Addicere has serious problems. She is obsessed with pornography and she dares not take even a sip of alcohol or she will soon be drunk. This young woman is amazingly talented and comes from a home with loving parents who raised her with strong moral values. Yet despite their good example, their daughter is on a road that will end in tragedy if she does not come to a crucial spiritual understanding.
Like most well-intentioned people, Addicere never set out to be an addict. She just wanted to have fun with her friends. But while most of them knew when to stop, her strong compulsive nature consistently took her beyond the lines of prudence. Twice she nearly died as a result of drinking and driving. Even worse, because she is compulsive, she truly does not understand that by her own strength she cannot fix her problems. She knows the number of her sober days and remains accountable with a group of fellow counters. Yet she remains aloof from God whom she feels let her down. She’s not even sure He exists which further undermines her soul.
Romans 8:12,13—So then, brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Addicere may be the extreme, but that should not make us smug. I can’t tell you how many times I have set goals to eliminate bad habits or unhealthy thinking patterns, only to fail. Here’s a true statement. I cannot put to death the deeds of my flesh by myself. I need help. Sure, I can improve my behavior and even my attitude. But my heart is another matter—even in the midst of worship improper thoughts spring up no matter how hard I try to suppress them. So what am I to do?
Fortunately there is a God, and He did make me. He understands my challenges just as He does the challenges every other person on the planet faces. Consider for a moment, that even in the presence of Jesus—the perfect accountability partner, His followers could not keep themselves from saying or doing the wrong things (see Matthew 26:75, Mark 9:34). For this reason, Jesus promised to send to them the Holy Spirit who would guide them into truth (John 16:7,13). This is why Paul in the passage above notes that it is by the Spirit that we are able to put to death our flesh and its impure desires.
Addicere will never succeed in overcoming her desires without the help of the Holy Spirit. Neither will I. Neither will you. The key to a rebuilt character, successful behavior, and a wholesome thought life is contingent upon our reliance on the Spirit. How do we do this? We succeed: byrecognizing our own inadequacy; byasking for His help; and, byobeying through action what he prompts our conscience and mind to do. How we apply that little word “by” defines you and me.
If you want to live, trust in the right Agent. If you want to fail, try working out everything on your own or on the backs of other people. Addicere needs the Holy Spirit if she wants successful living. So do we, by the Spirit. So do we, for God’s glory.
©2014Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)