For a number of issues of this Health Tip, we have been dealing with the subject of addictions. We have named a number of addictive substances that man indulges in and learned that there are many who desire to be freed of these addictions.
In an effort to help people free themselves of addictions, I began last week in Health Tip #662, a three part series to help folks better understand why they were addicted and give some tips on how to overcome these addictions:
- Why do Christians struggle with addictions?
- Why is God not answering prayers regarding addictions?
- How can victory over addictions be achieved?
PART 2: WHY IS GOD NOT ANSWERING PRAYERS REGARDING ADDICTIONS?
Let’s begin by sharing a few letters received from folks experiencing and seeking help from God in breaking their addictions.
“I just read the testimony of the man who was still smoking and drinking beer even though he is a Christian and has been reading your Health Tips for some time. I am not smoking and drinking, but I am eating sweets and fats like I have no sense of what it is doing to my body. If I eat these things, I know in the morning I will be stiff and my face will look puffy and I will be crabby and everything will get on my nerves.
“I was on The Hallelujah Diet for several weeks, and my skin looked so vibrant, my body didn’t ache in the morning, and I didn’t have headaches, and things did not get on my nerves.
“So what happened? I don’t understand why I lost my focus. I start off every morning praying and thinking I’m going to get back on track but before I know it, I have eaten what I shouldn’t have. It becomes a vicious cycle between the eating and the moods and the feelings of failure.
“I know the benefits and I like how I look and feel when I eat according to God’s plan. So what is my hang-up?”
“I read your article on addictions with great interest. I have a strong addiction to sweets and over 400 pounds in weight speaks to how indulgent I am… I can’t seem to break my habits and cravings… Please pray for me!”
The above letters are just a small sampling of the types of letters I receive from Christians who desire victory over their addictions. Many of them have been praying for victory over their addictions for a very long time, only without experiencing the victory they say they so desire.
So where is God in times like this?
“THE LORD HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES”
My dad spoke those words to me time and time again as I was growing up. I understand better now what he was saying than I did then. Quite obviously he wanted me to realize that what I was asking God to do for me was something I could usually do for myself. If God or someone else did it for me, I would never learn to take control of my own situations, actions, or needs, but rather learn to be dependent on others.
Dad made me apply those words as I was growing up. For instance I never once received an allowance. Instead I had to earn money to pay for the things I wanted, even haircuts, beginning at about age ten.
At that age I started washing neighbor’s floors for 25 cents a floor. From ages twelve to sixteen I delivered newspapers 6 days a week for $4.50 a week. From ages sixteen to eighteen I worked behind a soda counter and delivered prescriptions by bicycle after school and on Saturdays for $16.00 per week.
I was in the U.S. Navy from ages nineteen to twenty-one earning $99.00 per month. By age 21 I had saved enough money to buy my first car, a 1955 Plymouth Belvedere, salmon and white hardtop, without any help from dad or the bank.
Throughout my life, and until this present day, I have never asked anyone or expected anyone to provide my wants or needs no matter how dire my situation.
Sadly, we live in a society today that expects others to take care of us. We look to others to pay our obligation if we fall behind in the car or house payment. We want someone else to pay for food or education. We need a hand-out to pay health care expenses when we get sick, or pay unemployment when we are out of work, or social security when we don’t prepare for retirement… and the list goes on.
This has led us as a nation to Socialism, my friends. Our government promises to provide for the needs of the people from the cradle to the grave, and all this without effort or responsibility on the part of the people who receive the hand-outs.
Because of these government handouts, an ever increasing number of people who do not want to be responsible for their own decisions and actions have become dependent. These people are increasing in numbers and slowly becoming the majority in our country, as they vote to elect the politicians who promise to give them the most stuff.
America was not built by this kind of people. Our nation was built by people who were fiercely independent. They asked only to be left alone as they hacked out a home site in the wilderness. They established a government that promised to protect them so that they could pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, while becoming one nation under God.
I realize the phrase “the Lord helps those who help themselves” is not found in the Bible, but I do believe these words have great bearing in the understanding of the subject before us. Why doesn’t God take away my addictions when I pray?
1. When God created this universe, He established certain natural laws to govern what He created. For instance, there is a natural law called gravity. This tells us that if we get too close to the edge of a high place, we will suffer the consequences of that violation. This law applies Christian or non-Christian alike regardless of whether we are aware of that natural law or how much we may pray and ask God to keep us from experiencing the consequences of that violation. Agreed?
2. When God created the physical body we each possess, I believe He also established a natural law that governs what these physical bodies were to be nourished with. That natural law is found in Genesis 1:29, where God told us in no uncertain words what we were to nourish our physical bodies with. Agreed?
