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…

Gabriel: “I Stand in the Presence of God”

The darkest 400 years of Israel’s history have just passed.  God had not spoken to His people during that time, and we do not have any written records of the Holy Spirit descending or filling any one person in Israel.

Luke is the New Testament evangelist that gives us the most detailed account of the miraculous events that broke this 400 year silence.

The appearance of the angel Gabriel during Zechariah’s service in the Temple is the first in a series of supernatural events heralding the birth of Christ.  Zechariah’s shock and disbelief is evidence that he personally has not encountered such an event before, and the same goes for his colleagues, given the long inter-testamental silence.

This was the beginning of the most amazing work that God has ever performed on earth up to that point.

These are the first words from God through Gabriel, words that broke the spiritual darkness surrounding the land: “Do not be afraid…” (Luke 1:13).  And it is a fitting message given the awesome display of the work of the Holy Spirit that is about to begin in Israel.

But for me the most intriguing part of Luke 1 is the way the angel identifies himself and his job…

Imagine having a casual conversation with someone you met for the first time.  Their name and occupation is usually one of the first things we address in an attempt to find some common ground with them.

Zechariah finally gets to that point in the conversation with Gabriel… a point of shock… a point of awe.  Gabriel introduces himself and his occupation: “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19).

My dear reader, you and I cannot comprehend what this means.  There is no common ground here between a mortal man who has not yet been glorified, and Gabriel whose job is to literally stand in the presence of God and to serve God as His messenger.

Reading the account of this magnificent event and absorbing the stunning statement “I stand in the presence of God” is revealing and humbling at the same time.  Knowing what we know about God from Scripture, how can someone assert such a claim?   The only explanation is that Gabriel is an angel of indescribable holiness, faithfulness and responsibility.  To be able to serve God face-to-face in His presence is unbearable and unfathomable for the human mind while here on earth.

But the children of God saved through the precious blood of Jesus should get used to this concept rather quickly.  The Bible speaks of our glorification in the presence of God.  Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:10

“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

Just like Gabriel, we will spend an eternal lifetime standing in the presence of God.  Only then will we find common ground in conversation with Gabriel and the hosts of heaven.