessed it, “It was good.” (Genesis 1) Jesus at some point in His life, in all likelihood, even stomped grapes: A living example of the wrath of God against evil. (Revelation 14:19-20)
Anything done in excess is dangerous. Addictions come in many shapes and disguises: smoking nicotine or marijuana, shopping and hoarding, drinking socially or in the closet, social media, gambling either online or at the casino, viewing pornography on a computer or at the newsstand, eating (gluttony or bingeing, or anorexia), using drugs not for health but to “feel good”–prescription or illicit, chocolate, caffeine, sugar (yes they are drugs!). All these and others are forms of bondage and used to escape the life that seems too hard or is just boring. Any addiction becomes the focus of the one bound. Every thought is toward the “next fix.” It has the “it is five o’clock somewhere” mentality. Wealth is lost, families are destroyed, health is damaged, and self respect evaporates and the lie from the pit of hell is heard loud and clear: “You are unworthy.” An empty place in the heart is desperately trying to be filled. It is a spot only Christ can fill with His Holy Spirit. This is why the apostle Paul wrote to be “filled with the Spirit.”
The message of the cross is Jesus finds us worthy: He died for you! This is how worthy you are. Satan screams, “You gotta get clean to get Jesus!” Jesus whispers gently, “I came just for you and I paid your debt! All is forgiven. All is behind you. You can have a new beginning. I love you just as you are!”
Jesus saw the destruction caused by the enemy and came to STOP IT! He saw lives destroyed in His day and He sees ours. We each have an addiction of some kind. It affects us ALL! Depressed so you watch twelve hours of television or are incessantly glued to social media to feel connected. You are overdrawn but go shopping with the credit card. Love food and so you eat and slowly “kill yourself, one bite at a time.” Suffer from anxiety so you numb with meds and when the doctor will no longer prescribe you find “creative” ways to get your hands on them even if it means you lose your license to practice in the field of medicine or lose your job from a failed drug test. Hide chocolate under the bed instead of the cabinet so you don’t have to share.
LIFE IS VERY HARD! Life does not feel abundant. Sometimes it is just plain boring and we try to inject some “fun” into our mundane. John 10:10 reminds us of Jesus words: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Jesus growing up in a community known for its winery understands the temptation to use anything that brings even a moment of pleasure to block some of the pain or sameness of this fallen world. It is why He relentlessly marched toward Calvary. He came to deliver to us from our bondage and to give us our inheritance to be used in the here and now!
He came to set the captives free! (Luke 4:18. Isaiah 61:1) Would you today, not see your addiction as anything but a path to the feet of the Lord. He will set you free! (John 8:36)
My Dad, was a heavy drinker, smoker, loved to play poker, cribbage, and swore like the sailor he was. When I was eight years old, he was asked to teach a Sunday school class of teen boys at our church. See, he was a good man and took us to church. Well, on Saturday night he decided if he was going to teach a class of young boys he maybe should at least read the lesson. He fixed a shot of whiskey, got his cigarettes and sat down with his Bible and was convicted by the paradox sitting on the table in front of him. He was anything but a hypocrite and having been a young teen without a family he understood the impact even strangers can have on your life. He was faced with a decision. In that moment, he gave His life to the Christ he had always known about but never served. That night, my stoic father of German/Swedish descent, surrendered his life to Jesus and life was never the same in our house! My daddy stopped drinking, smoking, gambling, and swearing on this night and never again was in bondage to anything or anyone except his LORD! He became a new creature in Christ. (II Corinthians 5:17) He shared his testimony not even twelve hours old the next morning but the way we found out was there were no ashtrays to empty, no shot glasses to wash, no profanity heard, and instead of going to the club on Saturday night, he took us every Sunday afternoon for an ice cream sundae at the Dairy Queen. When asked about the change in behavior he shared this story. His body became the Temple of the Lord’s Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19-20) My Dad’s kindness and humility only intensified. He had a tender spot in his heart for orphans having been one himself. His love for the Lord was obvious to all and he was loved by all who knew him. Jesus broke the chains of all that bound him in one fell swoop. Ten years later, Daddy would meet Jesus face to face. I can still see him, in my mind’s eye, standing and praying in our church and listening as we sang The Old Rugged Cross, his favorite hymn.
The Old Rugged Cross
If someone you love is bound by addiction, do not give up! Pray. God is not finished writing their story. He will write our stories for eternity. Heaven will be full of surprises. Remember, He looks at the heart. No sin is bigger or worse than another. Trust He knows best and He has your loved one in the palm of His mighty hand and nothing can snatch them out if they have trusted Christ as Savior. (John 10:28-30) The only criteria for heaven is this: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13) For the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38) This is why Jesus went to the old rugged cross. It sets all us bound people free! If you have lost a loved one to addiction but you know they had trusted Christ as Savior let the words of the prophet Isaiah 57:1-3 comfort your soul. The only requirement for righteousness is trust in Jesus! (John 14:6; Philippians 3:9; I Corinthians 1:30) Nothing can snatch them from His loving hands! (John 10:28-30)
Broken Things, by Matthew West
Treading until Jesus comes,