According the Center for Disease Control statistics of 2015, West Virginia had the highest per capita drug-related death rate in the U.S. In 2015, the state saw 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people attributed to drug use. Researchers from the CDC found that the increase in drug-related deaths in West Virginia from 2014 to 2015 was considered statistically significant, with an increase of 16.9 percent. While the rest of the country wrestles with an alarming rate of illicit drug use, West Virginia is truly on the front lines of this battle.
On Friday evening our church attended an event called “The Judgement House” at the 14th Avenue Gospel Mission in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We drove an hour, broke bread at a local pizza establishment and then made our way to the very well performed Judgement House drama on the subject of overdose. The drama storyline was that of a girl addicted to drugs following the murder of her mother, her own addiction, the attempted intervention of family, and her life failures. All of which eventually leads to the death of her brother, her overdose and the eternal ramifications of their life decisions. It was a soul stirring event because for me. It was also one that caused me to examine myself, God’s grace and consider the fate of people in our community.
There are countless reasons for people falling into addiction and sin, but I believe each of them can fall under four subcategories.
Four Reasons I’ve seen people turn to drugs and alcohol and not to Jesus
- Reason One: Familiarity
- Constant advertisements, store displays and discussion of the good times of sin. Even the bible says in Hebrews 11:25 that there is “joy in sin for a season.” If your of any age at all you know this. However, there’s also the morning after and the results of any decisions made. It may be life altering for you or for someone else. You may not see the destruction of it for years down the line when your decision, and acceptance of it as natural behavior, leads to the destruction in your own child’s life.
- 1 Peter 2:11– Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
- 1 John 2:16– For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
- 1 Corinthians 15:33– Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Do you see the commercial effects of familiarity in your life? Store, television, internet?
Do your friends make poor decisions and how much are you drawn into their decision making?
How do you think they affect you?
Do they cause you to accept the behavior as “normal” and not see it for the sin that it is?
- Reason Two: Escape Reality
- In the storyline the girl could forget her mother’s death and her father’s grief when she took the drugs. Although in reality it just mask the pain, it was still there.
- Escaping reality can also be placing the blame on everyone else. The girl in our story blamed her father not being there for her at her mother’s death. Yet she had her brother. It’s easy to look at the people who let us down and discourage us as the reason we make poor decisions, but none of that is a valid excuse with God.
- This doesn’t have to be speaking of the extreme life of addiction. It can also be speaking of our behavior when someone lets us down. Perhaps we’re rude, disrespectful, or we won’t do what we know is right to do because the world deserves it or we’re “having a bad day.” That too will be an accountable moment before God if in our decision making we affected the lives of others.
- Satan’s goal is to convince that we are alone. And then he attacks in our weakest hour, with our own weakness.
- 1 Peter 5:8– Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
- Proverbs 20:1– Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
If you examine your life, are you placing blame on someone else and excusing bad behavior?
- Reason Three: Attention Seeking
- There are people who will look for any reason to get all eyes on them. Even to the point of self-destruction. They love when people feel sorry for them or perhaps they’ve bought Satan’s lie that the drugs and alcohol make them a more enjoyable, braver character.
- It’s easy to fall into an attention seeking trap. We all want to be loved and sometimes that’s at our expense and sometimes that’s at the expense of others. Our words can be just as harmful.
- James 3:10 ~ Outof the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
- By placing attention on ourselves, we make others feel less and for certain God is not being glorified.
- John 5:44 ~ How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only
Does our decisions honor God?
Do we excuse sin for the sake of comedy? (cussing, off color jokes, conversations about topics Christians shouldn’t have?)
- Reason Four: Rebellion
- A reason as old as time. It began in the garden when Eve seen the fruit and Satan convinced her it was good and would make her as wise as God, and then Adam ate it so his wife wouldn’t be alone.
- Not doing what we know to be right is rebellion.
- It’s turning away from God and toward the sin. God looks upon rebellion pretty harshly.
- 1 Samuel 15:23 ~ For rebellionis as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
- We tend to make rebellion glamorous.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13– There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
- Galatians 5:16– [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Is there an area of rebellion in your life?
It often boils down to F.E.A.R.
- We fear not fitting in to the public norm. Rather than living the godly standard.
- We fear that reality is worse than our imagination. It’s actually reverse.
- We fear we’ll be overlooked. Rather than desiring God be seen.
- We fear the world more than we fear God.
This blog was my Sunday morning teen lesson following the Judgement House, which is why it’s in outline format. Feel free to use this in your own ministry!