Passing the Pipe

This entry is part 105 of 140 in the series Holiness Matters
Image by Ralf Kunze from Pixabay

Have you ever seen those commercials that make you want to look away? Many of them have subtitles because you can’t understand the person. Lifelong smokers show you the hole in their neck from smoking.

The commercial is meant to make you think again about smoking, but most of the time it just grosses me out. The consequences of smoking for a lifetime can cause many problems for your health. But that’s not the only problem we have in America.

As I write this, we are dealing with some of the most massive crossings of our southern border. Children and adults from Central America and Mexico travel to the border and overwhelm border officials. That’s not the worst part.

Many of these children and adults are being used by the drug cartels to fairy drugs across the border. America has had a national drug crisis since the 1980s. But the war on drugs has not solved the problem. When people become chemically addicted to substances, it’s hard to get them the help they need.

Despite all of these issues we have with smoking and drugs, these addictions that plague our society, friends, and family can be beaten. Jesus’ power and freedom can be yours. Christ died to set us free from sin, addiction, and temptation.

Destroying Our Bodies

I opened with a graphic image of what smoking can do to your body. It’s not just about the nicotine people put into their bodies. Smoking and drugs cause a chemical addiction that is even harder to break.

Drugs wrack our bodies with more than just drugs. Many people make designer drugs that add the craziest things to the drug. Everything from petroleum to substances never before in drugs are smoked and shot up now.

Most people have no idea what’s in street drugs. It used to only be about the drugs themselves, but now we have all kinds of extra things in them to contend with. When people take drugs like this, they are destroying their bodies without even knowing how far-reaching the damage goes.

Smoking causes all kinds of cancers, starting with lung cancer. People don’t consider that cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Withdrawal makes the body feel even worse. They prove how badly these chemicals effect us. These chemical reactions change our desires and habits.

Most people talk about manage addictions rather than being free. Many times those who go into drug rehab can never kick the habit. Drug and smoking addictions can destroy your finances, family life, friendships, work ethic, and more.

Many don’t think about these consequences when they start doing drugs. Some people use drugs to escape the life problems they face. Rather than dealing with them, they sink into drugs to feel better.

When they tried drugs, they get addicted. Drugs require more and more to achieve the same high. The steal your money, time, and relationships. Some try more potent drugs to achieve the same high.

Destroying Our Minds

It doesn’t stop with our bodies. Drugs affect our minds too. People hallucinate, have slower reaction times, and have cloudy or warped minds when they take certain drugs.

Each drug changes the dopamine levels in our brains, making us want them more because of the pleasure they bring. They change our brain chemistry, literally taking over our lives. Drugs become the masters of our lives.

They alter our state of conscience so we don’t know what’s going on around us. They slur our speech, release our inhibitions, and make us think differently. It’s a hostile takeover of our minds, bodies, and lives.

Can’t we crave drugs more and more because of their effects on our brains. It starts out with funny behavior and interesting hallucinations. The altered state of conscience makes people do things they don’t normally do, give them an escape from reality.

But while drugs make people feel better, give them pleasure, and keep their problematic lives at bay, they alter their brains temporarily or permanently.

Drugs and the Bible

So far, I’ve been talking about the consequences and results of taking illegal drugs. But many Americans become addicted to prescription painkillers containing opiates. You don’t need to get drugs from the street anymore. You can get them from the doctor’s office. Some people abuse painkillers because they are addicted, not because they have pain.

When I go to the doctors for my nerve pain, I always ask if there is a non-addictive drug. With all the problems that come with paralysis, the last thing I need is an additional addiction problem.

In high school, I was our Bible Club president. Several students asked me Bible questions during lunch. One friend asked me what the Bible says about drugs. I researched it for him. All I could find then was the principle of Christians’ bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit cares about what we do with our bodies.

Because our bodies are his dwelling place in us, he cares about our health. When we smoke and do drugs, we are destroying our bodies and the health God provides.

I thought this was all I would find about drugs in the Bible. The principles of the Bible and the commands God gives guide our lives and keep us from harming our bodies and relationship with God.

In Bible College, I discovered the Greek word pharmakeia speaks directly to drugs. It’s the word for pharmaceuticals and pharmacy. It includes medicines and illicit drugs. The Old and New Testaments link drugs to sorcery, witchcraft, potions, and magic.

