Religious Vs. Real
I want to talk a little bit about the difference between being religious in your recovery from addiction, and being
real. Some people think that when you become a Christian that you are instantly problem-free and that there is no more work
that needs to be done to heal us and change us, and that simply just isn't true. Before we get saved, we go through a lot
of things in life that leave us very damaged and believing lies that the Holy Spirit will need to help us to work through
before we can stop making idols out of everything that has any pleasure in it. Some people can get very spiritually prideful
though if they have not had to work through their old pain and if they have not been utterly beaten by their addiction problem.
They judge others as being weak and lacking in faith if they have an addiction problem. God knows that we are all damaged
goods when He gets us and that we all need His healing and help to live truly free from addiction. God wants us real and honest
when we face our old pain and lies. Getting fake, judgmental, and self-righteous just keeps us in denial and on the road to
a future relapse. It takes true humility to face the reality of what dwells inside us and it is critical to face what is really
there to receive God's help. Humility is just accepting God's truth about things. Here is a little story that illustrates
the difference between being religious, and being real with God:
LK 18:9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus
told this parable: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee
stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even
like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'
LK 18:13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat
his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'
LK 18:14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone
who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
I used to work at a very large recovery ranch where we had all different kinds of people that came
there to recover from addiction. I would sit and counsel some of these different people and I noticed this one guy that came
there who was a Christian and he was always preaching at everyone and boasting about his miraculous freedom from addiction
and that he didn't need any further healing or help to recover. That man ended up relapsing over and over again after he left,
you know why? Because he was not humble and real with God in his recovery, and he lived in denial over the pain and lies that
still lived inside his heart that God wanted and needed to heal in order to help him to get truly free from the inside out.
I want to encourage you today to remain honest and humble with God about your recovery, and to stay out of the religious denial
trap. If someone cannot face their addiction problem and they just want to preach to everyone else about theirs, then that
is someone that you want to avoid because they are living in denial over their need for God's daily ongoing healing and grace.
Just remember, as long as you stay honest, open, and humble about your addiction problem and need for God's help, you will
continue to grow and heal day by day, and you will be free for good because God helps the humble, but resists the proud. Real
and humble is good, religious and fake is not. Stay real.
JAS 4:6 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
JAS 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near
to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Grieve, mourn
and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you