A BRIEF LOOK AT RECOVERY
To establish a Christ-Centered perspective of recovery, let’s look at the three principles in scripture. It is not our intention to say this is an absolute or comprehensive teaching on recovery. We only desire to encourage you to seek out what God says about recovery and possibly gain a new perspective.
- Genesis 3:21
- John 8:36
- James 4:7-10
Definition of Recovery: The process of becoming the men and women God had in mind when He created them.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord make coats of skins, and clothed them.”
God made a covering of animal skins for Adam and Eve. This had spiritual significance in that it was the first instance of recovery. In Genesis 1:26 God said; “Let us make man in our image.” With mans sinless state came a covering, a divine protection. An intimate unbroken fellowship with God that is implied in the first part of Genesis 3:8 “And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day...”.
God had planted two trees in the garden, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life. It is important for us to see that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought death. The tree of life brought life. We must apply that truth to our lives. Recovery that is not truly centered in Jesus Christ will not produce a spirit of life in those who receive. It doesn’t matter how good it sounds. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if a person gets sober or clean and stays that way 50 years. Without the Spirit of life they are dead. True recovery only happens when a person is centered in the tree of life, Jesus Christ.
After eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve lost their covering. In Genesis 3:7 we read, “And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” As we read on in this passage we see this didn’t work. (Genesis 3:9-10) “And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” We cannot truly recover ourselves. In recovery we use tools to help us (12 steps, group meetings, weekly challenges, scripture memorization, etc.) but these are only the tools that cause us to focus on Jesus Christ. Only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can bring complete recovery and restoration.
We lost our original covering when sin entered the picture. We cannot recover ourselves. Jesus Christ can bring true recovery and new life over life-controlling issues.
2. John 8:36
“If the son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”
There are people who have gotten clean or sober without Christ, but they are not free indeed. They no longer drink or use drugs but there has been no real change in their lives as a result. As the old recovery saying goes: If you take a drunken horse thief and sober him up, what do you have? You have a horse thief who can steal more horses, and remember where he put them.
In John 8:34, Jesus said, “…Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” The approach in Christ-centered recovery must be simply coming to Jesus! He sets people free from not only a life-controlling problem, but slavery to sin. The scripture tells us “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1. More than a goal.
3. James 4:7-19
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
Here in this verse we find three principles of Christ-centered recovery.
We submit to God
We resist the devil
We draw near to God
When we do these things, we can’t help but want to be cleansed of our past and be made new by the Holy Spirit. When we understand our sin hurts God, we won’t want any part of anything that will damage our relationship with God. We will have a new awareness of our true standing with God. When we submit to God, resist the devil and draw near to God we will find the strength and comfort to more than overcome any struggle in life.
Recovery is both an immediate event and a process. Recovery centered in Jesus transforms lives by the power of God. Lives that will keep growing spiritually and bearing fruit to God’s glory.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him,
he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”