By TAC TEAM with Dr. Mark E. Shaw

Part 3 of 3

John, Jake, and Donnie are all in danger of dying in the fentanyl epidemic, but how will we pursue them and what message are we going to proclaim to them? Harm reduction methods say:

“Be safe!”

“Take care!”

“Use with a buddy who can help you if you overdose.”

“Use a fentanyl test strip to protect yourself.”

Parts 1 and 2 explained that :

John (age 36), Jake (age 15), and Donnie (age 21) are each pursuing what you and I are guilty of pursuing in our daily life… comfort, or control, of how we feel or how we appear. We are all in the same Jeremiah 17:9 boat of deceiving ourselves with our sin choices.

But NOT a special sin category

The Addiction Connection’s message is not a stigmatizing, condescending view toward John or Jake or even Donnie. Society places John, Jake, and Donnie in a special category of ‘brain disease’ or ‘mental illness’ or ‘substance use disorder’– some kind of ailment that they didn’t cause, were unable to control, and can never heal from — ever. Disorder language results in the hopeless thinking of,

“I was made this way,”


“God created me with this flaw.”


“I can never get rid of this behavior; I can only ‘manage my disorder’ with meds or meetings.”

The Biblical message of hope and transformation says that Jake, John, and Donnie aren’t extra special sinners that God is reserving an extra special judgment for—No!

“Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind”

That call from Romans 12:2 is God’s call to all people everywhere. They are sinners just like you and me (Rom 3:23). John, Jake, and Donnie need God’s amazing grace.

Which one of us have not placed our comfort, our desires, or our love of control at the top of our list for the day’s activities? So all of us can relate to each of them in whatever way they are pursuing their version of their best self or best day.

“It doesn’t take an addict (or alcoholic) to help an addict; it takes a transforming sinner to help another sinner transform.”

(The Addiction Connection Team, September, 2022, National Transformation Month)

Gospel Hope and Help for the Addicted Heart

If you are stuck in an addiction, addiction biblical counselors can point you to Jesus and help you if you need a program. If you are a believer already, help us spread this message of hope in Christ Jesus. Because you are a sinner in need of transforming grace, you can help. It doesn’t take an addict (or alcoholic) to help an addict; it takes a transforming sinner to help another sinner transform. You can start a program in your church or ministry using this video curriculum for Families impacted by addiction or for the people you know who want transformation from an addiction. You can learn to graciously share things like this:

(Excerpted from Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts by Mark E. Shaw, pp. 31-32) Day 13 Transformation: Part 1 and Day 14 Transformation: Part 2) [1]

  • God wants us to not be conformed to this world’s thinking (Rom 12:1-2) about addiction, but be transformed

  • God wants more than being “reformed” – that’s just an improved version of your same old self (p.32)

  • Not “recovery” – that is return to old self also (p.31)

  • Not just clean and sober – that is a good start, but God is aiming for your heart, and wants us confessing, acknowledging, and forgiving others (p.30) as you have been forgiven (Eph 4:32).

  • More like Christ is God’s goal for your life; He wants to make you a new creation! (2 Cor 5:17, 2 Cor 3:18) (p.31)

  • Your answer is not found in self-help, not coping with a lifelong disease, and not support group attendance; but redemption, total transformation, and overcoming sin through being renewed in the mind through the Scriptures. (Mark E. Shaw, Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts, (Bemidji: Focus Publishing) p 33-34.

Freedom from drug use is possible, in Christ!

And freedom from an eternity in hell is possible, in Christ!

This is the Good News of the Gospel. We are entrusted with this news and have the privilege to share it.

 “The only way to overcome God’s curse is with God’s own power provided by the Holy Spirit. Only His power by His Spirit overcomes the curse that God pronounced on mankind’s sin. He alone has the power to transform your life from any addiction that has brought curses to your life.” (Dr. Mark E. Shaw- 2010)

-Shaw, Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts (Bemidji: Focus Publishing, 2010), p.30) [2] [2]

Watch our Transformation Testimonies of people who have gone from death to life. These stories of God’s work in the hearts of his children who have been delivered from an addictive lifestyle are sure to give you the hope of the Gospel and ignite your passion to share the Good News of Jesus.

The Addiction Connection “TAC TEAM” assisted with this article.

Mark E. Shaw, D.Min., CADAC II, CABC, IABC, ACBC, Founder and President of The Addiction Connection, is the author of the new booklet, Fentanyl, the first release in The Transformation Series; Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts; The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective; and Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies, which are all available at Focus Publishing for bulk discounts by calling 800.913.6287. Mark resides in the northern KY, greater Cincinnati area with his wife and four adult children, where he serves Grace Fellowship Church as the Director of Counseling.

[1] Mark E. Shaw, Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts. Focus Publishing: Bemidji, MN, 2010, pp31-34.

[2] Ibid, p.30.