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Addiction

When we think about “addiction,” our mind drifts to drugs, sex, gambling, etc. Some habits are worse than others as far as the damage they do to family and friends. Other known addictions like coffee, sugar products, eating, and electronic gadgets rate lower in our culture than the first group cited. Psalm 1:1-2 talks about two paths that believers take: one towards the Lord and one that is leading away from the Lord. Sin does not have levels. Any wrongdoing results in separation from God Addictions are habits that lead a person away from God. 1 Cor. 6:12 shows us that because something is legal with human law, that does not necessarily mean it glorifies the Lord.


The words, Everything is permissible for me, had become a slogan to cloak the immorality of some in Corinth. The statement was true, but it required qualifications. Paul qualified liberty with the principle of love applied to both neighbor and self (cf. Mark 12:31). Liberty, which was not beneficial but detrimental to someone else, was not loving (1 Cor. 8:1; 10:23) and was to be avoided. So too, the liberty which became slavery (I will not be mastered by anything) was not love but hatred of self.” [1]


The next verses, 13 and 14, use food addiction as an example. Eating food is pleasurable. How else would God make it possible to meet the need for nourishment than the hunger/satisfaction event? But when pleasure becomes the salient emotion, not fuel in this case of food, an addiction.exists. You can see the same thing for a sexual want that is not related to procreation [2] All these pleasures, per the Scripture, are going away in the future. Heaven has no room for these pleasure-seeking activities.

Definition

The devotion of a person to something, whether sin in general or food, alcohol, or wealth in particular, to become dependent upon it. A person will never be satisfied in such a state of slavery. The answer to addiction is self-control through the resources of the new life in Christ. ”[3]


Addiction exists wherever persons are internally compelled to give energy to things that are not their true desires. To define it directly, addiction is a state of compulsion, obsession, or preoccupation that enslaves a person’s will and desire. Addiction sidetracks and eclipses the energy of our deepest, most valid desire for love and goodness. We succumb because the energy of our desire becomes attached, nailed, to specific behaviors, objects, or people. Attachment, then, is the process that enslaves desire and creates a state of addiction.”[4]


Dependence-Let’s start with definitions and key thoughts. Addiction is the dependence, not just dabbling with something. It becomes a dependence on a substance, like alcohol, prescription medications—big-time issue right now—street drugs: Marijuana, heroin, coke, or what have you; food can be an addiction (a lot of people are talking about sugar, and more; that’s a challenge), cigarette-smoking, or, by the way, a substance or an activity. An activity or a process addiction would be like gambling. Sex, pornography, [and] shopping could fit in there. We won’t talk about good things like hunting and fishing and stuff. We’ll leave that off.”[5]


Addiction is the consequence of sin[6]

Paul states that he does not want to be mastered, or be a slave, to anything. 2 Peter 2:19 gives the result of false prophets that use “pleasure” (verses 10b-16) in enticing people down a path that leads from God. Greed is a feature with the false prophets (verse 3). Their demise is likened to the fall of Sodom and Gomorrah. Our rescue is compared to Lott’s in the Sodom and Gomorrah account. Despite the corruption and sexual sin in Sodom, Lott maintained his faith. We also need to have confidence that the Lord has our best interests at heart. The passage (verses 15-16) also blasts Baalam for choosing money and the sin of cursing Israel over obedience to the Lord. Verse 19 that those who rebel against God are slaves to their favorite sin. If you examine the list of sins, you will find they are addictions. John 8:34 tightens the standard when equating sin to slavery.


Addiction to food, alcohol or drugs is to become dependent upon them[7]

Phil. 3:18-19 uses “appetite” as an analogy to food. We can make the mental leap to apply it to any addictive behavior. These addictions make then enemies of the cross of Christ. Their salvation is secure, but they are in fellowship. Worse, they drag others into their deception to follow a different god. Isa. 5:11, 28:7-8, and 56:12, give a specific application to alcoholism. Titus 2:3 applies to gossip with women as an example.


Addiction to wealth is to be controlled by it.[8]

Gerald May gives an example of a hungry person. You see this person and choose not to help them. You cite the best reasons ever why the homeless are not your problem. Consider that something else may be going on that leads you to suspend God’s love and mercy:


The reason we could have for ‘choosing’ against genuine compassion and charity is that we are addicted to something else. Uncharitable behavior can never be justified based on freedom from attachment [addictive behavior]; to try to do so is to engage in mind tricks, not freedom.”[9] A person may think they are exercising their freedom to choose, but they are enslaved.


