Christian Living


Overcoming Addictions 10/20/17

Keep Track of Positive Changes


The Israelites crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. The Lord God had a plan and purpose for them, and they were experiencing a miracle! Imagine how surreal it must have felt to walk across that riverbed, clearly seeing the water held at bay on each side. Joshua had told the leaders of each tribe of Israel to pick up a stone from the dry bed as they walked. When they were all safely across, they set up a memorial using those stones from the riverbed - an altar of remembrance of what the Lord had done. (See Joshua 2-4)

And so it is with us as we accept memorials from our recovery programs, usually in the form of chips, round tokens of progress. Many programs use chips as timeline markers of the miracles the Lord God has done in their lives. Whether it’s 24-hours, a week, a month, a year, or several years – there’s something special about having a chip to hold, to carry in your pocket, or keep in a special place in remembrance of the progress God is helping us with. Our lives are changing and a peek back to what God has done will be powerful and humbling as time goes by. 

In the program I attend, we use an acronym for CHIPS: Changing Habits Is Producing Success. How true! It was powerful for the Israelites to build an altar with the stones the leaders of each tribe had picked up from the dry riverbed. Each day after crossing the Jordan, they had a visual and tangible reminder of the miracle done in their lives. When we’ve been loosed from the slavery of __________________ (name your area of addiction or destructive behavior), we could all benefit from a tangible visual reminder of what the Lord has done and when He did it!

Maybe when you were a child or when you had children, you made a mark on a growth chart (or the wall, or some other easily visible place) to keep track of the inches grown in a year. I’ve even seen some done with photographs that are pretty neat showing progression as a child ages. There is joy and excitement in having a reminder of progress!

In the life of an addiction overcomer, there is usually a date we can pinpoint indicating the very last day we drank, smoked, toked, looked at porn, etc. When you have a day of sobriety, make a note of it with some visual “stone” like the Israelites did after crossing the Jordan. Add more stones as weeks, months, and years pass.

Their victory over slavery was clearly from the Lord. Had the Israelites not taken the steps to gather their things and walk across, history would read differently. Our victory is from the Lord also. He wants us to remember our first day of freedom and look back on it for years to come. He wants us to remember how our lives used to be and how they are now that we are free and learning to walk alongside Him in an entirely different way of life.

What do you do to keep a reminder of the victory God’s given you over some addiction or behavior? How does it make you feel when you see it?

Copyright © 2013 Beth Livingston. Used by permission.

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