The darkness of the soul of one in the bondage of addiction is apparent. It engulfs their countenance. The darkness that they have succumbed to is a spiritual darkness that the world does not comprehend. Matthew 4:16 speaks of those who “sit in darkness”. This position of sitting denotes one who has become used to (is comfortable with) the dark. There is complacency in this darkness that is aggravated by living a lifestyle of sinfulness. Not seeing any danger, they continue “full speed ahead in the dark with the lights out”. (G.K. Chesterton) Scripture confirms this quandary in John 12:35; “…he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.” This spiritual blindness, particularly in addictions, leads into the “valley of the shadow of death.” (Psalm 25:4) Deuteronomy 28:29 gives a further description of the helplessness, hopelessness, and horror of this “trip” in darkness. “The blind man gropes in darkness…shall not prosper in his ways…shall only be oppressed and plundered.”
A vivid description of one living in unbridled and undisciplined passions is found in “The Landlady’s Master”, by George McDonald. A poet named Andrew describes the plight of being oppressed and plundered as “demons riding the whirlwinds of the soul”. From this we could conclude that the soul having been ransacked has “been taken captive by the devil to do his will”. (II Timothy 2:26)
My dear readers, you and I are facing this issue all around us. Paul writes to the Corinthian Church in II Cor. 10:3-4; “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not WAR according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” But, the problem with the addict is that he has no knowledge of the larger issue in his plight. He has chosen a route that leads to a spiritual darkness that makes him open and vulnerable to all the wiles of the devil. And, having no clue as to the real issue at hand, he is at the devil’s whim to be tempted, troubled and tormented.
This weight upon the soul can be an opportunity for the bruised soul to seek help! Even then, if the purpose of the addict is only to get the weight off his soul without pursuing Jesus, it will not, as a general rule, hold or satisfy.There is a form of repentance that lacks substance. This quicksand of repentance clings to pleasing circumstances for the balm of the soul. Many times I have seen the flower of hope wilt at the first discouraging circumstance such as:
1) A wife or parent says “you can’t come back home yet” (Not understanding that past emotional and physical damage to loved ones, friends, employers will not necessarily be forgotten in every case).
2) A job does not appear in the time frame desired.
3) What one thinks ought to happen does not happen; a snare that has entangled many.
As I have shared often; happiness is limited to pleasant circumstances, but joy is a fountain that flows from within! The remedy for the darkness of addiction, as one preacher has stated, is to pursue Jesus. One will have a hard time pursuing Jesus if he does not see the wretchedness of his soul in the darkness of his choosing. The Prodigal Son wasted away his inheritance and came back to his father in true repentance. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you.” (Luke 15:18) And, in Romans 7:24, Paul saw his true colors; “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
I remember one young student who understood his own wretchedness and had a passion to pursue Jesus. He went to Bethel’s Chapel and repented extensively of his sins. God delivered him and a whirlwind of demons came out of his soul. He came out of that little chapel rejoicing that Jesus set his captive soul free! (John 8:36) Hallelujah!
And, Jesus will do the same for you!