Addiction is devastating! It affects the addicted person in body, mind and spirit. After receiving treatment for an addiction, the work for the addicted person is only beginning. The addicted person has to find a way to heal from all the pain and anguish that the addiction caused. The addicted person has to find a way to get off the dangerous and ultimate deadly path of relapse and continue on their path to total freedom.
You may have already experienced how a tempting thought to “use” can progress into full-blown relapse. In our earlier post about relapse (to read click here), we discussed the road to relapse. One of the most critical steps is to stop the thought to use. Once again, you are not responsible for the actual thought but you are responsible for what you do with those thoughts. God can help you to change your thoughts. There is a scripture that says “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
What? I can immediately change what I’m thinking about? Yes! The beauty of the Word of God is that it is living. It has the power to speak to our present situation and circumstance and helps us in times of temptation and crisis. Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about dealing with tempting thoughts.
How do I stop the thoughts to use after they have entered my mind?
The Bible tells us to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6). What does that mean? You are fighting a daily battle. Thoughts to use can enter our minds on a consistent basis. What can you do to arm yourself against these attacks? How can you fight off these attacks? God has provided a way. It is found in the Word of God – the Bible – and it is there that we can “armor up”, so to speak.You can read about what each piece or armor means but right now we are going to specifically focus on the helmet of salvation. The helmet of salvation is the fifth part of the armor of God.
What does it mean for us today?
- How do we put it on?
- How does it protect us?
Salvation means being saved—receiving deliverance. Salvation and eternal life are gifts God greatly desires to give to mankind: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4). For more information on salvation click here
What does a helmet have to do with salvation? A helmet protects a soldier against damaging and deadly blows to the head. Spiritually speaking, the helmet of salvation provides hope and protects the mind against anything that would disorient or destroy the Christian, such as discouragement or deceit.
“A helmet protects a soldier against damaging and deadly blows to the head.”
The armor of God is indispensable and leaving off any piece of the armor would have been dangerous, but to go without the helmet would have been unthinkable. We can no more afford to be without the helmet of salvation today.
How does this apply to an addict? God does not promise that we will never be tempted, but that when we are, He will provide a way of escape. However, there are things that we can do to avoid unnecessary temptation. Many times temptation can be completely avoided by following these simple tips.
In Matthew 6, Jesus taught his disciples to ask God to lead them away from temptation (Matthew 6:13). A daily relationship with God in prayer is a first step to avoiding temptation.
Use the Word of God
There are many good verses that will help you overcome certain temptations. Memorizing Bible verses targeted to combat your areas of temptation will be a protection and defense. You need to work on memorizing a list of Bible verses that will help you avoid temptation. You cannot rely on finding a Bible at the moment of temptation. These verses have to become second nature to you.Spend time in God’s word daily. Make it a habit.
“Spend time in God’s word daily. Make it a habit.”
Understand Your Personal Temptation and Weaknesses
Not everyone is tempted in the same way. What is a struggle for one person may not be the least bit tempting to another person. For example, one person may be tempted with smoking. For the next guy, smoking has never had a foothold on the person and therefore is not at all tempting. James 1:14 says that we are drawn away with our own lusts. This indicates that each person has their own weak areas to deal with. You need to understand your own weakness so that you will know how to combat and avoid it.
“…each person has their own weak areas to deal with.”
God has promised to make a way to escape temptation. If you will look for the escape route then you can flee the temptation. Many times this way of escape is to literally walk (or run) away. Temptation often comes when you find yourself in certain situations or places. When you recognize one of those situations it is time to pack up your stuff and get out of there. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 10:14; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22)
Create an Accountability Network
As Christians we have direct access to God. There is no place in the Bible where we are taught that we must confess our sins to others to have forgiveness from God. However, the Bible does teach that creating accountability with someone else can help you in your struggle against temptation (James 5:16).
You do not need to go into detail with your accountability partner about about your struggles, but they do need to know how to pray for you.
Find someone who is a positive influence.
Tell them that you are struggling in a certain area. Look through the Bible together finding verses that will be a help to you.
Have your friend ask you occasionally how you are doing in this area. Ask them check in with you as often as you feel would be helpful to you to stay on track
Make a promise to your friend that you will not lie to them when asked about how you are doing. You only hurt yourself when you lie to the other person.
Ask your friend to pray for you—not stand in judgment.
Don’t be Discouraged
Let’s say you do relapse, you should not become complacent about your relapse. But you should also not allow it to defeat you. Don’t accept your relapse as if it doesn’t matter. Realize you do have a choice in your future actions.
“you have a choice in your future actions”
Confess and Repent
When you fall to temptation, go to God and confess. He already knows about your sin. You are not telling Him anything that is a surprise. But for your own sake you should humble yourself before God and confess your sin.
Hopefully this provides you with helpful information on how to prevent a tempting thought from progressing into full-blown relapse and how to get back on track if you do go down that road. At Life Transformation Recovery, we offer faith-based, clinically-proven addiction treatment to help you step away from drugs and find the path to sobriety. We believe that coupling experienced counselors with your own spiritual growth strengthens you and helps ensure a longer, more stable recovery from substance abuse. Call or contact us today at (844) 582-FREEDOM for more information.