Because of the altered states of consciousness that drugs produce, the ancients linked it to sorcery and spiritual wickedness. People could use drugs to visit the dead, perhaps involved in King Saul’s raising of the prophet Samuel to get his advice (1 Samuel 28:8-12).

As much as drugs can cause these problems, some of them as medicine can help us tremendously. I don’t believe the Bible condemns medicinal drugs. God gives us wisdom and skill to deal with pain and other diseases that happen in the body.

But we must not become addicted to drugs of any kind. In Galatians 5:20 Paul uses the Greek word pharmakeia for sorcery. The apostle John in Revelation 18:23 speaks of the sorcery of the prostitute of Babylon that deceives the nations.

Drugs cloud your judgment and destroy your ability to think godly, clear thoughts. God doesn’t want you to live in altered states of consciousness. It’s hard for God to work through his people if they don’t have wisdom because of drugs. He gave us bodies to be good stewards of and glorify him with.

We must not take part in the activities of sorcery and witchcraft. They use drugs to connect with the spiritual realm. They connect to demons and evil spirits. It gives them limited evil spiritual power.

I urge you to have nothing to do with drugs that alter your state of mind and open the door to demonic activity. God’s standards and principles are not to keep us from having fun. They are to keep us from the physical and spiritual dangers drugs cause.

Chain Smoking

In American culture, smoking is not viewed as an illegal addiction. But it depends on what you are smoking. If you’re smoking illicit drugs like marijuana, and worse drugs, it is illegal.

But smoking tobacco isn’t illegal. Many people get addicted because of the movies they watch, where the characters who smoke pass it off as a cool habit. It’s something that everyone is doing to fit in.

But Christians don’t need to fit in. We need to be holy and separate from the things that go against the Scriptures. There are also new ways to smoke. People are saying it’s more healthy to use vaporizers in their cigarettes.

Vaping has become a new and “acceptable” alternative to smoking regular cigarettes. But it can be just as dangerous as smoking cigarettes. We must be careful not to harm our bodies or our souls through smoking drugs.

Freedom from Drugs and Smoking

I have declared that you can be free from your drug and smoking addictions. But how? I’ve seen people accept Jesus at the altar and immediately be free from drug addiction. But for most people, it’s a process.

But Jesus walks with us through all of our trials, including withdrawal, the yo-yoing between addiction and rehab, and everything else we face. Jesus doesn’t want us to be mastered by anything. He wants the Holy Spirit to be the only voice we listen to.

People dealing with addictions have a world of help from the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and Christians around them. The Bible gives us direction and encouragement. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live for God instead of our addictions.

Other Christians who don’t have these addictions can keep us accountable through regular meetings and observing our lives. Addictions, temptations, and sins lose their power when exposed to the light of accountability.

The Christians around you want the very best for you. They want you to be godly and help you. When finding an accountability partner or mentor, make sure the person has God’s wisdom to help you, is mature in their faith, you trust them not to gossip about your addiction, and does not struggle with the same addictions, temptations, and habits you do.

Drugs can be stronger than our willpower because they had chemical attachment. This may require professional help in counselors, psychologists, detox and drug rehab centers, and other services.

Don’t ever feel like you can’t turn to these resources. There are many Christian professionals involved in all of the above services. For instance, there is a great Christian drug and addiction help in the church called Teen Challenge. They have a very healthy percentage of people who have gone through their program with great success.

Study the principles the Bible provides for addiction, pray and ask the Holy Spirit for his guidance and power to be free from your addiction, and get an accountability partner to help you practice godly habits in place of drug and smoking addictions. All of these steps will help you to practice holiness in your life and be free from addiction.

Conclusion

You can be free in Jesus’ name from every drug and smoking addiction. Those chemicals can be reversed in an instant in God’s presence. God can eradicate your desire and addiction to these dangerous drugs. Whether it takes an instant or a process, he will bring freedom.

He will take away the mastery of the enemy through your drug addiction, and bring you into the light of his glory. There are many tools for those who trust in Jesus. Through the Bible, the Spirit, and help of other Christians, God will bring you out of your addictions.

But each of us must be open to the helps God has in store for us. Exposing drug addiction robs it of its power over us. Look for Christians who love you and care for you. God can minister through them to you.

We will continue with our discussions of the addictions in our society and the holiness God desires for us in the next post. Join me once again as we tackle these tough addictions and look to God’s Word, Spirit, and prayer for guidance, power, and freedom.

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