Good morning friends and family,
I had a friend once tell me that his sexual addiction was caused by his addictive personality. I replied, that as humans, we all have addictive personalities. He rebutted that his addiction was worse because of his addictive personality. We argued for a few more minutes then decided to just drink our coffee.
Between teaching the Christian Living course, leading FreshStart, or meeting one-on-one with people, I have spent a good amount of time trying to convince people that they are addicts. When we talk about addiction, our minds may immediately jump to the junky, prostitute, sex addict, or the latest movie/music star in rehab or dead from an overdose, etc.
“But you know, whether it’s a sex addiction or internet or a relationship or shopping or work addiction, these are all attempts to get away from distress.”
~ Dr. Gabor Maté
The Bible uses several words to describe an addict:
• Slave (John 8:34; Romans 8:16-20; Titus 3:3; 2 Peter 2:19)
• Walk (Romans 8:4; 13:13; 2 Corinthians 10:2; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 2:2; 4:17; Colossians 3:7; 1 John 1:6)
• Old Self (Colossians 3:9; Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22)
The truth is, we are all addicts.
And the sooner we admit to our specific addiction, the sooner we can let Jesus heal our heart and be free.
And the reality is that our addictions (slavery, walk, old self) doesn’t just stop when we are “saved”. Our habits, barring a miracle from God, continue into our new life in Jesus. This is why we are exhorted several times in Scripture to put off the old and put on the new (Ephesians 4:17-24; Colossians 3:8; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1).
“We should stop talking about ‘addiction’ altogether, and instead call it bonding.”
~ Prof. Peter Cohen
Freedom from addiction (habits, negative lifestyles, slavery, walk, old self, etc.) is a process.
The two-fold mission of the Gospel is to free us from the penalty of sin AND the power of sin. In my experience, sadly most Christians settle for being freed from the penalty of sin but remain enslaved to the power of sin. And this overpowering sin isn’t simply a spiritual truth. This is a physical reality of how our brains were wired in our growing up years and the habits we’ve formed.
Scripture speaks to the idea that our brains need to be re-wired — “transformed” or “renewed” or “conformed” (Romans 8:29; 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18)
This re-wiring toward freedom is a process.
The road to freedom from these “addictions” begins when we choose to resolve the relationships, events, or circumstances that began this addiction. Resolving these events means that we forgive the people involved and release the circumstances along with the outcomes to God. We choose to trust God rather than the lies that we’ve believed as a result of these relationships, circumstances, or events.
“Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but they can all be traced to painful experiences…
…it is present in the gambler, the internet addict, the compulsive shopper, and the workaholic.”
~ Dr. Gabor Maté
Our addictions come from broken relationship.
And the only way to resolve our broken relationships is to acknowledge, trust, submit to, and thank our good and perfect Heavenly Father.
As Christians, we can become over-spiritualized and neglect how God designed our brain. And because we begin to focus solely on the spiritual we become discouraged, frustrated, or even jaded when our past negative attitudes, thoughts, beliefs, or lifestyles do not immediately go away.
I offer the following resources as a reminder that while we seek, pray, and trust God for our freedom from sin, He has also given us physical brains that become chemically wired toward a particular attitude, thought belief, or habit. While the sources may not acknowledge that Jesus is the answer, it can give us an understanding as to why it’s so hard to be free of sin even though we may be “saved”. And what’s more interesting is that the answer these psychologists are giving to dealing with addiction is based in the Gospel… they just don’t recognize it.
Relationship and connection.
Relationship and connection to a loving Father along with relationship and connection to a local community of like-minded people who desire and pursue love, grace, mercy, and freedom (if you didn’t already guess, it’s the local church).
My prayer is that these resources would help you understand the frustration you may be experiencing. I trust that the Holy Spirit would use these articles and videos to encourage, convict, and comfort you.
OUR PRAYER & PRAISE REPORT
ABI Starting: Today (Oct. 3), is Orientation Day for incoming students. Please join us in praying over this year — both for the students and staff.
Nathan & Lacey Steel
Lydia & Arianna
P.S. We would love to hear back from you. If you have any comments from this week’s email or prayer requests you would like to share with us, our email is: email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.