Real Hope for the Addicted
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
God has given us everything we need to know about life and godliness. His Word describes the difficult experiences of our lives, including addiction. God exposes the root cause of the sin and gives us solutions that give us lasting hope. God wants us to understand addictions so that we can be wise in helping others. Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The root cause of any addiction is idolatry. Someone addicted is worshiping the object of their addiction, a preoccupation with a substance or behavior. God created man to worship and love Him and experience a real relationship with the living God. The addict is most likely someone who does not know or have an understanding of the character of God and has chosen to doubt and ignore the truth about Him. He alone is worthy to be worshiped and able to redeem them from their sin and sorrow. The heart of the addict is selfish and becomes demanding and unwilling to come before God in true repentance. They become impatient in waiting on God’s timetable with His solutions and begin to think, “This is too hard.” They turn to other gods of their own design and the downward spiral to idol worship and debauchery escalates.
An addict can use a great amount of physical energy and mental thought in the pursuit of their idol, thus, neglecting the things that are most important in life. If an addict is responsible for others, those individuals may be affected as well. The addict is enticed by their own lusts and embraces the lie that this false god is somehow good for them and can be profitable. Deceit is a characteristic of addiction; addicts are chronic liars. They lie to themselves, and will lie to anyone about their whereabouts or activities.
How do we help those that are suffering from addiction? The pit of despair can appear to be so deep the fear that they’ll never climb out again is overwhelming. They must first realize there is freedom from addiction through Jesus Christ and in having a personal relationship with Him. The Spirit of the living God dwells within and in His power they can have victory. Having a Word-centered life and thus, a Holy Spirit controlled life, moves a believer through their life under the power of the Holy Spirit. Secondly, they must make the decision to change for the right reasons. The motives behind their decision to seek help are very important. What is the right motive for obtaining freedom from alcoholism and drug abuse? A right view of God and focusing on His glory. When they center their attention on God’s glory, they will inevitably change.
Scripture denounces drunkenness as sin. Drunkenness and drug addiction is associated with unrestrained evil behavior and the word dissipation. Dissipation is a recklessness, immoral lifestyle, with a lack of restraint, and a loss of self-control. This is behavior characteristic of a non-Christian. Understand that unrestrained, evil, dissipated, reckless, irresponsible, out-of-control behavior which is induced by alcohol or drugs is sinful, is characteristic of non-believers as a way of life and ought not to be characteristic of Christians at all.
You are not to be under the influence of the wrong internal power. Alcohol and drugs are an internal power that brings you under its influence. The Holy Spirit is an internal spiritual power that brings you under His influence. So rather than being brought under the influence of any substance, you need to be brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit, thus, being filled with the Spirit.
Thought: The addicted need to understand the difference between sorrow or guilt that produces repentance and the sorrow of the world, which produces death. Sorrow that produces death leaves God out and in pride embraces vain self-effort to save themselves. Humility and submission to God must replace pride––––realizing repentance is not a one time act. Making choices each day to serve God rather than themselves will cultivate a grateful heart and bring praise to God.
Personal note: My family and I have a heart for the addicted. Please be in prayer as we try to help those who are hurting from a wrong view of God and choosing idolatry/addiction, over the abundant life Christ promises. Thank you.