A Christianís approach to life situations part 21

Addiction

 

The first thing I want to do is to define Addiction.

 

  • Being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming (especially alcohol or narcotic drugs) (Word Web)
  • The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or involved in something. (American Heritage Dictionary).

 

Based on these definitions, addiction can come from anything that we become obsessed with and canít stay away from. In this lesson we are going take a look at some of the things that people can get addicted to, what the Bible says about addiction and how we should handle it as Christians.

 

First, letís take a look at a couple of passages that show us some of the things that we can become addicted to.

 

2 Timothy 3:2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

 

This is a general list of sins that we as Christians are to avoid and we are stay away from those that are living in these sins. Any person can become addicted to any of these sins listed. Letís take a look at few of the sins.

 

Lovers of themselves, is when a person loves themselves more than they do anyone else. Now, there is nothing wrong with loving yourself, but when that becomes your primary focus, then you are going to be addicted to yourself and this will take away from the care and concern you should have for God and others. As we look as these sins that we can get addicted to, you see that they all have one thing in common, because when we become addicted to something, it will cause us to become occupied with our addiction and take away time we could be using to serve God, others or spending quality time with our loved ones.

 

Lovers of money, is a problem that many have become addicted to. When a person gets addicted to money, they will waste away all of their precious time trying to get more money. Some do this by working 2 or 3 jobs just so they can have more money in their pockets and more material possessions. Others will try gambling, hoping they will hit big one day. Some will even steal from others to fulfill their need for money. Those who are addicted to money will never be satisfied and they will want more and more. No matter how they decide to fulfill their addiction, they will be sacrificing important time that they could be using to serve God or others.

 

Slanders are people who like to falsely accuse people of things to ruin their reputation. Some people get a big kick out of doing things like this and once they get started one person isnít enough. They will branch out and the accusations will become more intense because one of problems with addiction is that you usually will increase in one form or another what you are doing or else it will not satisfy you. Even when is does satisfy you, itís only for moment because you feel like you must do it again.

 

Lovers of pleasure, could include any sinful act that brings you some type of pleasure. It easy to see how someone can get addicted to this because if brings physical pleasure to you, you will want to do it more and more even if it is harming your body or your soul. For instance, when a person consumes alcohol it makes them feel good, but while they are feeling good, they are doing damage to their brains, liver and other organs. If they start feeling to good, they will be so drunk that they wont know what they are doing.

 

For example, I know a man that was drunk and he fell off the second floor of a motel. Lucky for him he landed in a good position, but really messed up his leg and broke his arm, and he didnít even feel the pain or know what damage he did until the next day.

 

Smoking is another thing that gives people pleasure because of the nicotine. Everyone knows that smoking is bad for you and how it destroys your lung cells and turns them black. It damages your throat, your gums and host of other things, but addiction to the pleasure they bring, keeps some people puffing away and if they stop they feel like there are going to die if they donít get another cigarette.

 

Other find great pleasure in narcotics and they get so addicted to these things that they will do just about anything to get some more. I have known drug addicts who would even steal from their own parents to feed their addiction. Hard drugs can kill you fast and they can do great damage to your body. For instance, just after two years of using Meth, most will loose all their teeth. Strong drugs cause the worse withdraw symptoms imaginable. It gets so bad that some have to be hospitalized just to deal with it. As Christians we should avoid doing things that causes harm to our bodies because our body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19) and we belong to Him (Rom. 14:8). 1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

 

Sometime both men and women get addicted to pornography, which is falls under the sin of the lust for the flesh. This is another big problem in America today because a person can view pornography in so many ways. They can rent or buy videos with this material in it, or they can find it all over the internet. It can even be seen over cable or satellite. Once a person gets addicted to such filth, their desire will grow stronger for it and this sin has caused major problems in marriages and has led others to take their addiction to the next level and they go out and cheat on their spouse, which of course leads to broken homes and it can cause the person to end up with a disease they may kill or plague them for the rest of their lives.

So far I have focused in on those thing that are sins or that do harm to your body, but there are many things that we can be addicted to that are not bad within themselves, but if we become obsessed with them, they can cause problems with our relationship to God and our family as well.

 

For instances, watching TV. Now, I am not saying that you should get rid of your TV because there is nothing wrong with watching appropriate material. But, some people turn TV watching into an addiction. I remember seeing a story about a lady who would not leave her house because she didnít want to miss anything on the TV. She had TV in every room of the house including the bathroom. So they finally bought her a portable TV so she would go outside and not have to miss any TV. So, we can get to point where TV becomes crippling. It amazing me how some can spend countless hours watching it everyday, yet they canít seem to find time to read one chapter from the Bible.

 

I had uncle that had the ability to zone in on the TV and block everything else out. He had 4 children and didnít pay any attention to them. Even if they talked to him, he didnít hear them. Being starved for attention, they would stand between him and the TV just to get a few words out his mouth which were usually, ďget out of the way unless you want a spanking.Ē Again, this is how addiction to TV can be a bad thing.

