Story of Hope: Overcoming Addiction
It may be different for every person, but everyone has something that they truly treasure. For some, it may be the item in their home with the highest monetary value, like jewelry or a sports car. For others, their most valued possession is an heirloom passed down to them through many generations. For a child, it may be their favorite stuffed animal, teddy bear, or toy truck. But regardless of the price, that item is a treasure and something they are willing to care for and protect.
God feels the same way about us. We are His treasure! In the book of Exodus in chapter 19, God reminds us of this in His scripture:
Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” (v.3–6)
This passage occurs after God guides the Israelites out of Egypt, where they lived as slaves for years. Yes, slaves. At the time, they did not hold much value to that society, but to God, those “slaves” were His prize possession. God is telling Moses, and now to us in His Word, that He “carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself” AND now we “will be my treasured possessions.” All God said to Moses, and the Israelites are just as true for us today! We see this in so many testimonies, but right now, here is the story of a guy named Branden.
Even though he had experienced life in a Christian home, growing up in the church, Braden never experienced that Christian community and mentorship that many of us desire and need. He had accepted Jesus into His heart, but he struggled with belonging, and that isolation lead him down a road to find comfort in other more earthly escapes. Branden became addicted to video games and pornography and didn’t want to uncover the underlying hurt that these addictions were covering up.
After graduating from high school and college, Braden had pulled entirely away from his family and church and clung tighter to those addictions. In 2017, Braden was forced to face his struggles regardless of his fear of being judged. He says he knew it was the Holy Spirit tugging on his heart and urging him to seek real help. Thankfully God placed someone he knew from college into his life, and they recommended he try out their church, Woodside Bible. Branden said,
I decided to check it out and felt drawn to specific actions from God; like, go talk to this person, go to this prayer meeting, and etc. There was a time for personal prayer at that prayer meeting, and the Holy Spirit spoke through me. I admitted I struggled with sexual sin. I had never admitted that before. And instead of feeling judged, I felt acceptance from God
From there, Braden was guided towards a recovery group for pornography addiction. By the grace of God, community, and hard obedient work, Braden started defeating his addiction to porn and binge eating. As those addictions took a back seat, he was able to fight his prominent body image issues and realize that God truly values him.
“I really took to heart how God does value me,” Braden said. And knowing this truth positively affected how he would continue to live his life; no longer in darkness and shame, no longer self-condemning, no longer full of anxiety, but instead filled with light and confidence in the God who created him!
When God saved Israel and Braden from the bondage they faced, He brought them into His family and His glory. God sees us, just as He saw them, trapped in a dark situation, and He delivered them! God can free us from anything and bring us to a place of grace, mercy, love, safety, and confidence.
Since joining the church, Braden has become engaged (yay!), built/mended more relationships. He is regularly serving — leading a small group and mentoring others who have struggled with addiction in similar ways he used to. He loves how God has placed him in a position to not only encourage others around him but still keep himself accountable for his actions.
Branden credits all that has happened in his life to God!!!
“It’s 100% God’s grace,” Braden tells us. “I was addicted to pornography for 12 years and since I started that group in April 2018 I haven’t looked at it since then. This is only because of God’s power!”
Glory to God! God saves His people because He treasures them dearly. He can take slaves and make them priceless, treasured people! He can take someone with rampant addiction and zero self-worth and make them a valuable, treasured child of God! Amazing! And he can and will take every person who puts their faith in Christ Jesus, His Son, and make them His precious, treasured belonging!
So, if you are here right now reading this blog post, questioning your value and wondering if God considers you worth saving, know that the answer is a resounding YES! God sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross and resurrect three days later so that you may one day be His treasured child! You can be God’s treasure!