4 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” – Joshua 24:14 – 15 (NIV)
The word addiction comes from the Latin word “ad Dictim” which literally means “to the dictator.” When the Roman army fought against and conquered a nation, the conquered people were sent “ad dictim” or to the Dictator as slaves, having lost all personal rights to be free and were made to live in bondage in service to the Emperor. Usually, the people died in their captivity.
Many of us who are addicted to drugs or some form of compulsive behavior can identify with the feelings of being trapped, being in a hopeless situation and serving the Dictator, who is anything but benevolent to us. However, today, we have a choice. Joshua knew this and asked the people who were led out of captivity from Egypt, “Do we want to serve the God our forefathers served?” He did not, and he reminded the listeners that they had a choice. He made his and he implored them to make a choice as well.
If we choose to remain in the harsh bondage of compulsive or addictive behavior, we may find ourselves practicing out of control behavior, experiencing pain, hurt, hopelessness and a very dark future (Proverbs 4:19). However, Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:28 – 30 (below), that if we wish to “relax the strings” (anapausis or our English word “rest” v. 28) that resemble a noose around our neck, then He bids us to come to Him. We don’t have to let compulsive behavior dictate choices for us. On the contrary, there is a way out of the unenviable bondage of addiction, however, the choice is yours. Make a choice today and choose soberly.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”