 

Any good thing can be turned into a bad thing if you allow it cut you off from living a well rounded life. I would even suggest that being addicted to serving others can become a bad thing if you have a family. Obviously, we are taught in the Bible to serve one another, but if we become obsessed with it and that is all that we focus in on then we end up robbing our family of precession time that could have been spent with them. The Bible gives us many commands to follow. We are no supposed to take a one or two of them and make them into a hobby horse. Instead, we are to give all of Godís commands equal treatment.

 

I heard them talking on the radio about a denomination preacher who became so addicted to serving his congregation and those in it that he was neglecting his family at home. His daughter was the one that called in and she was crying because she wanted to know what she could do to convince her dad that his love and time was needed at home as well.

 

Now, I could keep on naming more things that we can become addicted all night long, but these examples are enough to show that addiction is not a good thing because it becomes an obsession that we cannot live without and it robs God of our service and it robs our family of our time. So, must do our best to stay away from addictions as Christians. First, we need to be able to recognize if we are becoming addicted to something. Paul gives us this advice,

 

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

 

In this chapter, Paul is pointing out that those who obeyed the gospel and have been baptized into Christ, have made themselves servants or slaves of God. Before they obeyed that form of doctrine found in the New Testament these Romans had been slaves of sin and the devil was their master. From this principle, we can determine if we are addicted to something, if we can see that we are a slave to it.

 

In order to do this we have to test ourselves by asking ourselves some questions about things we are involved in.

 

  1. Do you keep repeating what you are doing over and over?
  2. Has you desire for this thing become stronger?
  3. Are you setting aside more and more time to engage in this activity?
  4. Can you stop doing it for 4 weeks or even 6 months or does the thought of quitting seem impossible?
  5. Do you find it emotionally fulfilling to do it?
  6. Is what are doing taking away quality time away from your family or kids?
  7. Is it affecting your ability to live life?
  8. Is it causing you to neglect serving God or studying His Word as you should?
  9. If you told someone what you were doing with your time, would they be shocked and horrified?
  10. Is what you are doing causing harm to your body?
  11. Is what you are doing a sin?

 

These are some good questions that we can ask ourselves to determine if we have a problem with addiction. One of the first steps to be able overcome an addiction is to recognize that you have one. The sooner you figure it out the better because the longer the addiction continues the harder it will be to overcome. This idea of testing yourself is clearly laid in the Bible. Paul says,

 

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified.

Paul practiced what he preached because he tested himself daily as part of his self-discipline.

 

1 Corinthians 9:26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

This exactly what we must do as Christians. We must learnto recognize when we are allowing an addiction to ruin our life and to put our soul in jeopardy. The best way to nip in the bud is by learning self-control and perseverance. These are just two of the Christians virtues that Peter talks about in,

 

2 Peter 1:5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.8 For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Notice if we keep adding these things the Peter has listed here along with self-control and perseverance, then we will be prepared to keep addiction from taking over our lives.

 

However, sometimes we mess up, and before we know it, we have an addiction that is getting out of control. We need to realize that we are not going to be able to fix addiction in one or two days because its going to take some time to overcome it. But, as Christians we are in luck because there a several things that we can do with Godís help to help us overcome even the worse addiction.

 

1. We need remember that when we were baptized into Christ that our old self died and we are now a new creature and because of this we can get help from God through the power of prayer.

 

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

If you want help with self-control so that you can defeat you addiction and get your priorities straight, then approach the throne of grace boldly in prayer to God knowing that He will help you in your battle.

 

2. As I have already stated, we need to keep in mind that overcoming an addition doesnít happen over night, this is why Peter told us we must continue to add to our faith self-control. This means that we may slip back into our addition from time to time as we try and battle it, but what is important is that we donít give up and that we continue to try and improve to exercise self-control in our life.

 

3. We need to try and spend our time around those who can influence and encourage us to exercise self-control instead of hanging around those who tempt us to lose it.

 

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will be destroyed.

 

4. Another thing that will help us to maintain self-control and encourage us to stay away from our addictionis by reading and studying Godís word.

 

2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

2 Peter 1:3 ††as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, You see everything we need to know on how to exercise self-control can be found in Godís word.

 

These verses teach us that everything that we need to know about overcoming addiction and maintaining self-control can be found in the Word of God. So pick up your Bibleís on daily basis and use its powerful message to help you declare victory over your addiction.

 

5. Finally, is important that we focus on keeping our thoughts on righteousness.

 

Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. 2 Corinthians 10:5 bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

 

If we put these things into practice that we have covered in this lesson, there isnít a sin or an addiction that we canít overcome with Godís help.

 

I hope this lesson has shown you that addiction to anything can be bad when it takes away from living a well balanced life that will allow you to effectively serve God, others and your family. We learned that we must test ourselves sometimes daily to make sure that we are not becoming an addict or living in sin. I gave you several questions to help you determine this. Then finally, I gave you 5 things that will help you overcome addiction in your life.