Not only are there wars on every continent, but there are wars raging closer to home, in our society and in our families – the war of SUBSTANCE ABUSE. In warfare, it is vital to know your enemy from your friend. When World War 1 broke out, the War Ministry in London dispatched a coded message to one of the British outposts in the inaccessible areas of Africa. The message read: “War declared. Arrest all enemy aliens in your district.” The War Ministry received this prompt reply: “Have arrested ten Germans, six Belgians, four Frenchman, two Italians, three Austrians, and an American. Please advise immediately who we’re at war with.”
Using the wisdom of God’s Word I am hoping to open your eyes to the deceitfulness of your enemy and the faithfulness of God, based on this verse: Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (Proverbs 27:6).
DECEIVED BY AN ENEMY – I define substance abuse as anything that harms you and has a detrimental effect on those around you. It can include the ABUSE of alcohol, smoking, drugs, bad food. Sky News recently reported a UK study that revealed that out of 100,000 people in the north of England that 455,000 would die a premature death as a direct result of substance abuse. I am passionate about this problem as second-hand cigarette smoke, the stress of an alcoholic father and a poor diet, destroyed my immune system and has resulted in over thirty years of suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis. God describes the empty promises as ‘the kisses of an enemy’. Kisses are an outward show of friendship, but beware when they come from an enemy! These substances offer temporary pleasure, but bring long-term harm and destruction. Advertising promotes the deceit (the kiss of the sars!) promising friends and good times, but they never show the end of the conversation – shattered lives, liver disease, emphysema, theft, lies, addictions. Two biblical examples of deceitful kisses are Judas and Joab. Judas greeted and kissed Jesus before he left to betray Him (Matthew 26:47-49). You may be less familiar with Joab: Then Joab said to Amasa, “Are you in health, my brother?” And Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him. But Amasa did not notice the sword that was in Joab’s hand. And he struck him with it in the stomach, and his entrails poured out on the ground…(2 Samuel 20:9-10). Whatever you are abusing, please consider where it is taking you and how it is affecting those around you. The good news is that God’s Word has a solution for us.
DELIVERED BY A FRIEND – Jesus did not come to earth to reform us, but to redeem us. Please don’t miss this point. He does not want to change your ways, but to transform you from the inside out. In contrast to Judas and Joab, notice the first word Jesus says to Judas after he kissed Him: But Jesus said to him, “Friend, why have you come?” (Matthew 26:50). Jesus is the best friend we all need. You may be wondering how Jesus ‘wounds’ us. Well, while reading this you may feel offended and hurt. You may experience feelings of guilt and remorse because you know that your abuse has not only damaged your life but the lives of others. This ‘temporary’ hurt will be healed by Jesus: It is never fun to be corrected. In fact, at the time it is always painful. But if we learn to obey by being corrected, we will do right and live at peace (Hebrews 12:11 CEV). Jesus died to be our deliverer. He has conquered death, our greatest enemy, so how much more is He not able to deliver you and I from substance abuse.
Satan is a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy. He will use anything, including substance abuse, to destroy our lives. Our first step is to acknowledge the problem. It takes guts and I am sure that it will be painful like a wound. Don’t allow the enemy to kiss you – consider the end of the conversation. The distraction of a kiss can mean a sword in the stomach. Satan has been exposed, but more importantly, Jesus has been revealed as the one who is your friend in all your struggles of life. I encourage you to take responsibility for both your physical and spiritual well-being and turn to Jesus Christ. Who will you believe – the lies of the enemy or the truth of a Friend? Ask Jesus to deliver you and give you abundant life.