The Casting Away
Cindy looked at the books stacked on her dresser and wondered how it all happened. What had started as a teenage interest in romance novels had blossomed into an adult addiction. Never did a waking hour go by that Cindy did not find some way and somewhere to read. No time for games, no time for family, only the books. Where did it all begin, and how would it all end?
Having been raised in a Christian home, Cindy had a good idea of what to do. Hours upon hours she cried out to the Lord for mercy and begged for strength. Like any addict, her addiction was a constant torment, but each moment there was strength to overcome.
In time, Cindy's nightmare eased. The pull of the books slowly weakened, until there was no real power in its draw. The battle was won. Cindy prayed many prayers of thanksgiving and started trying to piece her shattered life back together.
Hundreds of books in dozens of boxes soon were stacked neatly on the porch. Literally thousands of dollars had been spent on the addiction. While Cindy could not get her original investment back, maybe she could get a little. Days turned into weeks and the boxes still set on the porch, pretty soon she would take them to the used book store and see what they would offer . . . . .
In a small town a thousand miles away from Cindy sat a woman that was fighting a similar, yet distinctly different, battle. Ann had not been raised in a Christian home, had no Christian friends, and did not even own a Bible. The love of her life was astrology. Every day and every moment was filled with thoughts of stars and signs, horoscopes and zodiacs. Her second husband had left her long ago and now all her time was free to read and study the hundreds of books that she had on the subject of astrology.
By sheer "COINCIDENCE" there was a strong Christian woman that worked in the same building as Ann. Day by day she witnessed to Ann and prayed fervently for Ann to be delivered from the demon of astrology. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16). Very soon, Ann found that she was a new convert to Christ with a unique problem. What was she going to do with all the books, charts, graphs, and other astrology paraphernalia that she had spent every extra dollar on for years?
In her backyard, Ann cleared a good size patch of ground. With her own hands, she tore and destroyed every item and gathered them into a heap. Tears ran down her checks as she set the pile on fire. Ann watched the flame consume the pages and smelled the acidic smoke rise to Heaven and offer up her sacrifice. Everything that she had relied on for security was being destroyed. It was the hardest fight of her life, but Ann won the victory that night . . . . .
Both of these stories are true. Both women are real. (I'm not using actual names.) Each story does have a different ending however. Ann is a solid member of her church, and a faithful witness of Christ. Her free time is spent doing volunteer work and ministering to young people about the dangers of astrology. Cindy has relapsed into her addiction with romance novels on several occasions. She is now divorced and her children have all left home. Cindy does not attend church and, if you drove by her home, you might well see a stack of boxes containing cheap paperback romance novels.
"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and CAST IT FROM THEE:" (Matt. 5:29a). The key to victory is THE CASTING AWAY. To rid the temple of anything that would offend the presence of God. The sacrificing of those things that bring temptation. In both instances, to stop reading was not enough, the "temple" had to be cleansed. A final act of commitment had to be performed; to "cast away" that which had once been so precious was an important step in the process.
I do not doubt that both women sincerely wanted to be delivered from the spirits of addiction that controlled their lives. One, however, was willing to go the extra step in proving her dedication. That is the difference between being healed and being made whole.
By Cadi Nobles