Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Holy Spirit in Christian Recovery

The Holy Spirit is your personal guide in your Christian walk and in your addictions recovery process. In John 14:16, Jesus tells the disciples He will be leaving (meaning crucified) but someone better will take His place. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” (NIV)

That counselor is the Holy Spirit that lives in you from the point of salvation. Counseling from the Holy Spirit is divine. It’s also free and available twenty-four hours a day. The Holy Spirit overpowers evil and is your source of strength, wisdom, and inspiration. When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you will resist the temptation to abuse drugs and/or alcohol and enjoy complete freedom.

The problem Christians have is that the Holy Spirit doesn’t possess us. He won’t just spring up and take over our lives. We wish He would. It would make everything so much easier, and much better. Instead, the Holy Spirit lives in us, but waits for us to empower Him through surrender and the process of emptying ourselves.

When we’re under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we’re pleasant to be around. As Galatians 5:22,23 explains: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

The Bible also describes the Holy Spirit as the abiding guest (John 14:16), Spirit of truth (John 14:17), teacher (John 14:26), testifier (John 15:26), guide, voice of God, the Prophet (John 16:13), Glorifier of Jesus (John 16:14), witness to sonship (Romans 8:16), helper in prayer (Romans 8:26), and power to witness (Acts 1:8).

In Romans 8, Paul paints a beautiful picture of who we are with God. He confirms that we are not condemned, but rather protected by the power of the Holy Spirit to face adversities through His redeeming love.

Romans 8:26 says that even when we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit does and intercedes on our behalf. Obviously, the Holy Spirit knows us better than we know ourselves. Therefore, the Holy Spirit will lead you to your real Christian image, and He will help you change how you think, act, and even how you feel. When the Holy Spirit protects and feeds your soul, you won’t be so free to feed your addiction.

If you need to get set free from addictions, visit www.thesolidrockroad.com. You can also visit us on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Note from the Director of the Solid Rock Road

After nine years in the Christian recovery ministry, I’ve made some observations about the addicts and their families. Here’s a brief summary:

The addicts
As a former addict who was delivered by the power of God, I wonder a lot about why Christians continue to struggle with addictions. Years ago, Pastor Steve Schmelzer asked this question during one of his sermons: “Do you want to know who makes it out of addictions and who doesn’t?” Of course I wanted to know, as did the rest of the congregation. He answered it so simply. “The givers make it, the takers don’t.”

That has stuck with me, and it has proven to be true. The goal of all Christians is to live an unselfish, service-filled life. That’s why the 10th Principal of The Solid Rock Road is “Serve God and others.” If you’re all about yourself, you can’t be all about God. Therefore, freedom from addictions comes when Christians put a stop to their lusts and start to put the needs of others in front of their own.

The families of the Addicts
Denial runs rampant in addicts, but it is also prevalent with their Christian families. In faith, they pray and believe that their loved ones will win the spiritual battle and get set free. Faith is necessary, and as the director of The Solid Rock Road, I count on it a lot. However, there comes a time when the loved ones are working harder on sobriety than the addicts. At this point, they become codependent and can often get in the way of what God is trying to do.

We have a heart for the families of addicts, but we are often in a position of counseling them to do the hard thing, which is to take their loved one to the cross and leave them there. This is grueling because it often means families have to step aside and watch as their loved ones hit bottom.

But isn’t that what happened in the story of the Prodigal Son? The father let the son make his choices. He didn't chase the son down, nor did he devise 101 ways to keep his son from blowing it. Most importantly, the father didn't bring groceries to the pig pen so that his son could eat. Instead, the father lived his life and waited for the son to come back to his senses, and then back home. Of course, there was a feast waiting for the humbled and repentant son.

The Bottom Line
God is in the deliverance, healing, restoring business, but God won’t supersede the will of man. Christians in addiction have rejected the ways of God in favor of their own lusts. The Solid Rock Road team can’t change a person’s mind, but we offer the truth in love and the principles necessary to win the spiritual battle.

If you or your loved one has been taken captive by addictions or you have found yourself in the midst of codependent behaviors, we offer guidance and help with our ministry and book. Visit www.thesolidrockroad.com, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. You can also call me (Jerry Pineda, Sr.) directly at 541-778-8680.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Problem with Christians in Addiction

There’s not really one problem with Christians in addiction, but there’s one that stands out above the rest, which is separation from God. Ask anyone dealing with substance abuse issues and they will tell you that they no longer have a close relationship with God.

We hear stories about how in the midst of a person’s addiction they saw God, or God spoke to them. We acknowledge the reality of these kinds of spiritual experiences, but believe they are rare and meant to remind certain backsliders who they are in Christ. But on the whole, the sin of addiction causes a major separation.

Some addicts ask our ministry leaders, “Where is God?” Our answer is that God is still around, but he’s waiting for you to come to your senses – like in the story of the Prodigal son. And like the father in that story, God doesn’t chase after the addict. He waits and allows the consequences of choices to bring people to their bottom. It’s in their weakest moments that addicts and others allow God’s strength and enabling grace to rescue them.

Christians in addiction can’t be rescued unless they want to be. This is the troubling news for family members who work so hard to help their loved one get set free from drugs and alcohol. Often times, they work harder on sobriety than the addict. And the results are discouragement, frustration and many questions for God. Oftentimes, the loved ones of addicts find themselves separated from God because He hasn’t worked on their behalf.

The problem with Christians in addiction is that they have been taken captive and need to be set free once and for all so that they can connect with their source of life and energy, which is God.

The Solid Rock Road Christian recovery program in Medford, Oregon, works with Christians in addiction who have made the decision to get right with God. The program also works with family members to help them with issues of co-dependency, which is also sin. You can call The Solid Rock Road at 541-778-8680 for more information, or visit www.TheSolidRockRoad.com. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

In addition, there’s a recovery book available titled “Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery.” It’s available on the website, on Amazon.com.