Summary: Biblical prescription for overcoming any addiction.
By: Pastor J. B. Hall
Introduction: Addictions are at epidemic proportions in today’s world. Today’s addictions include a wide array of deviant behaviors; and range from drug and alcohol abuse, to addictions to pornography, gambling, excessive spending or shopping, unbiblical relationships, and the list goes on.
Addictions are serious matters; and overcoming them is serious business.
Some will say there is no cure for the addict; that once he is an addict, he will always be an addict; that he can only stay clean, or stay dry, or, in other words, maintain his sobriety throughout his lifetime.
This is false! There is an absolute cure for any addiction! Therefore, we’re not going to look at band-aid solutions, or 12-point maintenance programs. We’re going to get to the heart of the matter; and not look at getting clean and staying clean, but having that addictive bondage broken and replaced by a life of peace, and power, and freedom.
1. Definition of ‘Addiction’
A. In order to understand addiction and how to overcome it, we must first understand what it is.
B. Let’s first look at what addiction is not.
C. First, addiction is not a disease or disorder.
D. Today, we attempt to medicalize destructive behaviors so as to rid ourselves of having to take personal responsibility for our actions.
E. For example: we call the drunkard, an alcoholic; we label the chronic over spender as having OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder); etc.
F. Second, addiction is not inherited because our parents were addicts and passed their addictive genes on to us.
G. Again, we’re always looking for someone else to blame rather than accepting responsibility for our own deviant behavior.
H. Third, addiction is not due to excessive social pressures upon us that we cannot withstand, and therefore must turn to an addictive substance or behavior to help us cope.
I. We cannot simply blame life’s social pressures for our addictive deviant behavior.
J. Addiction is a bondage that begins with a choice that leads to a behavior that is in excess of, a perversion of, or a rejection of, the Word and will of God.
K. In excess of – Ephesians 5:18 says, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
L. So, addiction can begin by doing or ingesting something to excess.
M. A perversion of – Romans 1:25a says, “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator…”
N. So, addiction can begin by perverting the Word and will of God.
O. A rejection of – Romans 1:28 says, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;”
P. So, addiction can begin by rejecting the Word and will of God.
Q. Again, addiction is a bondage that begins with a choice that leads to a behavior that is in excess of, a perversion of, or a rejection of, the Word and will of God.
2. Prevention is Better than Cure
A. Just as we must not medicalize a spiritual problem; neither must we spiritualize a practical or medical problem.
B. We cannot discount the pressure of personal abuse, economic difficulty, or broken relationships, and the external role they play in pushing one toward some practice or substance to anesthetize his pain.
C. These, and other difficulties, are real pressures that we as a nation, a church, and especially as individuals need to address in being a neighbor and trying to help those who are hurting cope in a Biblical way.
D. Some people have much greater difficulty coping with pressures than do others.
E. We Christians cannot just simply dismiss the role life’s pressures play in impelling someone to search for a quick-fix release.
F. We must recognize their need for help, and get involved in preventing addiction before we are faced with having to help them overcome an addiction.
G. Our involvement or negligence will often make the difference between whether or not someone becomes entangled in an addiction.
H. Romans 15:1 says, “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
I. There are also other factors that come to bear in a person’s life that could make him/her more prone to addictions, as well.
J. Psychological or emotional instability can be a powerful influence that will motivate someone to find a quick solution to mitigate his pain and frustration.
K. Identifying these problems early, and helping someone find a workable regiment to manage their difficulty, can be a powerful inhibitor to what would otherwise end up in an addiction.
L. Those who are saved understand the danger and damage an addiction brings to a person and to those around him.