Saturday, February 16, 2013

12 Bible Verses to Help us Understand Addiction

1. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

So here in Corinthians we're told not to feel alone or surprised by addictions. It's common for us to become addicted and troubled by worldly things. This passage is a guarantee from God himself that there is temptation yes, but there is also a way to escape it. God also promises that he will help you endure the misery of it. So be not afraid! Look always for the way out and God will present it. He will carry you through the misery to recovery.

2. 1 Peter 5:8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Be sober minded and watchful. That's what Peter 5:8 is saying. If we're in the grips of addiction being sober minded isn't always possible. But even under the grips of addiction to drugs, food, alcohol, sex, or pornography we can dive into the word of God for strength. If you're empty and out of your mind, remember that the Bible can set it straight. If all you can do is read, then do that. If you can seek help, then do that. Being sober minded may not simply mean not being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but also having a serious mind, as Yoda would say, "A jedi must hold the deepest commitment, the most serious mind." This applies to Christians as well. Temper your mind from running around with itself gossiping and acting foolish. This one I have trouble with, because sometimes I just want to laugh and complain about people or the world. But that is not healthy for us! A sober mind is a serious mind. It also says be watchful. What does God mean by that? Well we should watch out for addiction traps. We should keep ourselves away from dangerous people and situations. Situations and people that carry the addiction or discuss it in positive light should be avoided! Being watchful also means ensuring we are remaining on God's path. It's easy to slip left or right, but the holy spirit will guide us.

3. James 1:12-15 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

This passage in James is incredibly powerful. I'm blown away just reading through it and analyzing it. What a wonderful God we have that speaks to us so clearly! God be praised at all times! This passage says blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial. Yes, there are trials. And a trial of this kind is not ordered by God, but is created from our own desires. We covet things, then when that desire takes over and we act on it, we sin because of it. The sins full growth causes death. This metaphor is very apt to an alcoholic or drug addict. They were going through their lives on their spiritual journey and a substance showed itself. Through friends or media the person becomes curious. The curiosity turns into the desire to try. The person tries, and enjoys it. The enjoying becomes daily. The daily becomes addiction. The addiction over time wears down the individuals morals and mental defenses. It destroys their relationships and worldly lives. Then as the sin takes full control, it destroys their bodies and they die. Our desire is a dangerous thing, shut it down and run before sin takes over.

4. 1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world.

Another great passage from John tells us simply that all the desires of our flesh, that is our body and the things our senses perceive are not from God. This is very simple yet extremely powerful! It should be clear that if they are not of God then why would we want anything to do with them? Pride in possessions is mentioned, like having the nice car or the classy house. The marveling at what the neighbors must think, and smiling at how they must envy our success. This is not of God. This entire process is of the world, of our consumerist culture. I have to say that we are way off the mark with this as Christians. We need to not partake in this consumerist nightmare! Be an observant. Show by example to your neighbors that as a Christian you need only a few things. Show humbleness! And show that you know this world is temporary. Because it is! We only have some thousands of days here, and then those days are gone. Remember that.

5. 1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals."

This passage is just like it sounds. If we associate with non-believers and false Christians our morals WILL be harmed. Their ways will rub off on us in conversation. This passage not only says this, but it also demands to us that we not be deceived! For me, it is my own mind that wants to allow small slip ups. My mind wants to let things slide here and there. We must be strong against these temptations. Keep good company! Their good morals will also rub off.

6. 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

Peter says hello to us, calling us exiles which I like. We are exiles! All humanity was banished from the garden. Since then we have been under this curse. So while we're out here in the wild, facing our trials, let's abstain. We are told quite literally that the passions of the flesh wage WAR on us. Our passions fight us for our immortal souls. This is a desperate and intense battle. Sometimes I like to think of it inside my head, like a literal battle between an army of light and an army of darkness. Like an real time strategy computer game the darkness pushes forward, and the light fights back. The more we fall into addiction the greater the strength of the armies of darkness get. Their territory expands and they enslave us. When we attend step groups, church, and read the word of God the armies of light are multiplied and go out fighting with the banner of God waving in the background.

7. Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In Galatians we get a good look at what God doesn't want us doing. Many things are listed here. We are warned that those who do such things will not be among the kingdom of God! So let's be very careful to avoid these things. Though Jesus Christ paid the debt for our sins, we should not keep sinning once he lives within us. Of course we will always sin, but we should always attempt to become more perfect Christians. Christ lived a perfect life, we must aspire to it.

8. 1 Corinthians 6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything.

Corinthians is telling us that we may do many things, but a lot of it isn't helpful. We have free will, that is a gift from God. The angels had free will before us as well. I am free to do as I please, but I will not be enslaved by any substance or activity! Moderation is not an easy thing to maintain in a flashy world of media hype and television bombarding us with immorality and sin as "cool." Decadence is not something to aspire to, yet I see it on commercials marketed as a good thing! Are you kidding me? Be watchful in the media, on television, and on radio for sin and evil. They are prevalent in these last days of humanity.

9. James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Total submission to God is something that is very important. In 12 step they say "half measures availed us nothing." This can apply to spirituality too! We need to have an attitude of making massive sweeping changes to our lives. It can be imposing at first, and even uncomfortable but the long term benefits are incredible. The second sentence in the passage tells us that if we resist the devil he'll run. The devil wants to pull us off the path, always. He will try anything, and will often veil it in morality and spirituality. He will come appearing as a saint of light. The devil is cunning and so we must also be cunning and watchful. God is on our side, and God has all power. Always remember, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, God is with us, and we should fear no evil.

10. Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Romans 13:14 says put on Jesus Christ! What would Jesus do? Ask yourself that question constantly. It's more than a cute slogan, it's a way of life. Remember the way Jesus lived, and mimic it. Be Christ-like. Leave not a single opening for the ideas of the flesh and the world to gratify itself. Counter every impure thought of our bodily desires. Fast and pray for wisdom. We can do this! We are God's chosen people! He loves us, he sent his only son to die for us! God will always help us along the way, and that is a wonderful thing. You are so blessed my friend, so blessed.

11. Proverbs 6:27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest and his clothes not be burned? This is a wonderful metaphor from Proverbs. Think of the fire as your addiction. If we carry it everywhere with us, we will get burned. If we don't throw it off, but try to control it and limit it, it will eventually harm us again. We cannot keep it with us and expect for everything to work out. Just like a man who would carry a fire burning himself, if we try to carry the addiction it will harm us.

12. 1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

This passage makes me want to cry it's so incredibly powerful. This passage is literally filled to the brim with the love of God for us. He hands us grace by the bucket full. So even if we succumb to desires, and fall into addiction we are not lost! This is a great message of hope. God is there for you and with you in your time of addiction. Time will pass while addiction plagues us. God does not work on our desired time frame, it can be years and years before he acts. But eventually he does act. He restores us through Christ. He brings us out of addiction, and into the light. He restores everything that we were to us, and showers us with gifts for our steadfastness. God truly does love us. He loves us so much, it just amazes me. I can't even comprehend how powerful his love and grace is. But there it is, wow, what a great God we have over us!

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