Save Me from Myself
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13
It wasn’t easy to attain several years of sobriety, but after several years, it’s easy to become overconfident in my recovery. As I was recently speaking in a local treatment facility, I realized sadly, that most of the addicts there would return to a using environment. It made thankful for my supportive home life, but it also contributed to complacency. I’m glad I don’t face that kind of temptation. I’ve got recovery pretty well nailed. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes, I think I’m relapse-proof. This is dangerous thinking and I know better.
Not long after this speaking opportunity, my son and I went on a guy’s trip. Leaving late afternoon, we drove a few hours, checked into a hotel, and while he did homework, I got gas. I hadn’t planned to go inside the gas station, but my son had asked me to get some chocolate milk, so in I went . . . and was promptly confronted by a lot of alcohol. Alcohol was never my favorite drug, but I have abused it. Suddenly the old thoughts returned. You could have just one. No one would know. You can ask forgiveness tomorrow. It’s not like you’d be taking a pill. You can get a buzz and get away with it.
Fortunately, I pray today’s verse every morning, and thankfully, at that moment, it popped back into my head. Dear God, save me from myself! (my paraphrase). I walked by the alcohol, got chocolate milk, and made it back to the hotel, sober, happy, and grateful.
If I’m honest though, I was a little shaken and terrified by how easily the old thoughts returned. Where did that come from? Why would I think like that? I know I can’t have just one. How stupid am I that I would even think such things?
The problem of course, is that as long as we’re in these bodies, we’ll struggle with defective appetites. Our flesh life continually hungers for something self-destructive – greed, lust, pride, or drugs – because that’s its nature. This is why Christ taught us to daily look to him to be saved from temptation and evil. Years of recovery comes from every day following God’s way instead of ours. Daily, we must seek his path if we desire to be saved from ourselves.