Overcoming Addiction

              Peter wrote, “These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:17-19.

            The men that Peter is speaking of had promised freedom, but they were servants [bondmen] of corruption. They were servants because “for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” What is an addiction? It is anything that overcomes a person and enslaves them.  “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.” John 8:34. Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16. That means being addicted to the sin. These men that Peter was condemning were servants of corruption.  Meaning that they were addicted to their sins since sin always leads to corruption. Solomon said, “There is a generation that curseth their father, And doth not bless their mother. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, And yet is not washed from their filthiness.” Proverbs 30:11-12. Today, many are servants to their corrupt behavior because they are addicted to it.  They promise freedom, but they have become servants of corruption. 

            As a Christian, we understand that if one repents and turns away from any sin, that God will forgive that sin. When a Christian does this, he or she is free from that sin. However, sometimes it is not that easy to overcome. People have become addicted to alcohol, narcotics, pain medication, antibiotics, smoking, gambling, and various forms of sexual behavior, pornography and many other sinful things. Man can become addicted to any sin. To aid one to overcome the addiction after repenting and turning away from the sin, they become submissive to God in every part of their life. There is a point to be made from the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:43-45. “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.” Here is the point for the addicted person: until an addicted person becomes submissive to God, bearing fruit for righteousness that addicted person will eventually relapse and become even more sinful.

            Many people have put themselves in bondage to sin with their addictions. These people deceived themselves when they began, and their peers could have misled them. As they progress in their addiction, it becomes increasingly difficult to free themselves. What has happened is they have become bondmen to their sinful practices. Their bad habits and addictions have brought misery to their lives and the lives they touch every day.

            Many use the “disease model” to justify their addiction. However, our genes do not cause us to become addicted. There is no biological disease that causes us to lose our ability to choose how we want to behave. We make our choices based on what we value at the time the choice is made without consideration of how or what it does to those we love.

            Here is an intervention strategy. First, stay with the Biblical mode of what is right and what is wrong. Second, do not be an enabler. Remember Galatians 6:7. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Do not clean up the mess the addicted is making of his or her life. They must realize and experience the consequences of wrong behavior. Third, help the addicted to discover what is in his/her own best interest. Fourth, demonstrate to the addicted that we have control over our own behavior. It cannot be blamed on genes, parents, teachers, circumstance, environment, drugs, alcohol, friends, television, or any other excuse. 

            The addicted must practice “self-control.” It is a MUST! 1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 5:22-24; 2 Peter 1:5-6. Let God control your life and what you put into your body. May we always allow God to forgive us, grant us hope and grace, and give us the faith to face our problems.
Bobby D. Gayton