Ahhh, do I detect some hesitation in your agreeing with that statement?
3. Did not God tell us that there would be consequences for our actions in Galatians 6:7? Agreed? Surely this verse makes it abundantly clear.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”
In our churches, what is the number one prayer request? Is it not requests for healing of physical problems? I believe most will agree that prayers for physical healing comprise almost 90% of all the prayer requests in our churches. Is it God’s fault we are sick or could it be that Galatians 6:7 comes into play here?
4. Does God always answer these prayers for physical healing? Obviously the answer is no. We pray for many of these same people week after week often seeing them becoming sicker and sicker, and even dying, in spite of all the prayers being offered and all that the doctors can do. Where is God in times like this?
Could my dad’s words, “the Lord helps those who help themselves,” have a bearing here? After reading tens-of-thousands of testimonies coming from those who took control of their own health by adopting The Hallelujah Diet and Lifestyle, I believe the answer is a resounding yes!
Through the years, tens of thousands have written to tell me that when they stopped looking to God or to their doctor to heal them, but rather took control of their own health and started eating exclusively the Garden foods God told mankind he should eat for the nourishment of his body and started exercising, the body literally healed itself.
You see, God has given each of us a beautiful physical body, and Scripture tells us that it literally is His temple.
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
I Corinthians 6:8-9
What does the Bible tell us the consequences of not taking proper care of our physical body is?
“If any man [or woman] defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
I Corinthians 3:17
SO WHERE IS GOD WHEN WE PRAY FOR HELP IN OVERCOMING ADDICTIONS?
God can and on occasion does answer prayers for healing. God can do anything!
But it appears God is increasingly leading His people to do what they can do for themselves. He provides the body with the Genesis 1:29 nutrients it needs so it can do what God designed it to do, which is heal itself.
Do not the Scriptures say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me?” (Philippians 4:13)
Most Christians want to only look at God’s part here, and not their part, “I can do…”
Could it be that God wants us to participate in the healing of our own physical problems and the overcoming of our own addictions, which we ourselves have created?
I find way too many Christians are not only lazy, but also very, very undisciplined and thus dependent! They do not want to participate in their healing when they are sick. They do not want to become proactive by participating in the overcoming of their addictions. Rather, they want to let someone else do for them what they can, but are unwilling to do for themselves.
They pray, “Dear God, please remove this sickness” or “Dear God, please remove this addiction from me – Amen.” Some even demand that God do this for them.
I wish everyone could go through military training after they complete high school.
Why would I say that? Because most people have never learned self-discipline!
For instance, in the military, if you do not instantly obey a command, you may stand at attention for an hour on a hot tarmac. You may have to do 100 push-ups.
It usually doesn’t take a person very long in the military before they learn that they will reap what they have sown if they do not respond immediately to a command with “YES SIR!”
You say what good could possibly come from what some would consider this cruel and inhuman treatment? Friend, it teaches self-discipline. As we learn self-discipline, we also learn how to take control of our actions and situations. We do not give up, or allow ourselves to become defeated or look to someone else when difficulties arise.
I personally feel that it was because of the self-discipline I learned going through Navy boot camp and serving during the Korean War that when faced with cancer in 1976, I was able to change my diet overnight from the addictive Standard American Diet to God’s Genesis 1:29 diet and start drinking lots of vegetable juices.
Making this diet change was not hard for me. Nor have I found it difficult to remain on this diet these past almost 35 years. Why have I not found it difficult? I thank God for my military training. It taught me self-discipline, and that played a big role in my recovery from cancer.
Making a diet change isn’t necessarily easy but “I can do…” And so can you!
During World War II our military boys sang, “Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition.” What were they saying? They were saying that they were looking to God for help, but they were going to do all they could do to achieve victory. And they did achieve victory!
Today, if we want to have victory over our physical problems and/or our addictions, we need to pray. But then we need to get up off our knees and start doing our part.
So what should we do when we get sick? Run to a doctor and ask the doctor for a pill that will hopefully make us feel better? Should we run to God and ask Him to take away our physical problem and make us all better?
Or rather, should we run to the bathroom, look ourselves square in the mirror and ask, “What did I do to create this physical problem?” Then do what is necessary to help our body do what God designed it to do. Give it the nutrients it needs so that it can heal itself.
And what should we do when we are dealing with an addiction? Should we run to God and ask Him to take away that addiction and take no personal responsibility? No. We should take control of the addiction by denying our body that addictive substance (and yes, that does take some self-discipline). Ask the Lord to help us have the strength necessary to do what we need to do for ourselves – BREAK THAT ADDICTION.
You can do it friend if you want to bad enough! Remember: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”