Remember in the Westerns back in the day and a cowboy would be going along and find himself trapped in quicksand? The desert of the wild west was just treacherous it seems. Saw my share of TV cowboys get sucked under never to return. That’s the thing about recovery. It’s treacherous at times. Potential for relapse is ever present. You’ll be going along just fine and out of no where you find yourself getting sucked back in to destructive behavior.
I don’t think there’s a way to avoid the “quicksand” but there’s no reason we have to get sucked under and lose ourselves in the old ways. I’ve been there and discovered there are some real culprits that undermine my recovery process. So, here are 5 biblical ways to avoid the quicksand of relapse based on
I Corinthians 16:13-14…” Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 14 Do everything in love.” (NIV)
- “Be on your guard…”: There’s defense and offense. The offense is the most powerful if you ask me. Don’t just build up your defenses (accountability software, filters etc.) make sure you’re “doing” some things that build on the good work you’ve already done. That may mean a tough conversation with someone you’ve avoided. It may mean real engagement in the restoration of your marriage. Whatever it is, often the fight isn’t just defensive resisting or avoiding the bad it’s also the offensive doing of the good and healthy things that keep us sober.
- “Stand firm in the faith…”: Another word for FAITH is TRUST.
Never waiver in your belief in the objective truth of the gospel. You are loved, forgiven, and free.
There is MERCY, and grace for the present, future, and the past. You’re right with God based on the goodness of Jesus not your own. Your “goodness” is filthy rags. Find PEACE in that reality and don’t lay down when you stumble, get back up and “STAND”, as the verse says.
- “Be men of courage…”: Men and women have to demonstrate tremendous courage. The courage to be vulnerable and open about where you really are. The courage to speak up to a trusted friend when you’ve gotten sucked back in to the point where you’re fearful that you might act out again. Courageous enough to admit that your wound still oozes and you’ve only been putting bandaids on a gaping hole.
- “Be strong…”: Soul strength is acquired through “soul” exercise. The spiritual disciplines matter. They strengthen you from the inside out. It’s the work of the Spirit. Remember Paul’s words, “live by the Spirit and you won’t gratify the lusts of the flesh.” Getting “strong” demands a pursuit of intimacy with Jesus daily. It demands prayer, Sabbath, meditation, fasting, sacrifice, even solitude.
- “Do everything in love.”:
. A treasured gift of the Spirit is, “love” and it’s what motivates us. If we truly love we’ll do whatever it takes to escape the strong pull toward relapse not only for our good but for the good of those we love. True love is other-centered rather than self-centered it has as it’s highest priority the good of the beloved. To do “everything” in love is to always act in my own self-interest but in the interest of others.