What’s an Addiction?

An addiction is a bondage of the heart and body to something that produces immediate pleasure or relief. This bondage becomes increasingly destructive over time. Addictions seek to rule the heart by promising the sensation of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

Addictions have an object, such as visual stimuli like pornography or television; ingested substances like food, alcohol, or pills; possessions like a home, a car, or even shoes.

Indulging in addiction brings short-term pleasure or relief. However, the soul and body experience pain and decay with each indulgence in the long run. Addictions have a negative toll on every aspect of your life; your relationships may suffer. Your bank accounts may shrink. Most addicts know that what they are into is wrong, but they are victims of the “just one more” lie.

If you think Christians are immune to addiction, you are wrong. Addictions strive to make us not live according to what we say we believe. When our cravings conflict with Scripture, we become a contradiction of what we profess. Kate says “Jesus is Lord” at church on Sunday, and on Monday, she itches to shop. Her husband says he loves his wife yet views pornography. Anna sings and plays the keyboard on her church’s worship team, but she looks for sexual relationships with men when she feels lonely.

This disconnect is described in Scripture. In the book of Romans, chapter 7, verses 19 & 20, the Apostle Paul says, “when I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. 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.”

When you or I reject Christ’s rule, we become enslaved to something. We exchange the holy for the unholy because we want self-rule. The created thing enslaves us. We become cold to God.

How to Get Free 

Most important to overcoming an addiction: invite a stronger power to rule. Consider Jesus’ question, “Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?” (Matthew 12:29, ESV).

Here are two more important ways to overcome addiction:

  1.  Pray to be mastered by nothing but the Lord and pursue knowing Christ.
  2.  Confess your sin and repent, or turn away from addiction. You cannot go halfway. You need to totally eradicate it. If you love Christ, you have everything you need to overcome an addiction.
  3. Don’t keep your struggles to yourself. Spiritual battles cannot be won alone.

Addictions like staying private. So it is good that people dealing with addictions of any sort share their struggles with the church. The church is people who say Jesus is Savior and are growing in their love for God and one another.

The church doesn’t have to be perfect for you to find a community of people who love God and her interested in seeing you overcome your struggles. If you seek a good church, you can find a Bible-believing group of believers who welcome those hurting and help them.

Addictions are never broken alone; you will not be able to do it by yourself. That’s why you need God’s people. You need a system and a structure to face your addiction daily with people. For example, if you need someone, you can call on the phone when you feel that urge to drink, eat, or log on to the Internet and you know that you don’t want to go there, but you feel powerless. This is why a community (even a small group) of people is so important in your recovery process.

  • Engage in personal and corporate prayers.

Prayer helps you secure the grace of God to overcome your addictions. However, when you feel weak and overcome by your addictions, you might not be able to wield the inner strength enough to pray by yourself. This is when you involve a spiritual friend, your pastor, and your prayer partner. A believer who can stand with you in faith till the victory is won.

“Confess your faults one to another and pray that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. James 5:16KJV

  • Fill your mind with God’s word.

The power of addiction is in your mind. Until it has taken hold of your mind, it cannot control your actions. You have to fill your mind with the knowledge of the word of God.

“And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by renewing your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, acceptable, and perfect will of God”. Romans 12:2 KJV

“Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which can save your souls” James 1:21 KJV

  • Keep your body under subjection to your spirit

As a believer, your spirit is recreated and has a new desire to please God. You have to bring your body into subjection to your spirit. You allow the will and desires of your spirit to supersede and control your flesh’s desires. It is a conscious decision and action you take.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”. Romans 12: 1 KJV

“I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others, I might be disqualified”. 1 Corinthians 9:27 TNLT

So are you ready to be free from your addiction? Then here’s the game-changer: Tell someone about your addiction. In fact, you need to come out of denial and actually call it an addiction instead of rationalizing inside your own head by thinking thoughts like, “I drink a little too much now and then,” or “I know I shouldn’t still be taking this medication,” or “you know, it’s only a few times a month that I log on to that Internet site,” or “I eat because I like it.” So the first step to overcoming your addictions is to come out of denial and get honest.

The power of secrets will ruin your life. It can be scary to finally tell someone, so begin by taking a baby step. Tell someone you can trust, even if it’s just one person. If not a friend or family member, talk to a therapist or a pastor. It’s the beginning of freedom.

God is willing and able to help you overcome those addictions, no matter how grievous or mild they are. Anything that puts you in a position to disobey God is not the will of God for you. You can overcome it if you seek help.

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