Round in a Circle

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

It fascinates me how many of Satan's traps are circles that spiral out of control.

  • People smoke tobacco to calm themselves. But the withdrawal of nicotine is jitteriness and anxiety, so the person rushes back to smoke again to remove the very symptoms the drug causes when it leaves his system.
  • People drink alcohol, sometimes because they are thirsty. But alcohol is a drying agent, which makes a person more thirsty, so they respond by drinking more.
  • People also use alcohol to lighten their mood, but alcohol causes depression. The person's mood isn't really lightened, they are just disconnected temporarily from thinking about the problems, so as they come down from the high, they become extra depressed. The problems haven't gone away and the alcohol makes them feel more depressed, so they drink more.
  • People smoke marijuana to deal with stress. However, the withdrawal symptoms of marijuana are stress, anxiety, and paranoia, so the person smokes in a vain attempt to remove the symptoms his pot-smoking causes.
  • Guys look at pornography to relieve their sexual tension through masturbation. But filling their minds with dirty images increases their sexual arousal, which sends them back to pornography more often.

Over and over I see Satan getting people stuck in a cycle of doing things that cause the very thing they want to "solve." Perhaps it makes the effort to get people to sin less on his part. For most, it never stays constant, the person moves progressively deeper into the cycle; just as you have been doing with the drugs you've been using.

Breaking the cycle is painful at first. "Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:11). Sadly, most drug users don't like pain. Real or imagined, they avoid facing discomfort. So the circle remains unbroken.

Isn't it time to be a man? "Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed" (Hebrews 12:12-13).

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