Biblical TeachingThis section will offer you some Biblcal teaching in the context of recovery and the approach you are following.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit,
and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh.
They are in conflict with each other,
so that you are not to do whatever you want.
It is so important that we understand the principles found in the Bible. To fully understand and work with these principles we must first tackle the issue of metaphor in the Bible. I say this not because metaphor is a bad thing, or because people do not understand it. Rather I say it because of one particular problem I see a lot in Church teaching. This is the way we understand the metaphor of fighting.
When you heard preaching on the parable of the sower I’m sure none of you thought of yourselves as soil! When Jesus says he is the way, he is not saying he is made of tarmacadam! You naturally understood that these were metaphors. But there is something about the idea of fighting a battle that encourages people to forget that this is a metaphor just like the rest! I think it’s because the medical model has us so busy believing that we need to get rid of ‘wrong things’ in our lives. This medical idea resonates so well with scriptures about battles that we mistake the metaphor for the real thing.
In Galatians 5, verse 17 quoted above, the more modern the version of the Bible you read, the more the language of fighting is used. Where the older versions use a more measured approach, saying that the spirit and the flesh are ‘contrary’ to one another. Modern versions tend to be more material saying that “there is a constant battle raging between them”. This is important when considering your thoughts on this approach because modern Churches tend to teach from more ‘modern’ Bible translations.
The point here is that as long as you are fighting this battle you are a ‘house divided against itself’ (Matt12:22) and you miss the growth and learning you need to make progress. More on this later along with other problems that fighting with yourself can bring but, for now, I’m asking you to consider the idea that scripture does not ask us to fight with ourselves, but to understand that there are parts of us in opposition.
There was a battle in heaven and Satan and his followers were ejected. There was a battle for your soul and Jesus won that one for you. So I want to encourage you that the battle is the Lords (2 Chron 20:15). I could go on. But let me move away from persuading you against this idea and move towards the example we will be using almost exclusively. In this book the main example you will be following will be the way Jesus managed and taught the Disciples.
Did Jesus fight with the disciples? No! Was what Jesus taught in opposition to the way the disciples were living? YES! One possible reason why the Lord came down to earth at the time when Israel was occupied by the Romans was to show us that fighting was not the way. Even when they wanted and expected that their King would stand up against the Romans and defeat them, he did not. He told the disciples to pray for their enemies!
Even though he had a much better understanding of their sinfulness than they did, he did not fight with them but loved them and taught them. Slowly but surely creating harmony between them. Helping them trust him as their Lord and Saviour. You have begun to do the same thing within yourself and now it’s time to use this improved relationship to face the challenges of the outside world.
Whatever substance or behaviour you have become dependent upon your recovery will be based upon your growth and progress as a person. Psalm 40 reminds us that the Lord will lift us out of the mire and put a new song in our mouth. He will set our feet upon a rock and will give us a firm place to stand.
Mission & Purpose
How long have you been fighting with your issues? No matter what those issues are, you will probably have been told many times to fight them! You may have been told that you are not fighting the right way, or that you are not trying hard enough to overcome. Or, even worse, you may have been told that you do not have enough faith. This may have led to you being angry, dissapointed or ashamed with yourself.
Since my own recovery journey started in 1984 I have been learning about what works and what doesn’t. I want you to know that the days of you fighting and blaming yourself are numbered! Using this approach you will learn to be a good friend to yourself. You will learn what it means to fully accept that the Lord is living within you and is truly the ‘God of Gods’.
If you are an individual that has struggled with issues for years then this approach will offer you a biblically based model in which you will learn the art of ‘inner discipling’. If you are a Chuch or Christian leader that has been called to shepherd a flock then your recovery will become part of your testimony. If you are a Church or Charity that engages with addicts and dependent people, this approach will provide you with all the tools you need to present those you serve with a coherent path forwards.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the medical model?
Essentially the medical model is best understood as a way of defining and understanding ourselves and our state. Let’s use the example most of us will know, which is when we visit the Doctor. What is the question we expect? That’s right, we expect the question “what is wrong with you”? Or “what seems to be the trouble”? This way of looking at ourselves as something that needs fixing is very powerful and influential.
What does the Bible say about addiction?
The Bibe has a lot to say about dependence including the ideas in Proverbs 20 verses 1 to 4 which says that wine is a mocker and strong drink is a brawler, whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Paul also adds that we should not become dependent in Galations 5 verse 21 and 1 Timothy 3 vers 3.
However the real story is in Luke 15 where the idea of addiction and the trap of pure self centredness is laid out in the parable of the prodigal son.
Why do I keep doing what I don’t want to do?
Once we understand the influence of the medical model and how the Bible offers us a much more accurate way of understanding ourselves we will see exactly why we keep doing the things we do not want to do! This is made most clear in Romans 7 and verse 20 where Pau says in black and white that when he does something that he does not want to do it is not him that does it.
What is reverse addiction?
The best way of understanding reverse addiction is to think of the addict looking into a mirror. The reflection is like a reversed addict, with everything on the opposite side. The addict is overly concerned with their self, the reverse addict is overly concerned with others. This mirroring is most sharply seen in the relationships we choose. Addicts and reverse addicts tend to find each other and stick together. Ideally they will also recover together.
How can I overcome my dependence?
The main message is to encourage you to stop fighting! Realising that the instruction to fight in the Bible is a metaphor is a huge step forward.
Once you understand the true nature of sin and why you have a ‘sinful nature’ living in you then you can start the process of inner discipling that Jesus taught us. Like Paul you will then be able to be effective in preparing yourself for service, not beating the air blindly as in 1 Corinthians 9:26.
How can I help and support this Ministry?
If you want to be part of this ministry it will generally be in these ways. You can start a ‘building recovery’ group for which you will need training. Or you might want individual help and support which you can receive from us. There is also the option of hosting live events or asking Dave to speak at your conference. Email us for more information.