Spiritual Aspects of Drug Abuse (1)

There is a plethora of Scripture to show the spiritual implications alcoholism and drug use.

It is important to realize that getting high on a substance creates an opportunity to connect into a dark spiritual world, which can then lead to addiction and physical and spiritual slavery to that substance.

I encountered elements of the spiritual aspect of drug use for the first time when I was in medical school on my psychiatry rotation. I learned about a patient who heard a clear, distinct and oppressive voice while driving. This voice commanded him to floor the accelerator and not release it. The patient helplessly complied and eventually survived the inevitable crash.

Where did this auditory hallucination in the form of a voice come from?

It was the direct result of a cocaine binge.

Cocaine, along with amphetamines, belongs to a class of drugs called stimulants. These produce an unnatural flood of dopamine and other excitatory neurotransmitters in critical areas of the brain. The victim’s thoughts become highly erratic and disorganized, their speech is pressured, they become manic, and they undergo auditory and visual hallucinations which I postulate to be demonic in nature.

Following the manic high from the stimulant, a “crash” ensues which can last days.  Disturbance in sleep and appetite, nightmares, psychotic episodes, suicidal ideation and other similar things follow.

Why is it that the victims of drugs and alcohol withdrawal only experience frightening hallucinations?  Why not see and hear something beautiful, uplifting?  The answer lies in the dark spiritual bondage where these people find themselves.

The process of getting high opens a gateway to demonic oppression.

That is why apostle Peter is so adamant about Christians maintaining sobriety:

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8

Peter understands that Satan has spiritual access to non-sober individuals.  Furthermore, apostle Paul writes down a searing message to those who practice “pharmakeia” (Gal 5:20) that is sorcery and witchcraft using substances to get high:

“I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Gal 5:21

Salvation is at stake here!  People who get high on drugs will not inherit the kingdom of God!

There is a clear divide between the physical world and the spiritual world.  But our sinful actions in this physical world can open doors into the spiritual world which can allow demonic oppression to enter the soul and take hold.  Addiction to drugs, alcohol and pornography are examples of the physical and dark spiritual amalgam.

to be continued…

The Post-Modern Christian and the Gray Areas

How would you like to have a cool and relevant young pastor like megachurch pastor Steven Furtick (above) to give you plenty of latitude on decision-making in those gray areas that really nag the post modern Christian?

Gray area topics have become a legalistic battle ground for the lukewarm Christian today.

What gray areas are we talking about?

Watching HBO shows and R-rated movies, drinking alcohol (I will add smoking marijuana where it is legal under this topic), cussing, going to bars, and many other items that world loves to indulge in but which are not necessarily spelled out in the Bible as sins.

Steven Furtick and his Elevation Church have touted that they are not afraid to talk about anything in their church, so in a current series of sermons he addressed some these gray area issues.  The problem is that there wasn’t much denouncing going on.

“I’m not going to try to make black and white issues out of what’s gray in the Word of God. That would be malpractice on my part,” Furtick said.

On the issue of alcohol he says “The Bible has more to say about gluttony than it does about drinking,” leaving the door open for those who wish to consume alcohol to go right ahead… but… stop short of getting drunk.

On R-rated movies, again, he does not denounce exposure to lust, sex, cussing, and occult in them, but points out that there are more “sinful” things in network comedy shows than in R-rated movies.

He is more concerned with the personal testimony of a Christian who attends R-rated movies, something which I respect.  Furtick  points to the fact that believers and unbelievers may be watching us going to these movies and stumbling on that fact.  But this is not enough.

It is not the gray area act that is sinful for Furtick, but the fact that others are observing the Christian perform that act.  In other words, Christian liberty reigns supreme even in areas where sin may be involved… but just make sure you’re not a stumbling block for others.  Nice…

To his credit he does give a filter for gray area decision-making using the formula “Is it best? Does it build (others up)? Does it bind?”  But he does not categorically denounce things like rated-R movies that may lead to lust, for example.

The main issue at hand is that spiritually infant Christians need concrete guidance from their pastor.  Wishy-washy statements like Furtick’s may lead the Christian to indulge in sinful behavior.  An alcoholic drink may lead two, three, ten and then everything breaks down. Also, why not address specific subject matter of movies and shows?

The Word of God is our ultimate guide and we should avoid anything that has to do with the deeds of the flesh listed in Galatians 5: “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies…”

Remember, when in doubt “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” 1 Thessalonians  5:22

How much can the post-modern Christian lean over the cliff without falling to his demise?

image credit: Vimeo.com