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Beware of Hopium

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Beware of Hopium

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We are in the midst of a national epidemic of the use of methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, fentanyl, heroin and other drugs to get high. There are daily reports about overdoses, death and crimes committed. The damage on a national scale is almost incomprehensible. But of all the chemical drugs and methods people use to get high, what is the worst one? 

Believe it or not, there is a dangerous drug you haven’t heard of but need to know about, because you will be tempted to use it! What’s it called? “Hopium.”

What is “Hopium?” Hopium can be defined as: “making decisions based on hope,” “breaking the rules but hoping things will work out okay,” or “choosing not to think about evidence that does not support what you hope for.” Hopium can also be understood as being dishonest with yourself when you choose to do something you know you should not do, reasoning that somehow the rules won’t apply this time. Hopium is often based on emotions or wants, not facts and reality.

Hopium in Action

So, what are some examples of Hopium in action? Besides chemical drug use, here are some simple examples to consider:

Have you ever neglected to study for an exam and hoped that somehow you would still get a good grade? Hopium, causes you to develop habits, and habits shape your future. Choosing to waste time during school or neglect homework while assuming you will have a great career with excellent income can be one costly result of Hopium. 

Gambling is another example of Hopium in action. Millions of people regularly spend their hard-earned money chasing the illusion of easy winnings from a machine or lottery game. Gambling machines and games exist to take money from people, not give it away. False hope—Hopium—clouds our vision by replacing the truth with a fantasy. The Bible gives us the formula for financial success in Proverbs chapter six: Follow the example of the ant working hard and saving up for the future. We are also warned in Proverbs 15:27 Proverbs 15:27He that is greedy of gain troubles his own house; but he that hates gifts shall live.
American King James Version×
, “He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house.” 

Impulse purchases are also often the result of Hopium. It is easy to make an emotional decision to buy clothes, gadgets or even a car that you cannot afford. Hopium results in signing your name on the line for a loan that is beyond your budget, hoping that somehow you will be able to pay it off later. Engaging in use of this drug, Hopium, causes you to ignore the warning: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 Proverbs 22:7The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
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). 

We are warned by James, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14 James 1:14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
American King James Version×
).

Hopium in Love

Hopium does some of its greatest damage when it enters into relationships. To share just one story: Mary (name changed) called her minister in tears. Her husband was in jail for driving under the influence. When my wife and I arrived at her house, she said she was afraid because her first two husbands had died in auto accidents while driving drunk. She was 29 years old and had married a third alcoholic. When asked why she married men she knew had a drinking problem, she replied, “I always thought they would quit once they were married to me.” Unfortunately, Mary’s Hopium story is all too common.

When our Creator designed us as male and female He said, “It is very good!” And indeed, it is when done God’s way. To find a life-mate who shares your desire to obey God and be in His kingdom is one of the greatest experiences a person can have in this life. Peter (the apostle referred to as being married and taking his wife with him on his travels) describes this as being co-heirs “together of the grace of life” (1 Peter 3:7 1 Peter 3:7Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
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). When dating and thinking about romance, the aim of finding a like-minded, godly mate should be at the forefront of your mind. The most important qualities to assess about anyone you’re considering dating are their character and dedication to following God. Everything else is secondary.

All too often, the emotions and desires of a relationship provide lots of room for Hopium to do great damage. While young men are just as able to deceive themselves about a girl they are interested in, it’s the young ladies who are often in the greatest danger of a Hopium-induced romance that can damage them for many years to come. 

Illustration of a man and woman, backs to each other, with tense faces in disagreement

Many young women have been known to tell themselves that a young man with a bad track record will somehow change after she is “with him.” In their desire for a relationship, they will convince themselves that he will change, or that the things he has done in his past are somehow just temporary, or even worse, that if she does not give in and marry him no one else will come along. 

Young men can make the same mistake. Dating someone outside of your faith, hoping that they someday “come around” to understanding the truths of the Bible is a prime example of Hopium. There are some excellent books available that provide superb guidance in evaluating relationships. Talk to your pastor or an adult you trust and ask for some recommendations. 

Additionally, there are some crucial red-flag warning signs that should not be ignored under any circumstances. If you are dating or interested in someone and you find them lying to or manipulating people, using illegal drugs or pornography, having outbursts of anger, or simply being lazy and wasting much of their time, don’t walk away, RUN! God says to you, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 Proverbs 4:23Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
American King James Version×
). Hopium in relationships can cause great mental and emotional damage in your life.

So what desirable qualities should you be on the lookout for if you are a young man seeking a wife? Paul wrote about young women in the Church during his time: “The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit” (1 Corinthians 7:34 1 Corinthians 7:34There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
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). A girl whose main goal in life is to be holy in body and spirit will make a wonderful wife! And what should a young lady look for? The same qualities: “He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord” (verse 32). Search for a young man who desires to obey and please God. If you follow Paul’s advice here, you can’t go wrong!

Sources of Hopium

The Bible contains many examples of people who were high on Hopium and made terrible and costly mistakes. Genesis 34 tells the tragic story of Dinah, a young lady who thought the rules didn’t apply to her but hoped everything would work out. As a result, hundreds of people died, and she is never mentioned again. Other examples include men like Achan (Joshua 7), Gehazi (2 Kings 5), King Saul and even King David—who all sinned while hoping things would still be okay. All had to endure the consequences of their Hopium-induced decisions. But what was the the source of their bad decision-making? 

One source of Hopium is bad advice or bad examples from friends. Proverbs 12:26 Proverbs 12:26The righteous is more excellent than his neighbor: but the way of the wicked seduces them.
American King James Version×
warns us about the bad advice that friends can give: “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray,” and Proverbs 13:20 Proverbs 13:20He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
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summarizes that thought by saying: “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.” 

Another source of Hopium is our own desires and lack of self-control. We are warned by James, “Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (James 1:14 James 1:14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
American King James Version×
), and self-control is listed as one of the fruits of God’s spirit (Galatians 5:23 Galatians 5:23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
). Jesus warned us about the danger of covetousness: “He said to them, ‘Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses’” (Luke 12:15 Luke 12:15And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses.
American King James Version×
).

Antidote for Hopium

If you are in danger of getting high on Hopium, you need the antidote. And there’s only one—Truthium! Living by truth will give you freedom from harmful decisions and relationships. Some of the most important words ever spoken are: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 John 8:32And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
American King James Version×
). But it is not merely given to you, suddenly causing you to become perfect or immune to danger; you must diligently seek out the truth and desire to know it. And what is the source of truth? It comes from God’s word, as Jesus Christ described to his Father in prayer: “Your word is truth” (John 17:17 John 17:17Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth.
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).

God’s word is to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path as we live on this earth (Psalms 119:105 Psalms 119:105Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
American King James Version×
). Living by every word of God—allowing God’s truth to really guide and direct your thoughts and actions—will actually prevent Hopium from influencing you to make wrong decisions in your life. Remember Proverbs 6:23 Proverbs 6:23For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
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: “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life” (English Standard Version). 

As you make decisions every day, seek out God’s will and pray for wisdom. God says He will answer that prayer if it is sincere: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally . . . and it will be given to him” (James 1:5 James 1:5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that gives to all men liberally, and upbraides not; and it shall be given him.
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). 

So, beware of Hopium, but be close to Truthium! CC

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