Summary: Deliverance from addictions - 2 ways, man’s way and God’s way
Deliverance from addictions - 2 ways, man’s way and God’s way
Webster’s definition of addiction – To devote or surrender oneself to something (or
someone) habitually or obsessively.
What are some of the more common addictions? Admiration (by others), Alcohol, Anger, Cigarettes, Coffee (and caffeine), Danger, Drugs (illegal and prescription), Envy, Evil, Exercise, Fantasies (sex or romantic or heroic), Food, Glue, Gossip (discrediting others to make me feel better about myself), Hobbies, Internet, Jealousy, Lying, Masturbation, Pornography, Power, Self-pity, Sex, Sleep, Sleeping pills, Sports, Status, Someone wrong for me, Stealing, Swearing, Television, Violence and Work.
We all are or have been addicted, and most of us with many of them. None of us therefore can be aloof, judgmental and without compassion for those plagued by the more obvious addictions just because ours happen to be of the more secret kind.
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind…
In addiction, our flesh strongly desires something (or someone). Our will is taken captive by our flesh and is unable to say no to its insistence that we give in to what it wants.
1 Pe 2:11 Do not give in to bodily passions, which are always at war against (and seek to conquer) the Soul (the will) – (But the addicted can’t say no). TEV
Addictions often come in groups – for example, alcohol, smoking and sex; envy, lying and gossip – why is that? It’s because the flesh has an insatiable desire for pleasure and to have its longings gratified. When I keep conceding to the flesh in one area the flesh simply gets bolder and more controlling over my will to give in to it in other areas.
Our heavenly Father’s heart concerning addictions– He longs to deliver us from them, not just because they may be harmful to us, and others, they often are. But because we go first to our addiction for relief in tough times and reward ourselves first with our addiction in good times, instead of going first, in love and dependency, to Him. This saddens Him.
Addictions are idols by another name: Since I value or love my addiction more than I love God – because I go to it so often in preference to Him – addictions meet the basic definition of an idol, which is something or someone valued or loved more than God. Every time I indulge my addiction I’m in effect worshipping my idol.
The Bible speaks everywhere about addictions – it calls them the lusts of the flesh – something or someone my fallen human nature strongly wants and wants now. The Bible makes it clear that our basic human nature is unchangeably prone to addictions. But the Bible also provides the most sure way, in Christ, to overcome these lusts, which have the potential to ruin us while we’re on earth and the potential of depriving us of Heaven.
Sobriety or relief comes when the addicted person’s will is empowered to say no to the lusts of the flesh. For the strongly addicted this can be brought about in one of two ways:
1 A more human solution – long term participation in an AA type of sobriety program:
Man’s approach to strengthen the will to say no to the flesh’s craving for what it wants, is by attending AA types of meetings on a near daily basis, daily contact with a sponsor and sincere participation in a 12 step type of program. This daily association with others who battle similar desires but whose words testify to the horrors of addiction and the delights of sobriety, greatly strengthen and encourage the will. In this supportive, non-condemning but not-enabling environment (what every Church should be), such words constantly feed the thought life and this empowers the will to over-rule the urge thoughts of the flesh. But often the will and the flesh remain in constant tension. Also as many discover, if this strict daily regimen is not actively maintained the will loses its power and becomes at risk of caving in to the ever present desires of the body. The Bible describes this predicament:
Rom 7:20-8:2 Now if I am doing what I don't want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp…Oh, what a terrible predicament I'm in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord…For the power of the life-giving Spirit - and this power is mine through Christ Jesus - has freed me from the vicious circle of sin and death. TLB - Isa 10:27 The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing KJV