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Summary: People can find themselves addicted to many vices these days. Addictions can fall into many categories that are both conscious and unconscious obsessions: drugs, lusts, bad habits, anger, vengeance, politics, intrigue, gossiping, selfishness, gluttony, en

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Overcoming Addictions (Matt 6:24-34)

People can find themselves addicted to many vices these days. Addictions can fall into many categories that are both conscious and unconscious obsessions: drugs, lusts, bad habits, anger, vengeance, politics, intrigue, gossiping, selfishness, gluttony, envy, jealousy, leisure time activities, immorality, etc. Well meaning people can even find themselves addicted to good things that block them from giving their primary love to the Lord Jesus.

Illustration: Moody experienced problems with continual criticism for his poor grammer. He went on to become the great evangelist. But he never got away from his simple commitment and the memories of the first time he stood up to speak as a young man, when one of the deacons assured him that, in his opinion, he would serve God best by keeping still. Another critic praised Moody for his zeal but pleaded with him, saying that he should realize his limitations and not attempt to speak in public. "You make too many mistakes in grammar."

Moody patiently made reply to the man’s concern: "I know I make mistakes, and I lack many things, but I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got." He then quietly looked at the man and searchingly inquired,

"Look here, friend, you’ve got grammar enough. What are you doing with it for the Master?"

Illustration: Few of us have ever met anyone as wild and violent as the man Jesus encountered in Gadara (Lk. 8:26-39). He was obviously under the control of a demonic power that had ripped him from society and had made him a violent, screaming maniac. Jesus delivered him from Satan’s control, however, and returned him to society, sane and respectable.

While Satan undoubtedly still uses demon possession to express his hatred for God and mankind, he usually does so in less spectacular ways. For example, getting people to believe that we are nothing more than chance products of blind evolution is an idea that works very well for him today. Such a belief is attractive to many because it promises freedom from moral restraints and offers immediate gratification. But multitudes who start down the road of permissiveness are soon trapped in a lifestyle of enslaving addictions and shameless practices that rob them of self-respect, satisfaction, and hope. Essentially, Satan has them in his power, just as he had the maniac.

The good news for those trapped in sin is that Jesus Christ still delivers all who turn to Him. And the good news for those who have trusted Christ for deliverance is that we have a message of hope worth telling. (Our Daily Bread)

We once were held by Satan’s chains,

Imprisoned by our sin;

Then Jesus Christ delivered us

And made us new within.

Christ died for our sins to deliver us from our sins

The following are some of the Biblical guidelines for overcoming a variety of addictions.

1. Whatever you allow yourself to be addicted to becomes one of your masters. Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters." Paul writes, "Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey - whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have slaves to righteousness. (Rom. 6:16-18)

2. Ask the Lord’s help in giving your service exclusively to the Lord and His purposes. Paul writes, "Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness. (Rom. 6:19)

3. Consider the advantages of being led by God versus the disadvantages of being led by your addiction. Paul writes, "The mind controlled by the controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. (Rom. 8:6-8)

4. Choose freedom rather than slavery. Paul writes, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal. 5:1)

5. Learn to live by the Spirit’s directive rather than your fleshly pleasures. Paul writes, "Live by the Spirit and you not gratify the desires ofthe sinful nature. (Gal 5:16)

6. Consider the shame and eternal consequences of giving into your addictions. Jesus said, "Why do you call me "Lord, Lord: and do not do what I say? (Lk. 6:46) Then Jesus said, to them, "The Son of Man is Lord ofthe Sabbath." (Lk. 6:5) Since Jesus is Lord, He deserves to be Lord of all aspects of your life - your time, talents and activities.

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