What We Believe About Addiction And The Cure
Pilgrim Ministries is a home that is grounded in the faith of Christianity with the belief of one sovereign God. We believe we serve a living God, a God of Hope, a God of Love, a God of Peace, a God of Mercy, a God of Grace, and also a God of Judgment. We believe God has three separate identities being God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three identities are all connected together and make up the Godhead. We believe that God the Father creator of all (Gen. 1:1 "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth") sent his Son Jesus Christ in the form of a man to be born of a virgin to redeem mankind. Jesus lived a perfect sinless life, allowed Himself to be crucified to death on a cruel cross, buried for three days, and was raised on the third day so that we might have the hope of eternal life through the shedding of his blood and the hope of his return through his living resurrected body. God’s word in John 3:16-17 says: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved." We believe at the moment of salvation God gives us the precious gift of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides us on how we should pray, live, and helps us to discern truth so that we may walk in the spirit and not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. The Holy Spirit also seals us to show that we are God’s. Ephesians 1:13 says "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise." (See also John 6:27 and 2Corinthians 1:22.) Pilgrim Ministries believes the only way a person can truly be set free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol (sin) is to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Through the continued growth of discipleship and sanctification, a person learns how to stay free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol. Acts 4:12 says "Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."Pilgrim Ministries does not advocate the use of secular programs with worldly views of men, government and healthcare for a problem that is a direct result of sin. Let’s call it what God calls it - SIN. It is not a disease, people do not have to remain addicts the rest of their lives, and they do not have to be in recovery for the rest of their lives. Their addiction is a result of the bondage of sin that has overtaken their lives. How do we deal with sin problems? We lay them at the foot of the cross the same way God deals with all other sin. The ministry is not an advocate of A.A. or N.A. because they do not teach that true freedom comes from Jesus Christ. They reference a higher power. These programs may help keep a man from drinking or doing drugs but it can never give him the true freedom that Jesus can. It can sometimes even lead the men to come into bondage to the program itself. Some who are connected with these programs comment and say that the ministry is substituting church and Jesus for their programs. They have even said you are in bondage to Jesus and the Church you are no different than us. To this we say, "Praise be to God!" What an awesome honor and blessing for someone to say that. 1 Corinthians 7:20-24 says: “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.” Jesus paid a very precious price for us - one we can never truly repay. We should try to be the best servant we can for the rest of our lives giving our life over to Him. The Bible talks about a bond servant. One who at the end of his allotted time of service who loved his master so much that he gave his freedom up to remain the servant of his master the rest of his life. Is this not what we owe God? Is this not what Jesus desires from us? Even though he has brought us into the perfect law of liberty and freedom he still desires that we willingly and freely lay our selfish desires down to become His servant for the rest of our lives. Do not be fooled by the world and the devil. If the devil can make a man believe he will always be in addiction, an addict, or an alcoholic he has already defeated them. God wants us to live in a victorious state - not a state of defeat or fear. We believe that A.A., N.A., or 12 steps programs do not reach the level of true freedom for a man to live in victory. It is not the things that they say because they say a lot of good things. However; it is the things that they do not say that cause concern. Do they talk about the freedom that comes from Christ? Do they mention that you are a new creature? Do they talk about the perfect law of liberty? Do they talk about sanctification and discipleship? We do not need 12 steps when God has given us 1 step. Lay it all at the foot of the cross and receive what Jesus has to offer you. Addiction whether it be to alcohol, drugs, sex, money, or whatever has been given the place in your life that was created for God, it is a result of a person living in sin for an extended period of time and becoming entangled in the bondage of that sin. God tells us there is only one way and one way only to deal with sin. Confess it, turn from it, and ask for forgiveness of it. It is really a very simple process. Why do we try to develop all these new programs, skirt the real issue, or try to bring the truth in from left or right field? Is God’s word not simply good enough? Programs are treating a symptom the addiction; God's word cuts to the source of the issue which is sin. Programs might help you stay clean but they will never cure the root cause which is sin and bring true victory and joy like Jesus Christ can. Do we not really believe that God’s Word is enough to change a man’s life? Do we think we know a better way than God to get someone to experience true freedom? Maybe we as Christians need to re-evaluate what we are doing here. Did God not simply say to share the truth with people? Did He not say you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free? He did not say anything about 12 steps, A.A., N.A., or some other secular program ye shall know and it will set you free.
The concept we use at Pilgrim Ministries is nothing more or less than God’s infallible, unmovable, and never failing Holy Word being manifested and hidden in our hearts. The Bible says in John 10:10 "the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Psalms 119:11 says "thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." We try to teach men that true freedom comes from believing God’s Word and standing on the promises in His Word. It has been said that if you truly believe something then you will live it. This is what changes people’s lives - believing in God’s Holy Word. Here are some of God’s truths and concepts we try to get the men to receive and believe in:
John 8:31-32 "then Jesus said to those Jews which believed him. If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."
