Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, even health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others. – Psychology Today
How is it that I commonly hear “Christians” state that they are addicted to something? I realize that in many cases we should not take statements literally, but more and more lately I encounter a professing Christian say something like, “I am addicted to Starbucks”, or even “I am addicted to him/her”. Do we not realize that an addiction is an illness, a compulsive state of being that is hazardous to your physical, mental or emotional health? I have a close relative who makes no qualms about declaring how she is addicted to nicotine, and that she knows that it’s shortening her life, but that she just cannot quit it. I have pointed out all of the obvious scriptures about cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit..(2 Cor. 7:1), and God delivering us from our afflictions (Ps, 34:19) but they just don’t seem to register with her. She derives so much pleasure from inhaling the very thing that is stealing years from her life. To her credit, she has promised herself that she will quit soon, even though that promise was made almost a year ago.
Drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling…easy addictions to address but what about the less common ones:
Food. Something so harmless. Something that we need to sustain us. Who would even think that it could also be a deadly addiction? I know people who are addicted to food. I spoke with a co-worker last week and she told me about her elderly mother; her mother cannot be left alone because she eats, eats and then eats again. Right now she is struggling with morbid obesity because she forgets that she has just eaten and will prepare another meal and eat again. This is a dangerous addiction for which people continually make excuses.
Love. Back in the 1980s a popular singer made a song titled, “Addicted to Love”; the opening lyrics to this song are:
Your lights are on, but you’re not home
Your mind is not your own
Your heart sweats, your body shakes
Another kiss is what it takes
It looks to me like he’s saying that because of love you are out of your mind. Why would something that God created for His good make you lose your mind? Have you ever met someone who was obsessed with finding love, or as they might word it, “the right one”? Instead of waiting for and trusting God they go from relationship to relationship believing that this time they have found “true love”. OR, and this is a biggie, they troll the “singles ministry” in the church hoping to find the one that God has placed there for them. If that doesn’t work out they will sign up for the singles seminars hosted by the big name churches/pastors. This is addiction and it is unhealthy; it can lead to lust and desire and from there, sin.
The cycle. Addiction usually starts with an emotional trigger, something like a loss of income or death or even something as little as an insult. This will produce a craving for your addiction. Have you even seen someone need to “light up” after a stressful situation? Those situations become rituals which lead to using of your addiction regularly and it produces guilt. And the cycle begins again. Yes, it is possible to quit for a while, but without a radical change, rest assured that the addiction will rear its ugly head in the future. Why? Because as Robert Palmer states in the lyrics above, “your lights are on, but you’re not home and your mind…” does not belong to God. It’s as simple as that. Once Jesus Christ is welcomed in we should not need a 12-step program, detoxification or therapy. We only have to ask for deliverance from the bondage of sin and addiction. God truly does know our hearts and He knows that when we ask for something if we are sincere in asking; He can and will deliver us, but only if we are as fully committed to being delivered as He is in delivering.
Isaiah stated, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound..(61:1), and this blog is intended for those who are bound in addiction. The excuse that “I can’t help it” should not apply to professing Christians because we already know what WE cannot help.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. – Ps. 121:1-2.
Whom the Son sets free is free indeed!