Preventing The Dreaded Relapse

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews 4:12-13 NLT

“It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels.  We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe.  We are not cured of alcoholism.  What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.  Every day is a day when we must carry the vision of God’s will into all or our activities.”  Alcoholics Anonymous Blue Book, page 85.

The dreaded relapse...every addict's fear.  But is it?  There are times when we skirt on the edge of danger, when our minds betray us and our motives for a particular action are not pure.  Oftentimes we are aware of the betrayal that is happening, but we rationalize it away because we can feel sin's "wonderful" enticement beckoning. Extending past substance abuse to habits that we are trying to “kick” (pornography, hurtful words, over-eating, compulsive shopping, social media scrolling, dishonesty…), there are times when we stare too long; choose to walk in the direction of THAT pretty woman or THAT handsome man; visit THAT location at THAT time; click on THAT link; drive along THAT route; entertain THAT thought too long....the list goes on...we choose to do those things that we know we really shouldn't. But we are actively trying to change right?  What's the harm?

Relapsing to destructive habits is progressive.  It doesn't happen suddenly.  It creeps along without our knowledge.  We march along a path that seems innocuous enough, but then after various points of compromise we land ourselves in a pit.  What can save us from this threat?  The passage above is clear about that.  God’s word!  Yes, when we are tempted, we need to call our accountability partners and be transparent with our support groups; being accountable to others helps.  But the more permanent fix comes from allowing God’s word to cast its bright light on the motives of our hearts.  For us not to relapse, we need to do this daily and make prompt amends when necessary.  There is no plan B! 

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