I will be the first to confess I do not help the homeless. My reasons have nothing in common with genuine compassion. When I drove for Uber, the passengers were my primary concern. I claimed their safety as the reason no ignore homeless people. I could have demonstrated Christian mercy and compassion, but…chose not to. Consider the big difference between using human reasoning and asking the Lord for direction. Here at Louis Roth Ministries, we work through GodsLoveInternal.org We to help widows and orphans in Africa, India, and Pakistan. We give through our churches, and that’s fine. The point of this section is to consider whether addiction is in play: security. Being financially secure, fear of physical harm, fear of classes of people are examples. Remember the passage in Mark 10:21 || Luke 18:22-23 about the rich man. Jesus responds to the man’s question. Everything the individual holds dear is unnecessary in God’s economy. The man cannot give up that which he covets.


Mt. 26:14-16 || Mk. 26:14-16 || Lk. 22:2-6 describes the event where Judas betrays Jesus for money. I don’t consider this a metaphor but certainly begs the question, “what are you trading for the Lord?” The 2 Peter passage above also describes the exchange for self over the Lord (Baalam).


Addiction never satisfies

• Addiction to sinful habits does not meet Rom. 6:20-21

• Addiction to food, alcohol or drugs does not meet Ecc 6:7 See also Pr 20:1; 21:17; 23:20-21,29-35; Hos 4:10-11 || Mt 19:21-22

• Addiction to wealth does not meet Ecc 5:10 See also 1Ti 6:9-10; Jas 5:1-3

• The answer to addiction: self-control through the new life in Christ. Pr 23:1-4; Ro 6:6-7,11-14 See also Pr 25:16; Ro 6:16-19; 8:12-15; 1Co 6:12; 9:27; Gal 5:22-23 [11]


Making Relationship with God the Top Priority


In times of trouble, God can seem far away, but He never is. God is always near, and He wants us to know that. He wants us to feel His embrace and to feel secure in Him. But when trouble strikes, we either move closer to Him or further away. And, as you might expect, our choice is often determined by our relationship style.[12]


In this compelling story, the essential elements of addiction and grace are distilled: freedom, willfulness, desire, temptation, attachment, and, of course, the fall. It seems to me that each of our addictions reenacts Eve and Adam’s story. The story of Eden is not over, yet neither is it merely repeating itself endlessly through history. Instead, it is going somewhere. I believe that humankind’s ongoing struggle with addiction is preparing the ground for perfect love.”[13,14]


“Now think about our journey in this life. Our relationship with God satisfies all the conditions of a healthy, secure relationship—if we allow it to happen. We seek closeness to Him in times of trouble. He is our refuge, our place of safety, and we seek proximity to Him. We look to Him to give us with a felt sense of security; He is our haven. He’s also our rock, our secure base, our foundation from which we can face the world with boldness, strength, and confidence. The thought of separation from Him produces significant anxiety—we find it scary. For us to give up on God or for us to feel that God has withdrawn from us produces grief and sorrow. Confusion can come if we feel that God has let us down, that He somehow authored an evil fate for us, or that He could have prevented pain in our lives and didn’t." [15]


Footnotes:

  1. Lowery, D. K. (1985). 1 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 516). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

  2. Lowery, D. K. (1985). 1 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 516). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

  3. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

  4. May MD, Gerald G.. Addiction, and Grace (p. 14). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

  5. Clinton, T. (2015). PD171 Biblical Soul Care. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

  6. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

  7. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

  8. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

  9. May MD, Gerald G.. Addiction and Grace (p. 40). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

  10. Manser, M. H. (2009). Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies. London: Martin Manser.

  11. 6106 addiction - Dictionary of Bible Themes - Bible Gateway. https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/dictionary-of-bible-themes/6106-addiction

  12. Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

  13. May MD, Gerald G.. Addiction and Grace (pp. 12-13). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.

  14. Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing .... https://www.davesandel.net/addiction-and-grace-love-and-spirituality-in-the-healing-of-addictions-by-gerald-may/

  15. Clinton, T., & Sibcy, G. (2006). Why you do the things you do: the secret to healthy relationships. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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