By Matthew Monfore, April 18, 2021 photo above by Mike Snow of mikesnow.org
He is worthy
I am writing this to address the triumph of Jesus over addiction! Jesus is infinitely worthy of our obedience (Revelation 4:11) and our lives, even to the point of death (Matthew 16:24-27). He WILL set people free from sin (John 8:32).
Addiction is wickedness
God uses words like “wicked” and “evil” to describe man (Genesis 8: 21; Ezekiel 33:11). The Bible teaches that sin [rebellion] “is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (1 Samuel 15:23, bold and underline mine). Ever think of equating your sin with pagan idolatry and witchcraft?!? The first step to a cure is to recognize the disease: calling it what it is…Drunkenness, pornography, sex-addiction, meth, marijuana, cigarettes, prescription-drug abuse, food-addiction [gluttony] television-addiction, etc. are EVIL.
HOW BROKEN ARE YOU?
Your sorrow for breaking God’s Law (sin-addiction) must be greater than your sorrow for not fulfilling your sinful desires. Perhaps the best way to view sin, is to think of a child crying, screaming, pouting, etc. when he doesn’t get what he wants…THAT is the heart of addiction, doing whatever is necessary to GET WHAT YOUR SINFUL HEART AND FLESH desires. OR think of the war that was fought over Helen of Troy, someone else’s wife that was taken…That is the LENGTHS people will go to, to get what they want. But then, there is GODLY SORROW, which causes people to give up sin (2 Corinthians 7:10).
THE FIGHT FOR YOUR SOUL AND LIFE
Now, conversely, you must have a similar attitude if you are ever tempted to sin. “Under no circumstances will I give in to sin”, should be your heart-attitude. Your eternal soul depends on it (that is PROOF that you are saved by faith, NOT supposed “works” earning salvation: GIGANTIC DIFFERENCE!) You must wrestle and fight against sin and temptation in your heart, so that you would rather DIE than give in to temptation… “He that loves his life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25). By the way, chances are, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE if you give up an addiction [sin]! But IF you do die, at least you will go to heaven! The Bible teaches Christians ARE NO LONGER SLAVES to sin and that grace is not a license to sin (Romans 6:1-23).
Jesus commands you to give up your sin!
Jesus said that if you want to go to heaven, you need to get rid of your sin: “And if your right eye offend you, pluck it out, and cast it from you: for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:30). Now, he is not wanting you to self-mutilate, but he is speaking of the danger of sin and the radical nature of repentance (turning form sin).
Don’t wait to get zapped!
If your attitude toward sin, is merely that you are waiting for God to zap you free of addiction, you will probably never get free from it. God commands you, by faith (which is acting on the promises/commands of God), to give it up! He will help you and strengthen you to do so, and He leaves you with no excuses for your addiction: “There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Granted, people are supernaturally healed of addiction (described as “God took the desire away”). But they must still DAILY say “NO” to temptation. A life-time of denying sin cannot take place in a day…You will have to daily take each action/thought “into captivity” and make it obedient to Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). That means you replace lies, un-Biblical philosophies, etc. with TRUTH from the Bible. For example, a person feels “I got to do this sin, or I am going to have a headache, and it isn’t worth it; besides, I’ll just go back anyway.” Those thoughts need to be replaced with: “No, Jesus is worth it (Revelation 4:11). He is worth even dying for (Matthew 16:24-27). The Bible promises me I can be free if I trust Him (John 8:32)” And then act accordingly.
Daily training your flesh
Keep in mind, you are not the first and only person to have a sin addiction. MANY people have been freed by Jesus over a whole range of sinfulness. What makes you different? Don’t believe the lies of Satan or your deceptive flesh. Your flesh [muscle memory, nerves, and brain], depending on your age, has been “programmed” to handle urges and life-scenarios in sinful ways for a long time.
Now, by the grace of God (divine forgiveness, power of the Holy Spirit, and instruction from God – Titus 2:11-14, Romans 8:4), you need to train in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Training takes time and EFFORT. So study Scripture, pray, and meditate on the power of God! Make “no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14). You make “no provision” by not allowing your bodily urges to indulge and embrace sinful actions and thoughts. Take the necessary and practical steps to get rid of sin just as you would cancer in your body or mold in your home. If you belong to Jesus, you are not alone (Matthew 28:20).
Practically: I have greatly benefited from listening to/ playing hymns (usually older Christian songs) and taking prayer/meditation walks. These have helped me focus on God and order my thoughts to fight temptation.
I provide hymns below, as well as books about addiction. Also, it is extremely encouraging to hear testimonies of people God has set free from addiction at unshackled.org
-“Here is Love” by William Rees, 1855; William Edwards, 1915, William Williams, 1744 to the tune cymraeg by Robert Lowry, 1876.
-“The Love of God” by Frederick Martin Lehman and Claudia Lehman Mays (1868- 1953)
-“I’d Rather Have Jesus” by Rhea F. Miller (1922) to the tune I’d Rather Have Jesus by George Beverly Shea
-“Immortal, Invisible” by Walter Chalmers Smith, 1867
to the Welsh tune, from John Roberts’s “Caniadau y Cyssegr”, 1839
-“Come Thou Fount” by Robert Robinson (1758) to tune Nettleton (John Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music, 1813) [There is a verse that speaks of being “prone to wander” which I do not think SHOULD characterize the heart of a believer, though it may express the heart of those struggling to come to faith/ have faith in God]
-“Just As I Am” by Charlotte Elliot (1789-1871) to the tune Woodworth (William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868)
Books about Addiction:
What Are the Odds? by Mike Lindell, 2019 Mike, the “MyPillow” inventor, speaks about his full surrender to Christ and freedom from crack/cocaine. This book is a great insight into the life of an addict and contains humorous stories. Also, it will give people hope. This books contains supernatural occurrences, and Mike’s testimony seems to be genuine.
Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger Deals with opium in Hong Kong.
Rebel With a Cause by Franklin Graham About Franklin, son of Billy Graham, who comes to Christ after drinking alcohol and comes out of cigarette-addiction.