Psalms 146:7 "Which executeth judgment for the oppressed: which giveth food to the hungry. The Lord looseth the prisoners."
Romans 6:18 "Being then made free from sin, you have become servants of righteousness."
Galatians 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty (freedom), only use not liberty (freedom) for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another."
1 Peter 2:16 "Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover up for evil, live as servants of God."
2Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."
1Cor. 10:13 "there hath no temptation taken you but such as common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able. But will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
Matt. 26:41 "watch ye then and pray for the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
2Cor. 12:10 "therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake, for when I am weak, then I am strong."
Romans 12:2 "And be ye not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the live which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
1 John 4:4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Romans 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."
There are many more of these truths. Neither you nor I can change these men’s lives. Only God’s Word planted in the hearts of these men will change their lives. The goal of Pilgrim Ministries is to try to set these men up in the best possible atmosphere for the Word of God to be able to take root and change their lives. Terri and I try to live our lives in such a way that these men can see the difference God has made in our own lives. We want them to experience the true freedom, the wonderful grace, the never ending mercy, and the abundant love that God has shown us. We do not require the men here to do anything more than we do ourselves. We require them to go to church every time the door is open as we do. We encourage them to do daily devotions and pray as we do. We encourage them to become active and serve at church as we do. We give them a drug and alcohol free home in which to grow. We try to help them with their finances, court cases, family crises, and any other areas of their life of which they choose to make us a part. We have weekly bible studies as part of the discipleship training and in some of our Bible studies we use DVD’s from Dr. Charles Stanley, Dr. Johnny Hunt, and Dr. James Merritt; as well as pastors from local churches who come lead bible studies. We try to give them good sound Biblical doctrine and who can better make those provisions than some of these great servants of God.
These men need to know that they are loved, that there is hope for them, that there is a better way of life, that God can change their lives, that God does forgive and forget, that they can experience true freedom, and most of all that they are not addicts or will they be in recovery for the rest of their lives. These men are no longer in addiction, addicts, or alcoholics. If they have truly put these sins of bondage at the foot of the cross and given their lives over to Christ then they are no longer the men they once were. They are now brothers in Christ and servants of righteousness. God’s word is either true or it is not. There is either perfect liberty/freedom or there is not. Either you believe God’s word or you do not. God’s word either sets you free or it does not. What does God say about this situation in his Word? We believe God in His Word when it says you are a new creature - the old has passed; we believe that the when God says if the Son sets you free you are free indeed; we believe God’s Word when it says you have not be given over to the yoke of slavery, when it says you are freeman a servant of Christ, and the concept of justification (just as if I had never sinned). Can you find anything contrary to these terms in the Bible that would suggest that a man is still an addict, still in addiction, or an alcoholic if he has truly given his life over to Christ? Deuteronomy 8:3 says “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” Psalms 119:128, 138 says “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way. Thy testimonies that thou hast commanded are righteous and very faithful.”
Pilgrim Ministries will not skirt the truth of the issues. These men need Jesus and they need him now. The responsibility of every Christian is to share the truth with as many people as we can and then let God do the rest. We are not responsible for whether they do anything with it. All we can do is continue to share it with them as often and as much as we can when they are willing to listen. I cannot set a man free nor can a program, but the person who can set them free is Jesus Christ. Once they come to know him then we are to start discipling them and help them in the process of maturing called sanctification. That is where most of the men are in our ministry. We often hear the question asked "how successful is your ministry?" or "what is your success rate?" Our answer to that is 100% successful as long as the men keep their lives surrendered to the Lord. The men often ask this question, "How can we experience deliverance?" Deliverance has two parts to the definition. The first part "to be set free" - Jesus does that. The second part "surrender to" - the men must do this for themselves. Their success is determined by their willingness to stay surrendered to Jesus who has set them free. Salvation is a free gift given to every man who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior and truly believes in their heart that he paid the price on the cross by the shedding of His blood. Freedom comes from what a man does with that gift after he receives it. Does he continue to read his Bible daily and grow? Does he continue to seek God’s face daily in prayer and meditation? Does he continue to seek out Christian fellowship with members of his church and other Christians? Does he continue to go to Church and seek out ways to be a servant? Does he continue to trust and believe the promises of God’s Word? This is what Pilgrim Ministries tries to teach and instill in these men’s lives. This is what will truly make a difference of whether or not they experience the freedom God is talking about. You will not find this at A.A., N.A., or some of the other so called Christian addiction programs. Two places you can find these concepts - one is at Pilgrim Ministries and the second is the Bible - God's word.