Friday, December 14, 2012

Mr. Mike Quarles new book Helping Others Overcome Addiction.


 "And Such were some of you..." With these words the Apostle Paul proclaimed his Corinthian readers, former drunkards, homosexuals, fornicators, and liars, free. Paul stamped their sinful past Finished, and proclaimed they are now sealed by the Holy Spirit, their identity is complete in Christ- an identity as Saints, with their birthright of freedom. This declaration, And Such Were Some Of You... is what every Christian who is struggling with alcohol or same sex attraction wants to hear.  How did those brand new Christians at Corinth leave behind their past like that? How did they get free from their besetting sins?  Mike Quarles would argue that that is the wrong question. The true question is Who set them free? Answer- Christ. The Christ whose ministry is sight to the blind, strength to the lame, and freedom to the captives, including those who were captive to drunkenness, homosexuality, adultery and lust. Jesus was the Man who changed them. Jesus alone. And we Christians still affirm that God alone can save us- but we usually think there is something we are doing that is keeping us saved, or sanctifying us. It is the same with addiction. We tell the Christian addict that God can help them, but they have to "help themselves"- something not one of us can do. We tell them that God can save them, but they must do something to stay that way.  Men like Mike who struggled with drunkenness and men like Steve who counsel them are told there is an answer out side of Christ, or in addition to Christ, an answer found in programs and meetings and mentors and medication and detox and therapy: an answer found in our own will power. Can those programs help some people? They do. But for someone who just "can't seem to make the program work" can't  "stay on the wagon" and can't get it all together, is there any hope for them? Not in programs- in the Person of Christ. And why should this surprise us?
The message Mike and Steve proclaim is one found all over the New Testament- not one they invented. The message that you can be free from your addiction because you are free in Christ is almost startling. The message is that you are dead to sin whether we look like it,  feel like it, understand it or not! You are alive to Christ, dead to sin. Romans Six teaches this, we are dead to sin, because we are in Christ, and we who are in Him were crucified with Him and are now dead to our sins . We are free from this, this thing that holds us bound, simply because we are in Christ.  
This book is a written both for the spouses, children, or friends of addicts or for a person who had formerly been a drinker and is now free in Christ and wishes to help others. Mike knows the pain of being an addict, and he knows the harm he did as an addict. As he says, he destroyed everything good in his life, and because he has seen the hurt he caused he can speak lovingly to the drinker and his family.
 I found the resources in the back very helpful, and I really appreciated the section on giving the addict an ultimatum, and then giving them the consequences, but never out of vengeance, out of love that is willing to be tough. As Mike says, "Your motivation needs to be because you want to stop enabling someone with addictive behavior to live in a way that is sinful and destructive. It must be because you no longer want to be part of the problem. For them to find their freedom they need to come to the end of themselves and their resources. Only God can bring them to the end of self, but you can choose to stop being a major part of their resources." This is a book that is not about what you can do, or the drinker can do. This book is about what Christ has already done. This book is not written to help us cope, or to help us just barely stay sober. The premise of this book is that Grace can give us lasting freedom, founded in our eternal identity as Christians.We can be free by realizing that we have been given the righteousness of Christ, we are not  filthy sinners anymore, we are the Saints. There is much hope, true hope, for When the Son sets you Free you are free indeed. By Grace we truly can walk in the newness of life. 
   How God's Grace brings lasting freedom.   His ministry is Grace Walk Recovery, along with his coauthor Steve McVey. His website is Together they are dedicated to leading the Body of Christ "back to basic, addiction-breaking truths of His Word. The authors explain these for readers who want to help someone or who struggle themselves, because freedom from addiction is found only when Christians
  • Fully believe what God says about their identity
  • Move beyond the 12-Step concept of inescapable “addict identity”
  • Stop harboring unforgiveness, get radically right with God, and dwell in who they are in Christ, which excludes engaging in addictive behaviors as a lifestyle" 
 Harvest House Publishing gave me this book for a review.

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