March 9, 2018
Addictions – Our Powerless Masters
Yesterday, we introduced our Biblical-based Lighthouse Network definition for addiction. Hopefully, our description opened some eyes and caused some head-scratching by showing how we all suffer from addictions. Our natural state is to cope with discomfort or stress by pursuing other gods, idols, and desires, while leaving God out of the solution. If you missed yesterday’s devotional, click here. Today, we are going to give you an experiential description of addiction.
As kids, none of us sets out to become trapped in an addiction. Sadly, after a slow and insidious initial use of a soothing mechanism, enslavement is the ultimate end for all addictive behaviors. In certain key situations, addictions become our masters becoming the key authority and influencer in key decision-making moments. So by definition, God is overthrown as the authority and is now subservient to the addiction. A small percentage of people feel the enslavement and lack of control. But most of us are fooled into thinking we aren’t enslaved, believing we still have control, because the takeover is so subtle and usually occurs over a long period of time. The reality is that we easily become slaves to the objects that soothe us. Being “trapped” is exactly where Satan wants us. He cleverly disguises our addiction objects. Because most times, we aren’t stupid and really don’t want to be slaves, Satan has to be subtle and crafty to prod and corral us down the tricky pathway to enslavement.
People can find themselves obsessively and compulsively hooked on almost anything. The object of desire for an addict is always staring them right in the face. For some it’s using food as a source of comfort. For others it can be substances, alcohol, caffeine or pain pills. Subtler and more frequent options include control, relationships, anger, spending, social media, the phone, sports, TV, sex, porn, sensual romance novels, anxiety, panic attacks, guilt, fear, hobbies, money, power (think parenting or relational tactics), a loud and intimidating voice, the silent treatment, exercise, looks, education, avoidance … man, the list is endless! Just think of how many times these responses or objects got you into trouble. Yet you still do them! That is enslavement. In the end, we exalt our feelings and ourselves above God, and in the moment, we want to feel good … no matter what that does to our relationship with God.
People caught up in an addiction have replaced God with an idol, or their addiction object. They have found something that promises a good time, seems to make things better or easier, offers an escape or diversion, or dulls the immediate pain. What might have entered our life as a useful coping skill, tool, friend, or “savior,” quickly became a cruel master. The problem with idols is that we choose them because we want what we think they can give us, not because of what they actually are. We believe that they will do something for us, and we give them priority and, ultimately, our devotion. But they are actually stone gods … illusions and lies that give us a little, but then trap us by interfering with the full, long-term relief that only going to God first will actually bring.
Today, readily admit you have an addiction. Be open with another person about what your top addiction objects are. As a Christian, the Holy Spirit is in you to empower your pursuit of putting God on the throne of your heart, moment by moment. Today’s scripture tells us that we are “crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.” This is the truth: we do not struggle alone. Christ is with us and in Him we are free. We slip daily. But don’t let Satan roll you over. Confess then in order to truly repent, you need to understand why you turned to your idol instead of to God. With steady honesty and submission, and by applying God’s instruction and promises, you will be set free. When you are uncomfortable emotionally, notice what you turn to for soothing. God, or ??? Whether you turn to God for lasting healing, or you continue to turn to your secret but favorite go-to elixir from this world to be poisoned is your decision, so choose well. The Lighthouse Helpline 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242) is here to help you move out of the addiction trap by connecting you to some unique and effective treatment options.
Dear Father God, Today more than ever I need You to live up to that divine title of Savior. I need You to save me from myself, my addictions, my fear, my burdens. I am so tired of trying to do it on my own. I am weary and exhausted, stressed out and alone. Come to me and save me. Free me from my fears and help me to hold onto You, so that my life, my dreams, and my hopes can be renewed. I pray this in the name of the One whom You sent to set me free from all enslavement, Jesus Christ; And all God’s children say – AMEN!
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, Isaiah 61:1
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20