Why are there so many Christians who are falling into addictions of all kinds? What is the real issue?
The dictionary describes addiction this way:
a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence : the state of being addicted. a strong inclination to do, use, or indulge in something repeatedly
The Bible describes it this way:
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16.
I will add, that addiction is the practice of idolatry. Idolatry is the putting of someone/something in the place of God and going to these to get our needs met.
I believe our struggle with addiction is because we assume the world’s way of viewing and have taken its way of treating it as well. We must take the biblical view for addiction if we are to obtain our freedom.
It is only God who knows our true needs. When we look for answers to our problems in the world, and each other the solution we come up with will be no deeper then our flesh and carnal mind and the pathway that will lead us to idolatry.
His answer to our need will never be found in this world nor among its philosophy but found only in Jesus Christ; Luke 4:17-19.
A forgiven sin is a powerless sin. Jesus took the power of sin that was over us so we can now walk by faith to experience its reality!
We must understand the Gospel – another reason why we struggle is we don’t. Our faith must be in the truth and many of us don’t understand or know that the gospel is much more than believing that Jesus died for us.
See What is the Good News Anyways? for more on the Gospel.
Christ died for us yes, but we too must die – in order to live:
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. 7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. 8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. 9 We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus. Romans 6:5-11
The Good News is that Jesus made a way for us so we may be forgiven of our sins and have been reconciled to God so we can now live in righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! Even though we have all this, it does not make it easy because to live according to our new life there is a cost. We can see the severity and the cost when Jesus speaks this-
“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” Matt 5:29-30
We know that Jesus is not advocating for us to go around cutting off our body parts, but rather explains that it will be painful to us when we deal with sin and what happens when we don’t!
Our flesh will rise up and scream and demand to be soothed you can count on it. It will be a time to take every measure to remove any temptation of the sin that has us snared, and to think always 3 steps ahead. A time to cut things out and off that once was part of your life and that will not be pleasant.
We have the victory over the sin of addiction, we just need to begin walking towards it. How do we know the way?
Jesus tells us the He is the way, the life and the truth John 14:6
He also gives us the directions to Himself:
“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Luke 9:23
And He reminds us that the way is going to difficult, but we are able because He has overcome for us.
Addiction is all about serving self and indication that Jesus is not on the throne.
Get your battle clothes on addicted soul! Determine to claim the victory waiting for you and set out by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to lead you the way!