LIFE AT PRESENT is very demanding or many people. For instance, when it comes to earning a living or one’s existence and survival, there are deadlines to meet and competitions to hurdle. Take the parents, there is the demand to meet not only the material needs for their children but also to provide them good education. Furthermore, without sparing anybody, the rapid pace of modern-day life has caused a myriad of health problems with corresponding increase in the cost medical treatment. Hence, dealing with the pressures of today’s difficulty living, it is but natural for many to be anxious trying to find ways to cope.

To overcome or at least deal with these pressures of life, some dedicate themselves to a physical regimen. Others pursue various hobbies, while others are content with taking a vacation whenever the opportunity arises. Tragically, some resort to more extreme methods of dealing with the intense demands of life like taking alcohol and drugs, and in doing so endanger their very lives.

Users may claim that these substances give them a sense of elation and contentment at least while they are under their influence But the negative results of alcohol and drug abuse far outweigh the satisfaction, if any, that one may get, as evidence in the following excerpt:

“Effects of Alcohol and Drug Abuse—Using alcohol and other drugs impair our judgment, making you more likely to hurt yourself and others, to have trouble with the law, to do poorly at work and school, and to have relationship trouble. Alcohol and drugs also have specific health risks; they can damage major organs, increase hour risk of cancers, and even cause death.” (Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, http:www.med.unc.edu/alcohol/prevention/effects.html)

In fact, depending upon the kind of substance being used, the effects can range from severe depression, paranoia, and hallucination to loss of body control and brain damage (http://goforward.harpercollege.edu/pagecfm/ p=1412). It is also a well-known fact that drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs is one of the major causes of vehicular accidents that can lead to death,, not only on the part of a drug-crazed driver but also of innocent motorists and pedestrians.

 

Dealing with stress

Clearly, abusing illegal substances is not the proper way of dealing with the pressures of life. So what is?

“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands. Your decrees are always fair; help me to understand them, that I may live.” (Ps. 119:143-144, New Living Translation)

According to the Holy Bible, one can alleviate the stress and pressure he is experiencing in life by obeying he commandments of God. Considering that He created us (Ps. 100:2-3) it is but right for us to approach Him to deal with life’s demands.

Anyway, should we be surprised that the time we are living in is stressful? II Timothy 3:1 reminds us:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress.” (Revised Standard Version)

Apparently, we should not be bewildered by the pressures of living in today’s world for it was forewarned that in the last days there will come times of stress. Since one cannot escape some level of stress, what is important is how he deals with it. Surely, it is not by resorting to alcohol or drugs.

What is one proof that abusing alcohol or drugs is not the proper way of handling stress? Proverbs 23:31-35 states this:

“Don’t let the sparkle and smooth taste of wine deceive you. For in the end it bites like a poisonous serpent; it stings like a viper You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast  And you will say, ‘they hit me but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it s=when they beat me up When will I wake up so I can have another drink?” (NLT)

 

The peril of substance abuse

When under the influence of alcohol or drugs, one certainly has a feeling of elation, and his troubles seem to be so far away or solved. But in truth, he is just compounding his predicament. For the surreal existence that he escapes to last only for a while, and then reality kicks back in with his problems still unsolved and, in fact, now more complicated.

To earn a living nowadays is very difficult, and what is earned should be used wisely. But for those who abuse themselves with intoxicating substances, they are actually squandering what they have earned—and invariably even the income of others For those with loved ones to take care of, this creates even more stressful and tumultuous arguments at home, since those who are depending on such a person will find themselves lacking in their basic needs.

What inevitably will happen who continues in his alcohol and substance abuse? Ephesians 5:18 states the following:

“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you.” (NLT)

How many people have we heard reach the very pinnacle of success, only to come crashing down to obscurity and shame, due to substance abuse? Such is the peril of allowing oneself to be consumed by the intoxicating lure of alcohol and drugs.

 

Rely not on what’s fragile

Can one trust drugs for a “leg up” or assistance to deal with a task (studies or work assignment) or to cope with a problem?

“What he trusts in is fragile; what he relies on is a spider’s web. He leans on his web, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it gives way; he clings to it, but it does not hold.” (Job 8:14-15, NIV)

Turning to drugs to help one cope with his worries is just like leaning against a spider’s web; such a fragile support easily crushes any time and leaves the dependent at the losing end. That is why, no matter how difficult life may be, he should never turn to drinking or taking drugs He should not even consider it Rather, his complete trust should always be in God.

But who can depend on God when he needs Him?

“Those who trust in the Lord are steady as Mount Zion, unmoved by any circumstance. Just as the mountains surround and protects his people” (Ps 125:1-2, Living Bible)

Members of the Church of Christ (Col 1:12-14; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation) are always reminded to place their complete trust in God. Rightfully so, for as the people of God in the Christian era, they have much to lose, thus:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (I Pet. 2:9-10, NIV)

So what will God do for His servants who place their confidence in Him?

“But those who trust in the LORD for help will find their strength renewed They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” (Isa. 40:31, Today’s English Version)

 

True strength

Many a time in the life of a Church of Christ member has the Lord God come to his aid and rescued him. This in turn is the reason why we can confidently place our trust in Him, no matter how difficult life may be. And since we have the true God, do we need anyone or anything else?

“What else do I have in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I want on earth? My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my strength; he is all I ever need.” (Ps 73:25-26, Ibid)

There is no need for members of the Church of Christ to seek out artificial means of dealing with life’s dilemmas; we have the true who has the greatest assistance one can ever hope for. And he is more than willing to grant His blessings unto us, through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That  is why faithful members of the Church of Christ have the same level of confidence as that of Apostle Paul who steadfastly proclaims:

“I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” (Phil. 4:13, Ibid.)

It thus becomes imperative for a person to become a member of the Church of Christ to receive the strength to face all kinds of conditions and overcome the tribulations of life, and reach triumphantly the day of the promised salvation.

 

By Donald Pinnock

Source: God’s Message Magazine,

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