Knowing True Freedom
To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 NIV
“I have gone 32 days without doing cocaine. I came here seeking spiritual support.” These words were shared at Sandwiches and Scriptures last Tuesday by Michael, who came for the first time after seeing our CCDC flier at Horizon House. He shared his story in response to my asking our group for their prayer requests.
Those who come to Sandwiches and Scriptures deal with all kinds of struggles, including addiction. Michael told us how he had been addicted for many years and it had destroyed his marriage, his job, and self-respect. He had reached bottom and had sought to free himself from cocaine.
Addiction is slavery. It is not only a physical entrapment; it’s psychological, emotional, and spiritual imprisonment of the soul. It offers freedom from all pain and sorrow but delivers bondage and despair. Michael was desperately working to free himself from the physical addiction of cocaine, and he had succeeded for an amazing 32 days, mainly by staying away from those who did drugs. But he knew his efforts were not enough to keep him free.
Addiction is a powerful enslavement of the human soul. It takes more than human willpower to get free. It takes a “Higher Power” to set us free. Jesus shocked and angered the religious leaders with his declaration that he could set them free. They saw themselves as nobody’s slave. How could Jesus tell them he could set them free? Why did he think they needed emancipation?
We may not be slaves. We may not be addicted to drugs. We may consider ourselves free and able to do whatever we please. Yet, we as those religious leaders did, are fooling ourselves. We are not free until the Son sets us free. We are slaves one way or another to the things of this world and what it offers as true pleasures. We are chained to our selfish ways of living and seeking our lives in the material offerings that we become addicted to.
Jesus presented a challenge to those who came to listen to his wonderful teaching. They would not be free until they truly came to the truth of who he is, and turned over their lives to him as his disciples. It is not enough to say you’re a Christian and believe in Jesus’ teachings. Jesus’ Truth must penetrate deeply into our souls. Our souls are not set free until we give our lives to Jesus (the Way, the Truth and the Life) and commit to him our Lord.
I told Michael about the addiction program at the Salvation Army Adult Recovery Center on E. Washington Street. I serve on the Salvation Army Advisory Board and know how their program to help addicts is one of the best in the country. The program brings the hope of recovery through the power of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and studying his Word. Michael was excited to learn about this and when we finished our prayer time, he headed for the Adult Recovery Center. Debby and I are praying that Michael is in this program and on his way to true freedom.
Become a supporter of CCDC so that we can help others like Michael to find the freedom we can have in Jesus.
May God’s Peace be with you,
Pastor Jim and Debby Riley