Addicted to Jesus

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 0 comments
by Logan Ames

Addiction is a serious problem in our world today. I work in a field where many of my clients are drug addicts and have been since they were teenagers. I’ve seen it wreck their entire lives and cause them to lose everything they care about, from their homes and money all the way to their spouses and children. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Eventually, it takes their very lives. While many on the outside may think that these people just don’t care about anything else except feeding their addictions, I have gotten to know some of them very well and have learned that they are very loving and absolutely desire to keep and care for their children. They don’t want to lose everything and they don’t want to die. The problem, however, is that they are slaves to the addiction. There is a quote I have heard and used in sermons, and everywhere I have looked the author of it is listed as “unknown." But it’s appropriate nonetheless: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay." Those who are lost in their addictions know this to be true.

Even if you don’t have a substance that has physically taken control of your body, you likely have some habit or even addiction that you find very difficult to break in your life. Maybe it’s coffee, cigarettes, or alcohol. They may not have the same type of control that heroin would have over you, but you know how you would feel if you didn’t have those things. Maybe there are other things in your life that you know aren’t good or aren’t right in God’s eyes but you can’t seem to get away from them. These might include pornography, excessive gambling, or wasting large amounts of time with TV, movies, sports, or video games. For some of you, it might even be the overwhelming need for constant attention from others. For all of these things, and for the substance addictions mentioned above, the answer is not, I repeat NOT, simply trying to stop doing them. Some sort of replacement is needed.

In Romans 6:15-18, the Apostle Paul writes to believers about intentionally becoming “slaves to righteousness." He first declares that we should not just keep sinning because we know that we are forgiven by grace, a message echoed several other places in his letter. Paul then gives his reason, explaining that all of us are slaves to whatever we have offered ourselves, whether sin or obedience (v. 16). If you have come to know the power of the grace and love of Jesus, there is no reason to continue offering yourself to sin as you once did. We may think we can just “sin a little bit” and still live the Christian life since we know we aren’t going to be perfect anyway. That is the logical fallacy that many believers adopt and is sometimes even preached in churches. Jesus commands us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Do you think he would have commanded that if it isn’t possible with HIS power and Spirit in us? I’m not saying you have to be perfect to get into heaven, but you should try. In other words, simply accepting sin in your own life or encouraging it in others is not an option.

Paul is saying that if you offer yourself to sin (because you think it’s okay to sin a little bit since you are covered by grace), you are then a slave to it and the only result is death. However, if you offer yourself to obedience, meaning each time you have to make a choice you pick the right one instead of sin, you will be a slave to obedience and the result will be a life characterized by righteousness. This may seem like an impossible task when temptations are overwhelming, but the grace of God through Jesus gives us the strength to make right choices.

If you’ve ever tried to just give up something that was either an addiction or a bad habit by simply choosing not to do it, you’ve learned that doesn’t work too well. The more you think about not doing something, the more you want to do it. I believe that’s one thing we can learn from Paul’s point about “offering ourselves” to obedience. If you want to kill a bad habit or addiction, replace it with something good. Paul talks in verse 17 about the “pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance." He praises God because the old habits are gone and the believers are no longer slaves to sin because they have been given NEW habits. This, more than anything, is what prevents them from returning to old ways. When you are transformed from the inside out and don’t just focus on the outward symptoms of the inward problems, you have a new pattern that guides EVERY area of your life. When you are addicted to Jesus, you don’t have much time for things that have nothing to do with him!

I fully understand that there are many out there that view addiction as a disease. I respect that view and am not here to say that it’s wrong. However, I want to say that even if that’s true, it still involves choices. Unlike cancer or other diseases that can take over a person’s body no matter what they do, addiction requires a person to DO something to keep feeding it. Even if you can’t control how the “disease” affects your mind, you’re still responsible for your actions. It has no power over you if you don’t use the drug, take the drink, look at the website, spend the money, or play the video game. If you want to begin to take back your life and gain back power over your inner desires, give Jesus a try. Become addicted to him and the things that he cares about, which can be found all throughout the Bible, and your desires will change. If you don’t know Jesus or have a relationship with him, it starts with accepting him and his sacrifice for your sins by faith. If you have already done that, it’s about choosing to live in his power and strength. Don’t worry about overcoming the mountain of addiction before you. Take the first step. Choose an act of obedience today when you could’ve, and maybe previously would’ve, chosen sin. Offer yourself to obedient choices, one at a time, and eventually you will have the righteous life you desire and that God desires for you.

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