Over the past week, this blog series has addressed some pretty major subjects, such as bitterness and anger, feelings of inadequacy, guilt, worry, stress, anxiety, etc. But we saved maybe the hardest one for last. So batting clean-up for this series is addiction.
The difference between this and the others is that while the other subjects have been mental, emotional, and spiritual, this one also introduces a very felt physical element. Addiction hits us on every side. You might be addicted to one of the “usual suspects,” such as:
- Illegal narcotics
- Prescription drugs
These tend to be the first things that come to mind. But here are some other things you can be addicted to:
- Your cell phone
- Adrenaline, always having to find that kind of “high” from doing something daring or dangerous
- Power, influence, and control
- Facebook and other Social Media networks
These lists could go on and on. The things we can be addicted to are infinite in number. The key phrase is this:
Addiction and idolatry are very closely tied together. Idolatry is anything other than God that becomes an object of worship or that controls your life. Your addictions naturally and quickly become objects of worship in your life.
Obviously some of the things on the list are debated among groups of people. For example, some people think that drinking alcohol of any kind, even a sip, is sinful. Others things it’s ok to have a drink as long as you don’t get drunk. Still others think there’s nothing wrong with getting drunk as long as it’s all in “fun” and as long as it doesn’t “get out of control.” Then there are those who think none of it is “sinful,” except that we shouldn’t do anything that would cause someone else to have a problem or to negatively affect our influence or example among others. And that’s all just on the subject of drinking.
The problem with any of these possible addictions is that they eat away at us spiritually. Who we are changes over time because of the need or desire these things create within us to have more and more. In our lives, when we have more and more of anything material, it always means we have less and less of God.
Addictions are sneaky, too. We often deny that we’re addicted. “I can quit anytime I want…” Whether it’s intentional or not, we tell ourselves the lie that we are in control, when in reality, we’re anything but. These things take God’s place in our lives. We push Him out to let them in, or push Him away to keep them around.
The purpose of today’s blog isn’t to give some kind of Biblical, spiritual, or even medical argument to fight these addictions. I’m not here to call you or anyone else on the carpet for anything specific. If you’ve read this far, then you already know in your mind what it is that this all applies to in your life.
What we’re here to do is talk about how to be David and knock down all of these Goliaths we fight in our lives on a daily basis. It can feel like a losing battle, but it doesn’t have to be. So what do you do to conquer your captor of addiction?
1. Turn to God. Romans 6:12-14 says,
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires…but rather offer yourselves to God…for sin shall not be your master.”
This battle is all about who your master is. Who (or what) calls the shots in your life? What are you doing now that you’re going to regret down the line? Those things are taking God’s place in your life. We need to turn to God for strength and to give Him control. Make Him the master. Give Him the wheel. He pulls the strings and calls the shots. Acts 3:19 says,
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”
2. Share your struggles with someone you trust. This is all about accountability. Get someone you respect and who is worthy of your trust to help you in your battle. There is strength and healing in that kind of friendship. James 5:16 says,
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.”
The question is, do you want to be healed? Before you can defeat addiction, you have to want to. You have to make up your mind that you have a problem in your life, and then decide that you are going to win the battle at all costs. You have to:
3. Fight for freedom. Just like we said yesterday, this is not a battle we fight on our turf. We need supernatural strength that only comes from God. We aren’t fighting flesh and blood…we’re fighting Satan, who may be unseen, but still flees at the mention of the name of God. We have, through Jesus, the ability to defeat Satan. 2 Corinthians 10:3-4 says,
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
What weapons do we fight with? The Bible is our sword. The more you know it, the better you can use it. Just like soldiers trained with swords, you have to train with the Bible. When you do, you can demolish the strongholds of addictions you fight in your life, no matter how strong they may feel. Remember that you’re also not fighting alone, but that God is before you in battle.
Prayer is another weapon you have in the fight. Pray for courage, strength, perseverence, control, and focus. Pray for God’s help. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill your life. Pray like your life depends on it. Remember that, as 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, there will be no temptation you’ll face in life that is beyond your ability to withstand. God wouldn’t let that happen to you. He will never let you be in a position where it is impossible for you to win. That verse tells us that
“when you are tempted, he (God) will also provide a way out…”
Temptation doesn’t come from God, but what you can count on from God is a way out. Just ask.
Addiction is a complicated, complex, difficult subject. I am certain that this blog post won’t solve your problem, but I hope it will inspire some thought that will help you get started in the right direction. If you would like to talk about your story, or if I can help you in your battle, please contact me and tell me how I can help.
To help you process all of this, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What is your addiction?
- Mastering our addictions requires obedience to God. What is God asking you to do?
- Read 1 Corinthians 10:13. How can you apply that verse to your struggle with addictions?