Breaking Free: Overcoming the Hold of Addiction God’s Way

5 Mins read

In addition to the nearly 21 million Americans who struggle with some sort of substance addiction, millions more are addicted to pornography, sex, and any other number of things that can take control of their lives. God’s plan for His people doesn’t include being addicted to anything. Instead, He wants complete, perfect freedom for us. Understanding how to take a Biblical approach to addiction can help you embrace the freedom that God offers to everyone who asks for it.

Today’s study is going to discuss some very serious topics. Addiction is a major problem among people today, perhaps more so than ever before. As nearly 21 million Americans acknowledge that they struggle with substance addiction, and millions more acknowledge being addicted to pornography, sex, and any other number of vices, it’s safe to assume that there are people who sit in our churches every week who are fighting the vicious grip of addiction in their own lives. Regardless of the type of addiction or the reasoning behind it, it’s crucial to understand that God doesn’t want His people to live in the grip of addiction. Instead, He offers complete, perfect freedom to all people.

There’s another important note before we get into this study. If you are reading this in an effort to overcome addiction yourself, or you know someone who is struggling with some kind of addiction, it’s important that you (or they) receive professional help. We know that the true source of our freedom is the Holy Spirit and that we can find answers in Scripture, but there are also medical professionals who God has gifted with the knowledge to help people overcome addiction.

In addition to receiving professional help, you, your friend, or family member who is struggling with addiction can find true freedom through Christ.

Is Addiction a Sin or a Disease?

Mark 12:30 (TPT)
You are to love the Lord Yahweh, your God, with every passion of your heart, with all the energy of your being, with every thought that is within you, and with all your strength. This is the great and supreme commandment.

One of the biggest debates that surround addiction is based on what addiction is. Obviously, we understand that addiction is a mental issue. People who struggle with addiction to anything develop a physical and mental need for the source of their addiction. However, addiction to anything is a far-reaching issue that permeates every area of the addict’s life.

In addition to being a disease, there is a spiritual element to addiction that must be addressed. First of all, it’s impossible to love God the way that Christ said we should while also being addicted to something. Addiction, when it reaches its most devastating state makes it impossible to love the Lord with every passion, every thought, and with all your strength. Instead, the addiction becomes the top priority.

In addition to interfering with the way that you love God, addiction often makes people start committing sinful behaviors. People who are addicted to drugs have often stolen from friends and family members in order to feed their expensive addictions. Those struggling with alcohol addiction regularly act in sinful ways when they become intoxicated. People struggling with pornography and sexual addictions are committing all sorts of sexual sins.

Addiction is both a disease and a breeding ground for sin. The first step to shaking yourself free of addiction’s hold is found in recognizing that it is a multifaceted issue. Not only is there a disease element, but it also does significant spiritual damage to the addict, while causing those around the addict to suffer.

Identifying Your Issue

Song of Solomon 2:15 (ESV)
“Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards, for our vineyards are in blossom.”

Addiction doesn’t generally start as addiction. The alcoholic didn’t take his or her first drink with the intention of becoming addicted. Instead, it was probably just something to “take the edge off” during a stressful time in their life. The person who is addicted to pornography didn’t log onto a website with the intention of becoming hooked. Instead, he or she was looking for a sense of temporary satisfaction. In that sense, addiction can start as a “little fox.”

If you join any type of program or seek professional help for your addiction, one of the first things that an expert is going to encourage you to do is acknowledge that you have an issue and to identify it. While that’s an effective part of modern treatment, it’s been a concept for thousands of years, dating back to the Old Testament.

You can’t experience the true freedom offered by Christ until you’re honest about what is holding you captive. Be honest with yourself, a trusted friend, a family member, or an addiction specialist. Doing so puts you on a path of restoration and freedom from your addiction.

Acknowledging Addiction to God

Psalm 32:3-5 (TPT)
Before I confessed my sins, I kept it all inside; my dishonesty devastated my inner life, causing my life to be filled with frustration, irrepressible anguish, and misery. The pain never let up, for your hand of conviction was heavy on my heart. My strength was sapped, my inner life dried up like a spiritual drought within my soul. Then I finally admitted to you all my sins, refusing to hide them any longer. I said, “My life-giving God, I will openly acknowledge my evil actions.” And you forgave me! All at once the guilt of my sin washed away and all my pain disappeared.

While the Bible never comes and discusses the shame associated with addiction, there are passages of Scripture that we can look to as a means of dealing with addiction. In addition to the physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual impact that addiction can have, the shame associated with addiction is one of the most dangerous aspects. Most people struggling with addiction are not proud of what they’re doing and their dependence. Instead, they hide it for as long as they can, allowing the shame and self-condemnation to fester.

We don’t have any Scriptures that indicate that David was an addict. In all likelihood, this Psalm was written in reference to his illicit affair with Bathsheba that he tried to lie about and cover up. However, the pain that David discussed in these verses can easily apply to people who are struggling to live with and hide some sort of addiction.

The first part of this passage is a painful picture of addiction. David discusses the pain of keeping dishonesty and sin bottled up inside. Obviously, we know that God sees all of these things, including the sinful actions that addiction can cause, but the shame associated with these issues causes the addict to keep everything bottled up. When left unrepented of, the addiction and the shame that it breeds can leave you feeling like you have a drought within your soul.

However, there is freedom in acknowledging your issues to God. God sees the addiction and the sinful behaviors that it can cause. However, He wants His people to confess those issues and seek forgiveness for them. It’s not that God is withholding forgiveness. However, God’s forgiveness can only be received when we ask for it.

Don’t let the shame and guilt of addiction keep you trapped in the vicious cycle that it can produce. Instead, begin your path to restoration and freedom by admitting your issues to God. His love for you is not hindered by your baggage. However, the key to unlocking His forgiveness and your freedom is found in admitting your issues to Him. Doing so allows you to experience the same washing away of guilt that David wrote about in this Psalm.

A Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I have an addiction problem. This addiction has taken hold of my life in a way that I never imagined. I need Your help in breaking free. Please, forgive me for allowing things to reach this point, and help me to find the help that I need. I know that You want me to live in freedom, and I want it too. In Christ’s name, Amen.

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