God alone knows how many millions, even billions, of people struggle with some form of addiction. To this day, scientists still don’t understand exactly what causes it, even though in some cases they actually can see the part of our brain in which the cravings and desires are located.
Unfortunately, finding the locations of those addictions is not the same thing, however, as freeing us from the addictions.
Addiction is hard on everyone, not just the addict. Family members—parents, spouses, children—all suffer greatly when any member of the family is under the grip of a power that they just can’t seem to get free of.
Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, pornography, sex, even food—what makes these things into addictions is the habitual and progressive nature of their use or abuse. You are unable to stop even when you know that it is harming you. While enjoying your freedom of choice, you become a slave to whatever you are addicted to, and so you actually lose your freedom. Peter has a simple explanation of what an addiction is and its results: “They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living, because people are slaves of whatever controls them” (2 Pet. 2:19, CEV).
What are the things that can lead people into addiction? Luke 16:13, Rom. 6:16, James 1:13-15, 1 John 2:16.
Sin and addiction are not, necessarily, the same thing. You can commit a sin that you are not addicted to, though so often it can turn into an addiction. How much better, through the power of God, to stop the sin before it turns into an addiction. And, of course, the only lasting solution to the sin and addiction problem is by receiving a new heart. “Because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires” (Gal. 5:24, CEV). Paul also explains to the Romans what it means to die to that sinful, addictive nature so we can live for Christ (Rom. 6:8-13), and then adds, “Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires” (Rom. 13:14, CEV).
|Who has not personally known the struggle of addiction, either in our own selves or that of others, maybe even family members? How can you help people realize that it’s not an admission of spiritual failure if, even as Christians, they might still need professional help?|