Summary: An exhortation to holiness.
We live in an addicted society. There are more types of addictions than you can imagine and a hundred books for each to tell you how to overcome them. Things that the Scriptures call sin and lusts of the flesh are now diseases or addictions that one cannot help doing and must be counseled by doctors of various "disciplines" to overcome these terrible diseases.
I do not know how one catches alcoholism or heroin addiction. I know that there are sexually transmitted diseases, but sexual addiction is not one of them. Hmm, is that a viral infection and how contagious is it? Sadly, you have a much better chance of overcoming ravaging cancer and Alzheimer’s than you have of overcoming these other "diseases" no matter how long, advanced or costly the therapy.
I have heard of a woman dying from just smelling the steam off of sizzling shrimp, but if you have a "allergy" or defective gene weakness to drugs can you develop the addiction by smelling the breath of someone that is high? If you kiss a person that has had a shot of Jack Black, will you catch the disease of alcoholism? Can you catch sexual addiction at the Movie Theater or from the public toilet seat? Odd how these diseases bear no resemblance to any other medical conditions commonly considered diseases.
No one has ever entered a cancer center and requested a hypodermic full of malignant tissue be injected. No one has ever entered a blood bank and asked for a shot of tainted blood with a beer chaser. No one has ever gone from kennel to kennel to pay to be bitten by a rabid dog or asking for E Coli infected raw meat at a diner. However, many have willingly stuck a needle filled with a narcotic in their arm and have smoked a rock or a cigarette and found themselves addicted. They have gone of their own volition into bar after bar partying themselves into a stupor until their body could not function without alcohol. Many have voluntarily bought porno magazines and movies and frequented brothels until the Law of Diminishing Return brings them into a jaded lifestyle of perversity seeking pleasure they will never find.
All these new fangled diseases have something in common with the old sins. Someone chose to start an activity that led to the addiction. They are not victims of a plague or epidemic. They are responsible for their problem and until they learn to take responsibility for it, they can never reverse their situation whether it is food or heroin addiction.
Having facilitated a 12-step program for emotional stability that was designed for drug addicts and alcoholics, the following verses jumped at me and I saw a means of obtaining a holy addiction that would be constructive instead of destructive. You get holy addiction the same way as the unholy ones. You purpose to partake of it until it controls you.
1 Cor 16:15-16
15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth. KJV
They addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints. The word addicted comes from a verb that means to arrange in an orderly manner or to assign or dispose themselves to a certain position or fate. They voluntarily assigned themselves to the position of saint ministers and purposed to do it no matter what the outcome of that task may be. They placed themselves in this position not knowing what all it may entail much like a missionary that sails to a foreign land. They allowed that ministry to control their lives and influence their every action.
That is exactly how we become controlled by unholy addictions. We arrange or allow others to arrange the pattern of our introduction to our particular sin and then we dispose ourselves to it until it controls us and influences every part of our life to our hurt.
It is time we submit ourselves to a holy addiction and a ministry to the saints is one we would do well to develop. Many times, we direct all our energies to the Lost or to the World and we neglect the saints. True some spend too much time on "we four and no more" but that is more selfishness than a ministry. They are so self-centered that none of the select are truly ministered to and they become sullen, bitter, backbiters, which do not properly care for anything or anyone. Theirs is a Ministry of Misery.
The usual case in a church that is truly seeking holiness and service is that the energies are being focused outward and no one sees the needs within the Body. This might be due to a misguided concept that the Lord will care for His own and an attitude of "God helps them who help themselves." It is also assumed that those in need will speak up and ask so we think by saying, "If you need me, just call" handles the needs of the Body. Unless you have a very intimate spiritual relationship with that person or are part of the biological family, it is unlikely that they will call. You will need to act to reach them.