You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. – Psalm 16:11
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self- control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. – 2 Timothy 3:1-5a
I hope to shed some light on those who may be thinking; What happened to my spouse, my child my friend, my parent? How are they so gripped by addiction? Why don’t they just quit? Why don’t they love me enough to stop?
Satan is the master of manipulation. He takes what God has created, things that are good and meant to be a blessing, and perverts or manipulates them into something that God has not intended.
In other words, the natural God-given pleasure center of the brain is injured and will require more stimulus because this region of the brain has not developed fully when it was young.
Thus, environment and upbringing can imprint the brain. However, this is an injury, not an illness.
The fact is, friends, the brain is trained by our habits. Some are forced into the injury but many are self-inflicted.
The main reason I believe we must see addiction as a self-inflicted injury and not an illness is that injuries by nature have two components, they can be avoided and can be repaired; and the brain is magnificent in that it too can be re-imprinted and that is not just a scientific fact, it is my personal testimony.
If we are going to understand how to Kick the Habit, whatever that habit may be, we have to understand both the spiritual and the physical realities of addiction.
I have heard of too many people fighting addictions who are told; “You just need to love Jesus more or surrender it all to Jesus, you just need to read your bible and pray more.”
I am not saying that this is bad advice, but I am saying I could say the same thing to any person who is a Christian and that would be true.
Rather than spewing spiritual platitudes let’s try and arrive at some life-altering, freedom-causing, captive-freeing truth, and extend some help for those who have someone in their life who is not yet free.
Imagine someone says; “I am going to jump off the roof or out of this tree” and they are told, “it’s too high”, “don’t do it!”, “you’ll get hurt”, but they jump anyway and break their leg.
Are you going to say that you need to read your bible and pray more? No, you are going to recognize that though the injury was self-inflicted and through their own fault, the broken bone demands compassion and attention. This is how we must approach addiction, with compassion.
“This is how we must approach addiction, with compassion.”
In addressing addiction let’s not eliminate human responsibility nor ignore the legitimate injury.
There are practical steps that require spiritual power. Many in the world who seek to overcome addiction by worldly efforts and programs but we need to recognize that nowhere does scripture indicate that freedom is promised to the non-believer.
If you love someone who fights addiction and they are unsaved, share with them the gospel for that is where the power begins to being set free.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
The word anxieties is the Hebrew word; śar‛aph, which means divided mind.
People with addictions are masters of justification, if this hadn’t happened to me, or if that person wouldn’t have done this or that. “If I wasn’t so stressed, “if she only paid more attention to me”, “if he really cared”, and on and on it goes.
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Many times addicts also vindicate themselves with a sense of entitlement like they are exceptions because of their illness.
While we do need to recognize that there can be contributing factors in creating an environment for addictions through patterning in the brain, there is a truth we must isolate if anyone wants to be free:
“Freedom from addiction begins with ownership not explanations”
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
Forgiveness begins with owning that you’re a sinner, the same is true for freedom from addictions of any kind as a Christian.
Lastly, here are 4 things to remember for anyone who has an addict in their life:
- Never enable
- Have wise compassion
- Remain humble
- Be consistent
No one has the right to look down on another. We are all here seeking restoration and no one, I believe, knows it is possible more than me.