Q. Recently I re-dedicated myself to the Lord. I grew so weary and heartbroken because of my addiction to a particular sin. One moment, I decided I had enough and got rid of every enabling piece of my addiction, and prayed and fasted for the Lord to deliver me from this addiction once and for all. Two days later, I found myself repeating the same dreaded sin. My question is, how long will it take for the Lord to deliver me? Will it take very long, or could it just miraculously happen overnight? Is there any way of telling at all?
A. There’s no way for me to tell how long your deliverance will take, but you should consider this. Falling back into an addiction only two days after seemingly clearing it out of your life may be an indication that either you’re not totally sure about wanting to be free of it, or else you doubt the Lord’s ability to deliver you.
In the first instance, God will not force you to do anything that you don’t really want to do. That’s why so many people die unsaved even though He doesn’t want anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).
In in the second instance, Jesus said anything is possible for the one who believes and does not doubt (Matt. 21:21-22). But James 1:6-8 says a person who doubts is double minded and should not think he’ll receive anything from the Lord. That means if you really don’t have the faith to believe God will deliver you, then you shouldn’t expect Him to do so.
But don’t be discouraged by this. Many addictions are overcome only after a series of false starts while the addict develops an unshakeable desire and the faith to back it up. Think of this as an opportunity to check your resolve, ask for and receive the Lord’s forgiveness (1 John 1:9), remember that His mercies are new every morning (Lament 3:22-23), and begin again. No matter what happened yesterday, today is always a new beginning with Him. Let it be so for you, too.