Lenny Bruce said that America is a nation of folks who like to get high. Some might take issue with this; however, when you survey the amount of drugs taken in this country, it is hard to argue. Drug abuse exacts a terrible toll.
Our word pharmaceutical comes from the Greek pharmakeia which referred to medication. It also was defined as magic, sorcery or witchcraft. Drugs often open the user up to evil forces with other-worldly powers. Too many first-account tales of the connection between drugs and sorcery have been told to deny the link. Phillip Carter, an inmate in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, has such a story. In the following letter to The Gospel Advocate, he tells it:
I have a file in my mind labeled “wasted time.” It holds the record of the time I spent on illicit drug use, including alcohol, my drug of choice. I go through the file every once in a while, just to be reminded. I have wasted too much time on drug use, deluded into thinking my life had purpose and meaning.
I have wasted too much time looking for green fields when I should have been cultivating fields of my own. I have deceived myself into believing success comes in bottles of 80 or 100 proof alcohol.
I cultivated drug use. I watered it with profuse tears, nurtured it with perceived lawfulness, grew it tall, and anticipated a noble harvest. And that is the problem. There is no harvest – only scorched fields and total loss. If you haven’t yet filed drug use under “wasted time,” consider the following as steps to a better life.
Come clean. Drug use of any illicit type is a criminal act. Like all illegitimate choices, it must be dealt with. We waste a lot to time and strength playing a shell game with embarrassing truths. Because drug use is so devoid of virtue, we hide it from others and especially ourselves. As long as we are focused on someone else and blinded to our own vice, we are captive to our destructive behavior. Until we get our eyes off others and see ourselves as we truly are, we will continue to wallow, quite miserably, in a pigpen of our own making.
Break it down. How is drug use working for you? Does it make you happy? Would you recommend it to a friend? Are you proud of it? Does it produce a positive course in your life? Have you considered that it robs you of peace, strips you of contentment, and ruins your reputation? Can you change anything through drug use? Has drug use ever built a better civilization?
What monuments have been erected to its virtues? Who sings of its glory? Doesn’t it always end tragically? Isn’t drug use just the twisted face of futile escape? Why should we entertain it?
Give it up. Rejoice in who you are and trust God to meet your needs. You’ll fail if you search for meaning and purpose in your life through drug use, so let God have a shot at your life. Drug use has us off chasing rainbows when the one who made the rainbows simply wants our trust. Troubles evaporate in the light of his empowering presence. God delights in taking us far beyond our desires, but he cannot act until we have surrendered to him completely.
Get a life. The ample life Jesus offers to all who will follow him is a life perfectly crafted to our individual designs. Drug use is a constant and aching discomfort, a displeasure in who we are, a misplaced vision of who we might become.
Life in Christ centers on the recognition that God created us with unique gifts and qualities that, when developed, produce satisfaction, joy, fulfillment and effectiveness. Get comfortable in your own skin. God made only one of you, and drug use will keep you from fulfilling his design.
Drug use is a wily, stubborn foe. Place it on your watch list. Expose it to the light. Kill it with truth. You’ll find more time for virtues, visions and dreams. You’ll find peace and contentment, grace and dignity. You’ll find life beyond the limits that drug use imposes. The life you so long for cannot be measured against less than the purpose Christ saw when he called you to be born.
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