I’m battered by addictive tendencies. The waves of assault have been merciless, forceful and relentless of late. I’m like a ship caught in a deadly storm. Wailing, hurricane-force winds isolate me from the human sounds of encouragement I might otherwise hear. The only comfort I hear comes from within: Above the angry noise of my enemy’s assault, I can hear the loving whisper of God reminding me I am not alone.
I didn’t recognize my addictions as the enemy’s spiritual artillery until recently. By not trusting God to navigate my worldly challenges, I didn’t realize the battlefield I was on. By relying solely on worldly strategies to defend against my addictions, I unwittingly sailed into a spiritual storm with an inexperienced captain –the equivalent of no captain at all.
Sailing folklore says that below the 40th latitude south, there is no law; below the 50th latitude south there is no God. Addictions can feel like that.
Addictions reflect more of Satan’s power on earth than they reflect the presence of God. Addictions are often put into play as part of an unending spiritual assault against God and His children. But that doesn’t mean God isn’t with us.
I don’t mean to trivialize the physical nature of addictions. But they attack my body. It is not the towering seas of physical affliction that have the power to crush me spiritually; it’s the spiritual arena in which they play out.
Worldly solutions alone are not enough when we are engaged in spiritual battles of any kind. Spiritual battles, including those involving physical addictions, need a spiritual protector far greater than men and women can offer. We need God and the protective armor that only God can provide.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all the strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world. So use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy whenever he attacks, and when it is all over, you will still be standing up.” (Ephesians 6:10-13)
Paul continued, “But to do this, you will need the strong belt of truth and the breastplate of God’s approval.” (Ephesians 6:14) “In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. And you will need the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit – which is the Word of God. Pray all the time. Ask God for anything in line with the Holy Spirit’s wishes. Plead with him, reminding him of your needs, and keep praying earnestly for all Christians everywhere.” (Ephesians 6 16-18)
I read somewhere that “God’s enemy can attack our desires, thoughts, and even how we see and treat our bodies.” But Paul reassured us that we have within us the power to overcome:“But remember this – the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can be up patiently against it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
As in life, a spiritual ship can only have one captain. With God at my helm, I have faith that I will weather this storm.
Photo: “From the Bridge Below the 50th Latitude South,” By Jazzdat