How the Addict Behaves
He went in and stood before his master, and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” And he said, “Your servant went nowhere.” 2 Kings 5:25
Though today’s story of Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, is not about drug addiction, the story is painfully familiar, serving as an example of how one acts while enslaved to the desires of the flesh.
In the story, Naaman tried to offer a gift to Elisha who had just healed him of his leprosy. Elisha refused the gift and sent Naaman on his way. Gehazi hungered for the riches Naaman offered, but knew Elisha would not allow it.
Gehazi desired something he knew he shouldn’t have, so he fantasized about it, until the thing overthrew his mind. Once the evil desire took over, he convinced himself he could get away with it and devised a plan to get what he wanted.
Gehazi snuck away from Elisha, chased after Naaman, and fabricated a story to manipulate Naaman into giving him the reward. When Gehazi returned, Elisha asked where he had been. Lies birthed more lies, as Gehazi insisted he’d done nothing.
It’s hard to fool a prophet of God though. Elisha knew exactly what Gehazi had done. For his scheming and lies, Gehazi was cursed with the leprosy of Naaman.
The story is painfully familiar as it is my story. I have destructive appetites, which when indulged in, overthrow my desire to follow God. Once I convince myself I can get away with it, the lying, manipulating, cheating, and stealing automatically follow. Lies breed more lies, until divine justice rains down and I become enslaved to the thing I pursued.
This is how addiction works in all of us. Thankfully though, there is hope. The further down the road we are, the harder it is to turn around, but turning around is always an option. At any time, if we are willing, we may stop following ourselves to misery and destruction. If we will do what it takes, we always have the choice to deny ourselves and follow God to life, freedom and joy.