“A man without Self-Control is like a city broken into and left without walls”
According to Dr. Edward Halowell, a leading specialist in ADD and ADHD, “Addiction is a failure to bond.” We live in a culture where we are more connected electronically but more disconnected emotionally. There is no such thing as addiction under control.
“When you can stop you don’t want to, and when you want to stop you can’t” – Luke Davies (former drug addict).
According to Dr. Patrick Carnes, we are about to face a tsunami that could threaten the entire human race! A recent finding revealed that 2/3 of kids are watching pornography while doing their homework, and 34% of them would grow up to become addicts. While nicotine can linger in the brain for 30 days when a person smokes just a cigarette, it has been claimed that pornography can linger in the brain after just a scene for several months.
Although the magnitude of all addiction is huge, their apparent cause is not new. If you are thirsty, and swimming in the ocean, you will be thirstier the more you drink the ocean’s salty water. Likewise, the world we live in only has salty water on offer to us all. It was said that Alexander the Great wept when there were no more worlds to conquer.
“A friend of mine who overcame alcoholism told me once that when he realised that it is a lie from the pit of hell to say that he cannot live without that drink. And once he confronted that lie, he was set free.” – Dr. Michael Youssef.
As Christians, there is no doubt about it that addiction is a sin. Sin by nature is very enslaving, the more you indulge, the more it controls the indulger. The Bible says (in Hebrews 11:25) that sin is pleasurable for a time. It is pleasurable until STD and AIDS begin to ravage the body; It is pleasurable until the alcohol begins to fry the liver; It is pleasurable until the drugs begin to fry the brain. You have the right to choose your kicks but you cannot control the kickback.
In the year 1725, John Wesley (founder of the Methodist church) while away studying at college received a letter from his godly wise mother, Susanna, with the following words explaining what sin is:
“Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is a sin to you, however innocent it may seems itself.”
The root cause of our sinful human nature is our heart, which has been corrupted by the Devil’s virus right from the beginning starting with Adam & Eve. Jesus pointed out the fallen condition of our hearts in Mark 7:21-23: “From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.” The only solution to sin and guilt is repentance.
Worldly wisdom says: Trust in your heart, but godly wisdom says: We are NOT to trust in our heart nor rely on our own understanding, but we are to trust in the Lord with ALL our heart. (Proverb 3:5). “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:90).”
Medicines often only deal with the symptoms and not the root cause. Only when we seek God wholeheartedly, who is the greatest physician will we not only receive a diagnosis of the root cause of our disease but also the perfect cure. Recovery from addiction is a CHOICE, but here is the paradox: “What you want is not as important as what you need. Recovery is not for people who need it but for those who want it.”
There’s no point praying to God to clear the cobwebs if you are not willing to accept that God wants you to deal with and let go of the spider. This is why Jesus said (using a figure of speech saying), “If your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away…” – Matthew 18.9. Jesus is not saying that we should literally destroy the precious eyes he gave us, but what He is really saying is that we should get rid of those things that cause us to stumble into sin (e.g. smartphones, toxic friends).
We must be ruthless in moral self-deny. Job said (in Job 31:1), “I made a covenant with my eyes that I would not gaze at a woman. “According to Proverb 27:20 & Ecclesiastes 1:8, “The eyes of men are never satisfied; the eye is never satisfied with seeing.” “Be careful, then, what you allow your eyes to see and your heart to desire. For nothing the Enemy offers can match what you have already been promised in Christ” – Dr. Michael Youssef.
- Eve saw that the fruit of the forbidden tree was pleasing to the eyes, and she took of it and ate (Genesis 3:6)
- Achan the son of Karmin, said he saw the treasures and desired them, so he took them and hid them in his camp (Joshua 7:20-21)
- Kind David, a man after God’s own heart, saw with his eyes and lusted for an unknown woman, committed adultery with her, and then plotted for her husband to be murdered and had him killed in battle (2 Samuel 11)
When the bible talks about self-control – the fruit of the Spirit (revealed in Galatians 5:22-23), it does not mean self-mastery, nor self-improvement, the Bible is talking about self-surrender to the Holy Spirit. Self-control is being empowered by the Holy Spirit of God, but self-mastery is dependent entirely on one’s power and will. Self-control is what takes place in a person’s life out of the abundance that springs out of that person’s love for Jesus, but self-mastery is designed to make a person take control of their own destiny. Even at its best, anyone practising self-mastery if they are honest will admit that things are truly out of control when their soul is completely naked before God.
All our struggles day in day out is NOT against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. For this reason is why the apostle Paul encourages us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might, and to put on the whole armor of God, so that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil (Ephesians 6).
We can take heart knowing God promised that the battle is not ours, for the battle is the Lord’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). He fights our every battle and the battle has already been won at the Cross of His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. If God is for us, who can be against us? He is our Rock and Salvation, and we have assurance time and time again as revealed in the Bible that our strength only comes from the Lord, and through Him, we can do all things. “It’s not by our might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the LORD Almighty (Zechariah 4:6).
In the book of Revelation, John had a real vision of the resurrected Christ Jesus, and he had seen the blood of Jesus flowing from His nail wounds. In the Bible, when John wrote that Jesus freed us by His precious blood, he did not have to imagine that blood. He simply remembered it vividly. In fact, If he lived to be million years old, he would never be able to erase the sight of that blood from his mind. Only the blood of Jesus saves, frees, and breaks the power of sin, shame, and addiction.
Life away from Christ can never satisfy anyone relying on salty water. More than anything, we need The Living Water (John 4:10), which can only be found in The Living One who defeated death and forever holds on to the keys to Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18).
Indeed, there is the lurking temptation to go back to an old lifestyle. For example, life after graduation can be quite a shock. Like the Israelites in the wilderness, who wanted to go back to Egypt, recent graduates often look back to their student days with nostalgia. When we long for the past we need to be reminded that we live in the present and not in the past. “The one thing,” says the apostle Paul (Philippians 3:13) is that “I forget those things which are behind me and strain forward to what lies ahead.”
Lord Jesus, let every chain be broken from me, as I’m bound in Your grace, for Your yoke is easy Your burden is light. O Lord, may my heart always be set on your Kingdom. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Amen & Amen.