A couple of years ago, I began suffering from terrible, crippling pains in my knees. I went to see a doctor and he sent me in for an X-ray. The X-ray revealed that I had severe arthritis in both knees, and that the years of abuse and injuries from practicing several martial arts plus my poorly managed weight had all contributed to damage my knees and ankles to the point where I couldn’t run or squat without almost passing out from the pain. I was devastated because martial arts and physical exercise are among the few things in which I found genuine pleasure and personal challenge. The doctor suggested I go for knee replacement surgery in the near future, but to manage the pain he prescribed the controversial pain killer Tramadol. Now Tramadol is a narcotic drug, and a pharmacist will only sell it to you if you have a doctor’s prescription. He put me on a daily dose of 50mg twice a day, and warned me to make sure I seek further treatment, as the Tramadol was only to help me manage through a critical period at work.
I began taking Tramadol as prescribed, but after some time I found that the duration of relief was starting to reduce. I needed to take it more than twice a day if I was going to get through work, and without talking to my doctor, I upped my dose to 50mg 3 times a day. Before long I discovered that 50mg wasn’t taking the edge off the pain anymore, so I started taking 100mg of Tramadol per dose. Shortly after that my doctor relocated abroad, and without his prescriptions I couldn’t get Tramadol from the pharmacy close to my house. Unfortunately Tramadol is available on the black market at a very high price, and I began to buy from a local dealer just to get my fix. At the height of my addiction I couldn’t get out of bed without popping a 100mg pill of Tramadol and taking it at least 2 more times before evening. The mellow feeling it gave me soon became a requirement for my productivity. I had become an addict without even knowing how or when it happened. The wakeup call came when I took a sizable amount out of my wife’s ATM one day to buy a few tablets of painkiller. I realized what I had become; the very thing I taught my students to stay away from…a junkie!
Getting off Tramadol was not easy; I prayed to God for relief, and forced myself to stop taking any sort of painkillers. I started going to the gym again and began using the treadmill to walk at least 1 kilometer a day. It was painful, but I stuck at it. I weaned myself of my addiction and endured the agony, forcing the muscles in my legs to get stronger so that they would take some of the pressure off my bones. Slowly the pain in my knees reduced to an ever present ache, but at least I could handle the aching. Now I can box and use a cross trainer without relying on drugs…as long as my wife helps me massage my knees at night.
Sin is a lot like drugs in so many ways. We often resort to sin as a solution to a problem, and most of the time we get into it innocently. But like drugs we soon find that we do not get the fulfillment we experienced the first time we committed the sin, so we sin some more. After this we begin to develop a tolerance to the sin and our conscience no longer bothers us when we sin, so we start to commit other sins that complement the original sin. Finally we become so addicted to a sinful lifestyle that we sacrifice the most important of all our relationships – our relationship with God – just to enjoy that lifestyle. The only way out of sin is to draw closer to God and try hard to live according to the standards that He set for us. This is not easy at all, and many times we will find ourselves in pain and agony while we try to live sin free. But the good news is that living a sin free life opens up a blissful and joyous world of communication with God, because that is His original plan and purpose for us. Living without sin is difficult, and many times in your life you will fall short, but as long as you do not allow yourself to remain in the sin, and as long as you do not let your spirit build up a tolerance to sin you will find that the pain of living sin free will not last; God in His love will even provide you permanent solution to your problem (1Corinth. 10:13).
So in this 2019 try to wean yourself of your dependence on and addiction to sin. The fewer the sins we have in our lives, the happier and closer to God we will feel. Don’t manage the pain; deal with it and I promise you that it will subside. Happy New Year and God bless us all as we resolve to live sin and guilt free.
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