Addiction: a Christian’s perspective

“Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance, or engages in an activity, that can be pleasurable, but the continued use/act of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work, relationships, or health” (https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/addiction)

While some addictions are strictly physical, most addictive behaviour is not related to either physical tolerance or exposure to cues, or triggers. People who are prone to addictive/compulsive behaviour will often switch actions or drugs. The specific action/drug is not what matters, but the need to act or take a drug, any action, any drug, that identifies most addicts. Treatment of this kind of addiction, as opposed to a physical addiction, requires a greater understanding of how addiction works psychologically, not simply the denial of the drug/action.

There are certain behaviours that, when done compulsively, are actually beneficial. I’m not talking about OCD behaviour here, but things such as praying, or calling your parents, or playing with your kids. These kinds of behaviours, when done often, are quite beneficial. Nobody in their right mind would ever call doing such good things an addiction, nor compulsive, I’m just illustrating that some behaviours should be encouraged.

As this article is meant to draw a parallel between addiction and sin, I propose that sin can become addictive, and there is a large overlap between addictive behaviour and sinful behaviour. Take for instance lying, which is identified in Exodus 20 as one of the 10 things that God has commanded us not to do, a grave sin. Lying can become an addiction, such as the case of compulsive (pathological) liars. This condition actually has an official name in psychology: pseudologia fantastica (also mythomania). See this article for more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pathological_lying

When we look at addiction as sin, regardless of what the addiction is, the solution is quite simple for the Christian. Just like we would for any sin, we first acknowledge that it was already nailed to the cross. We then bring the condition to Christ and ask Him to lend us His strength to conquer our behaviour. This is how alcoholics, drug addicts, kleptomaniacs, can find release from their destructive behaviours.

I’ve struggled with addiction my whole adult life, and it wasn’t until I asked Jesus to lift the burden from me that I found the strength to stop the behaviour, not my own strength, but His. Jesus has the strength we lack and He will lend us a hand, lift us out of the mire. Let Him work in your life by asking Him to lift you up from whatever is dragging you down.

There is not one of us that couldn’t use His helping hands. We have all sinned and fallen short of His glory. We may not all be addicted to sin, but most of us are. The horrible truth about sin is that it often feels really good as it’s taking place, whatever the behaviour may be, but the guilt can be overbearing once it’s done. I can tell you from personal experience that the relief that comes from Jesus is a much greater high than anything else I’ve ever done.

In closing, I pray that all of us who have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God, will realize that this is not a condemnation, but a challenge. We have fallen short, yes, but we can be brought up to His level. All we have to do is ask for the amazing gift He has given His life for us to have, free of charge. Look within and realize that our great Friend, Jesus Christ, is only waiting for you to ask Him for a helping hand. Ask Him, and then take His hand, what follows is nothing short of miraculous.

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