Isolation and Encouragement
Rotting Fruit on the Vine – Lesson 1 of the “Overcome” Addiction Recovery Curriculum
There is nothing more disheartening or defeating, than for a farmer to look out on his orchards and see fruit rotting on the vines. This is a two-fold failure. Wasted effort on his part and wasted resources that could have gone to something more productive. It’s not that the tree is incapable of producing fruit, it is simply left abandoned. Fruit bearing trees, much like us humans were not designed to operate in isolation. In fact, nothing in our universe is created to operate by itself.
When someone does you wrong, when you get hurt, what is your first reaction? For many of us it may be anger or sadness. But for some of us, our first reaction is to withdraw. We isolate from everything, including God. By isolating, we focus on the offense and on the self. We become near-sighted so much so, that we no longer look outside of ourselves, and the weight slowly becomes unbearable.
While the contrasts between introversion and extroversion are entertaining to discuss, they sadly don’t factor into this discussion on isolation. We are talking about isolation as an emotional response to what another person may or may not have done. It becomes an effect. We don’t typically isolate when things are going well. Isolation is a reaction we have when we are hurt or feel rejected. I was angry with God for the biggest portion of my life and all I produced was destruction. Dead fruit.
An individual needs a correct Godly perspective if they are to combat this deadly device that is used by our enemy. Satan’s main objective is to separate us from others; to get us away from those who can speak grace, truth, compassion, guidance and correction into our life. Those that would encourage us to keep walking instead of withdrawing or looking to the company of those who would bring us down. Misery loves company in that sense. We all need someone in our lives who is going to say “Look, I love you, but you are screwing up.”
Jesus Reached Out
We begin our series with the second shortest verse we cover. And by all accounts, this is a relatively easy one to memorize.
I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you.John 14:18
The context of this scripture is what is ultimately important. Jesus is speaking and makes a promise to His followers. This is during the last supper, what is typically referred to as the Upper Room Discourse and it is the promise of the Holy Spirit. Memorize it. Claim it. Pray it back to God.
When I first became a Christ follower, I was repeatedly told to hold on to God’s promises. At the time I had no clue what they were talking about. No one specifically told me what they were or what it meant, or even where to find them. I know from personal experience, when the darkness begins its slow creep, you need something to hold on to. You need an anchor. You need a promise. For all of us, God’s word must speak louder than the world if we are going to overcome anything. Knowing and believing what is in the bible is the difference between being overcome versus overcoming.
Unfortunately, isolation is my preferred means of existence. For me, it is safer and less headache. Completely selfish, I admit. It is easy to diagnose from the outside looking in, almost impossible to recognize for the one disengaging from society though. Why? Because it is a justified reaction. It is so engrained in our thought process that it is the only logical conclusion, a defense mechanism, the go-to when we need it. The stark reality is, when I began to handle everything by isolating, the descent into darkness became all the much easier and attractive. When we isolate, we only seek to serve ourselves and that becomes a cyclical cycle that quickly morphs into a spiral. To break the pattern, we have to seek to serve others.
Now, how do we get from wilting to bloom, from being isolated to serving others? Sound like a pretty hefty task? Firstly, we realize that when we isolate, we are focusing so intensely on ourselves and our circumstances that we don’t think about anything else. We are consumed by it. With all of this being said, here is the main point:
Overcome Addiction Recovery Curriculum
Application – Focus Less on SELF by Serving OTHERS
Serving others can look like many different things. Actions, words, presence. Some illustrations can range from encouraging someone to keep doing well if you know they are struggling, all the way to simply holding the door for someone else, even a courteous thank you. Have you ever feel alone going through recovery? Chances are other people do too. Part of recovery is not only being willing to have someone reach into your life, but also being obedient to reach into someone else’s life, as God directs.
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up just as you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
The people we come into contact with on a daily basis is the mission field. These may be your coworkers, your family, your friends. And God has equipped you with a story comprised of your hurts, your struggles, your victories… your testimony. He has also equipped you with talents and gifts. God has placed you in these positions and situations you are in for a purpose. His glory. All of this leads to a final application:
Seek an opportunity to serve one person this week.
Did you miss the other lessons in this series? Click see the entire the Overcome: Addiction Recovery Curriculum Series.
We always look forward to meeting new people at our Tuesday night support group meetings at 6:30 pm, located at Mud Creek Church in Hendersonville, NC. Our classes are designed to teach biblical principles for addiction recovery through discipleship. Our goal is to show the love of Jesus by supporting those who need it most.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit: The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Christian Leadership Book