Addiction is defined as “a persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful or destructive.” It is something that you go back to again & again to fill avoid in your life or to numb the pain of your life–something to help you temporarily escape the pain and consequences of your life’s choices.
Richie Kotzen is a musician that I have long respected because of his ability as a guitar player, but he is also a very capable vocalist and songwriter. He is also very transparent about his struggles with drug addiction. The following is the chorus to his song entitled Doin’ What the Devil Says to Do:
So I’m trying to talk to an angel
But I feel like I’m talking to myself
No matter how hard I try to live
Or how much I believe in you, I’ll keep doing what the devil says to do
I’ll keep doing what the devil says to do
(“Doin’ What the Devil Says to Do” by Richie Kotzen)
This song deals with addictions of many kinds: the trappings of success, the snare of drugs, listening to others’ advice to a fault, rather than doing what you know is right. All of these things lead the writer to respond in the chorus to look beyond himself for the help he needs. I don’t know whether he is crying out to an angel or if he is actually crying out to God for help. (Maybe an angel sounds “cooler.” Maybe talking to God is a little too spooky or religious for some of his listeners).
Regardless, he is calling out for help, but it doesn’t seem to do any good. He ultimately feels like he’s talking to himself because: “No matter how hard I try to live, Or how much I believe in you, I keep doing what the devil says to do.”
Do you ever feel this way? You realize that you are trapped in behavior (I call it sin) that you can’t get out of, and you cry out for help but nothing changes. You want to quit, right? Everything is hopeless and dark, right? Why even try?
Let me point you to a passage of Scripture that gives TREMENDOUS hope for those trapped by their bad choices. It is found in Luke 18:1-8.
1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.'”
6 Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. 7 And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? 8 I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
The passage starts out by stating that Jesus told his hearers a parable about praying and never giving up (always praying and not losing heart). The point of the entire story was to tell his people “don’t quit!”
Jesus sets up THE worst case scenario by using an “unjust” judge who neither feared God nor man. This judge’s verdicts were inscrutable and he was hard headed. Can you imagine crying out to this man for help? Most would lose heart after a few tries and then shrink back in defeat to their adversary.
Yet, there was this widow, a woman in great need (I imagine) who comes to this judge for help against her adversary. The judge tells her “no, no, no, no, no,” but after a while, because this woman bothers him so much (verse 5), he says: “Though I do not fear God nor regard man, since she is troubling me, I will vindicate her to get her off my back!” In the original Greek language (which the New Testament was written in), the phrase “because this widow troubles me” literally means, “because this widow is beating me black & blue.” Her incessant requests were beating down this unjust judge’s resolve.
Then, continuing the parable, Jesus says: “Hear what the unjust judge says.” He says in essence, “Listen guys, this was a stubborn, self-centered, conceited, brash man. If HE can be moved by much calling, what about God, your heavenly father, who cares for you? Will He not answer your prayers? He is not a jerk. He is not uncaring. He will vindicate (support, defend) His children who cry out to him “day and night” even though He may delay His answers. In God’s timing, His deliverance will come very quickly (verse 7).”
My point in this blog is this: God, the Creator of heaven and earth, who created you and knows you intimately is sovereign over all the earth. He is not surprised by your sin. He sees it. He is not unaware of any adversary in your life. Yet, at the same time, because God has sovereign plans that only He knows (Romans 11:33-36), He knows the best time to deliver. He knows the best time to answer. He knows the best time to save.
God implants it into the hearts of people to pray to Him (Ezekiel 36:35-37). He does this partly for the individual’s testimony so that they will see that God is FAITHFUL to answer prayer and to deliver.
Yet, my point is to show you that no matter how dark your situation, God is able and willing to answer your prayers. Do not stop praying to Him. He will answer in His time.
(If you want to hear the entire song “Doin’ What the Devils Says to Do” you can listen to it here:http://youtu.be/JCFIMzW3n9o)