Something needs to make us want to break the grip of addiction. For each of us, that ‘something’ could be anything from being found out to just waking up one day and realising we need to change.
One thing is certain. We will need spiritual help to break free. We’ll never be satisfied with just food, alcohol, drugs, sex or work. Which means addiction is more than just a physical problem. To break free of addictions, we need to start looking for what we actually need.
Making God the Centre of Our Lives. Our desires and needs are not bad. God, our maker, wants us to know pleasure, significance and freedom in our lives. But we’re being killed by the way we are trying to satisfy those desires. Satisfaction and security are not found in ‘things’ but in God!
Someone once said of God: “You have made us for Yourself, and we are restless until we find our rest in You.” If we are not centred on the good God who loves us, then we will end up fixated on our own desires until they take over.
But, in the end, getting ‘kicks’ out of things is easy! Opening another bottle is a much quicker way of feeling good than the long, hard road of being honest before God and those around us
Trapped in our addictions, rejection is what we fear most. That is why we don’t want anyone, including God, to know. But Jesus, who is God, makes us this promise:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” —Matthew 11:28-29 NIV
The Need for God. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ earned a reputation as a friend of ‘sinners’. This basically means He spent time with people whose lives were a mess. But Jesus didn’t come to earth to judge us. He came to save us from our mistakes, failures and addictions. Jesus said, “For God did not send his Son (Jesus) into the world to [judge] the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17).
When Jesus died on the cross, He did it for us, taking on God’s anger towards us for how we have lived our lives. We have all ignored God and instead lived for ourselves, just as we please, getting mixed up in addictions in the process.
Jesus didn’t die just for His friends or good people. He died for people like us. He died for people trapped by their own self-destructive desire for sex, alcohol and anything else. That is why Paul (a writer in the Bible) could say:
Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin . . . or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will [enter] the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made [perfect]; you were made right with God by [trusting] the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. —1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NLT
If these are the kinds of people God cleanses and allows into heaven (the kingdom of God) when they trust Jesus, then there is hope for all of us. God doesn’t clean and rescue good people. Jesus Himself said:
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the [perfect], but [failures].” —Mark. 2:17 NIV
We are scared of being rejected. By paying for our mistakes, Jesus has made sure that God will never reject us. But we need to say sorry to Him and give our lives into His hands. This is what it means to be a Christian.
Living before God. Do Christians suffer from addictions? Yes. People can struggle with addictions before and after giving their lives to Christ and receiving God’s forgiveness. This weakness may well remain as long as we live.
It was to Christians that Paul wrote:
Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. —Ephesians 5:18-20 NLT
Paul warns that Christians are not above the danger of things like alcohol abuse. But He also explains that Christians can live their lives relying on God rather than themselves. That is something of what it means to be “filled with the Holy Spirit”. Christians know that God, by His Spirit, lives within them. They are 100% joined to Him every day. They no longer have to face their addictions alone. Instead they can rely on God and live thankful lives because Christ has done everything necessary to save them.
We may never be fully free from the pull of addiction, but we can live focused on God instead, thanking Him for securing us a place in heaven.