Summary: In this sermon, we explore the three steps needed to overcome our addictions.
A. A man stood at a podium and said four short and simple words, “Don’t be like me.”
1. His name was Mickey Mantle.
2. When he graduated from a high school in Oklahoma, he signed with the Yankees.
3. This began a rapid assent to super stardom.
4. Mantle was on 7 world series winning teams. Three time MVP. 500 homeruns. Enshrined in Cooperstown at the Hall of Fame. And Mickey Mantle was an alcoholic.
5. At 60 years of age he was dying of liver cancer. His health eroded from years of alcohol abuse.
6. So, he stood at the podium and said to all the fathers and sons who had looked up to him for so long…“Don’t be like me.”
B. I don’t think that any addict wants the people they love the most to become like them.
1. So, if we don’t want the people we love to become like us, then why not change and become someone they can emulate?
2. Why not experience a God-given extreme makeover and become someone others can follow step by step.
C. As you know, we are in a series called Extreme Makeover – God Edition, and we are addressing some of the hardest character issues we all face.
1. Today we are going to talk about addiction.
2. And whether or not you or I struggle with chemical substance abuse, we can learn something from today’s lesson.
3. If we allow the Holy Spirit to teach us today, He will help us apply today’s principles to building our character.
D. This morning we are in a church and not in some secular institution, so we are going to talk about addiction in ways that they will not.
1. Addiction to alcohol and other kinds of drugs has physical and emotional connections, but it is first and foremost a spiritual problem.
2. Overcoming physical and emotional addiction involves spiritual conviction.
3. Addicts know what it is like to experience the inadequacy of mere will power.
4. All of us can relate to Paul’s words in Romans 7:15 as we struggle with all kinds of sins, but addicts can especially relate as they have said these words in their own way many times.
5. Paul wrote, “I do not know what I am doing. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom. 7:15)
E. Can you relate to those words?
1. We need more than mere willpower to overcome the things that hold us in bondage.
2. We tell ourselves and others to pull ourselves together. To grit our teeth and try harder.
3. We try to live under the illusion that we are in control and that we don’t need anything or anybody.
4. But the truth of the matter is we live in a fallen world. Sin is a powerful force – one that we cannot defeat on our own.
5. We are broken by sin and we do not have the power within ourselves to fix ourselves.
6. Until we surrender to God and allow him to bring about our transformation, we will remain stuck.
7. And God will not force himself upon us. He will let us remain stuck until we ask for his help.
8. Sometimes we call that hitting bottom. For many people until they hit bottom, they won’t look up.
9. Pain is sometimes God’s way of helping us face the truth about ourselves.
10. God allows us to suffer to expose our myth of self-sufficiency.
F. Paul learned these lessons as he journeyed in his service to the Lord.
1. At one point he was under so much persecution that he thought he was going to die.
2. He uttered words that everyone of us on the way to wholeness understands, “Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” (2 Cor. 1:9)
G. Some of us here this morning may be struggling with alcohol or drugs, but the real problem is not that you are powerless over alcohol or drugs.
1. The real problem is that you are powerless over self and sin, and it just happens to be manifested in alcohol or drug abuse.
2. For others the powerlessness over self and sin is manifested in over-eating, over-working, over-spending, or in too much TV watching or video game playing, or in lust and immoral sexual indulgence.
3. To overcome any of these things requires spiritual conviction and a decision to finally give up control of our lives to God.
4. Look at Ephesians 5:15-18, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.”