Across the globe, people everywhere are addicted to substances, behaviors and patterns that help to keep them from addressing the real issues within their lives. Some choose alcohol while others choose cocaine. Some have become addicted to pain relievers while others are hooked on tobacco. Although not so obvious, overeating is the drug of choice for another group while habitual procrastination keeps many others intoxicated and unable to live a proactive life. From harbouring anger to being co-dependent we all have patterns and habits that we result to in order to cope with the demands of daily living that lead us away from the One who is able to deliver us.
In John chapter eight verses thirty-one through forty-seven Jesus the Christ sheds light on another type of drug: legalism. While speaking with some highly religious people He explained that it is knowledge of the truth that makes us free. They responded in defense and denied the need to receive an accurate knowledge of the truth. Although Jesus wanted to help heal them of their deep rooted selfishness and arrogance, they were too intoxicated with pride and legalism to receive His help.
There is an emptiness in each of our hearts that only the living God can fill. However, until we learn to trust Him, we will seek to fill that emptiness with many substitutes. When I ask the question ‘what is your drug of choice?’ I am asking ‘what is it that you refer to in order to numb or distract you from dealing with your inner reality?’ When we are sober minded, we see the hurt from our childhood, the fear of abandonment, the insecurities, the self -hate as well as other beliefs and feelings that prevent us from being at peace with ourselves. We then choose different coping mechanisms to distract us from the task of addressing our inner issues. Below is a short list of ways we distract ourselves from our inner realities:
Rage: unresolved anger grows into rage and when the person in this stage feels offended, even slightly, they begin raging as a way of protecting themselves from further hurt.
Passiveness: the person who is passive has chosen to allow the circumstances of life to happen to him rather than being proactive and claiming what it is that he really wants (this is also the root of the sin of omission – not doing the work that is in one’s power to do).
Co-dependency: this drug leads us to become obsessed with healing and helping others while neglecting caring for ourselves. Oftentimes, the co-dependent person uses the opportunity to ‘serve’ others as a way of escaping, at least for the moment, the need to deal with his/her own issues.
So what does Jesus mean in John eight verse thirty two when He says “And you will know the truth and the truth will make you free”? Truth is accurate knowledge that leads to a closeness with God. It is imperative for us to not only know the truth regarding the bible and the world around us but to also know the truth regarding what is happening within us. In other words, we have to be willing to look inward and examine ourselves honestly. We each need to be made free from misbeliefs, hurt, pain and fear that influence our daily decision making and keep us from living to give versus living to protect ourselves (aka our egos).
Since Jesus is the light of the world, He not only wants to enlighten the paths before us but He wants to shine His light within us. The closer we get to Him, the clearer we see our real need for salvation. Sometimes we run from this realization because we think that we are too far from where we should be to be helped. Such a way of thinking cannot be further from the truth. While sitting in the doctor’s office, realizing the results of the X-ray prepares the patient to receive the remedy. As we learn to be honest about the drugs we use in place of a trusting relationship with God we are then prepared to receive the remedy that only He can give. Remember, the Son of God did not come to call the righteous but the sick to salvation.