For the first part of this article, click here.
So, how do we break free from addictions?
First, we must know God and believe Him. I’m not just talking about salvation here. It goes beyond a simple saving knowledge of Christ and an eternity-altering belief in Him. I’m talking about knowing the character of who God is and how he operates and works in your life. If salvation was all that was required for freedom from addictions, there wouldn’t be any Christians who were addicts. But that’s not the case. A knowledge of God is scholastic and temporal while knowing him is relational and intimate.
Knowing God is paramount. Because your addiction will lie to you, and you can only combat those lies with what you know.
When you don’t know the Truth, you give power to the lie.
The Lie – God doesn’t care about your needs.
The Truth – Psalm 40:17, “I am afflicted and needy; the Lord thinks of me. You are my helper and my deliverer.”
The Truth – Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you.”
The Lie – God didn’t stop the bad from invading my life, so He condoned it by His silence.
The Truth – Matthew 18:6, “But whoever causes the downfall of one of these little ones who believe in Me—it would be better for him if a heavy millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea!”
The Lie – I need this to relax, to gain control in my life – I am SO stressed out!
The Truth – Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
You see, when you don’t know the Truth, you give power to the lie.
When you don’t believe the Truth, you also are giving power to the lie.
Secondly, you can’t just know God if you want victory over addictions — you must believe the things that He says to us about our victory over sin. Romans 6 says a lot about this particular point. Pauls says, “Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life. For if we have been joined with Him in the likeness of His death, we will certainly also be in the likeness of His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin… Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him…So, you too consider yourselves [Reckon yourselves] dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Watchman Nee in his book, The Normal Christian Life, says, “God set us free from the dominion of sin, not by strengthening our old man, but by crucifying him; not by helping him to do anything but by removing him from the scene of action.” Our problem lies in our belief of this fact. We think our “old man,” our old self – that sin nature with which we were all born, still calls the shots in our lives. When in reality, she has been crucified with Christ. But we’re still listening to a dead thing. We’ve become the spiritual equivalent of The Walking Dead. No wonder our faith isn’t attracting a crowd. A zombie’s life is a miserable existence. Not alive, but not quite dead. Roaming around with death and destruction in its wake. This is NOT how you were meant to live! This is not what your salvation was for…God doesn’t want to make you a zombie. He wants to make you NEW!
When we don’t believe that we have victory over sin, we give power to the lie that we’ll always be an addict. But John says that I’m a branch engrafted into Christ. I don’t have to make myself a branch; I am one! I don’t have to make myself worthy of God’s forgiveness; according to John 3:16, I have it! I don’t have to muscle through the temptation; according to 1 Corinthians 10:13, I have a way out. I don’t have to conjure up the power to resist because Romans 6:11 tells me I AM dead to sin. But so often we find ourselves repeating the same prayers over and over again. “Lord, please give me victory over this sin in my life.” And he’s sitting there saying, “I’ve already done it!” But we keep asking…and it’s like asking to go into a room which you already have entered.
How absurd would I sound if while standing in your kitchen, I begged you to bring me to your kitchen? But this is what we do to God when we refuse to believe the truths He told us. You are dead! You have NEW life! The victory is won and we’re on the winning side! All your praying is just as absurd as that illustration. You’re in the kitchen, you don’t have to ask to get there. You have victory in Christ, no begging required. You’re not a slave to every sense of desire which comes your way. You have the ability now to choose: obedience or disobedience. Life or death. Freedom or addiction.
But when you don’t live out Truth, you give power to the lie.
Romans 6:12 – 18 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, so that you obey its desires. And do not offer any parts of it to sin as weapons for unrighteousness. But as those who are alive from the dead, offer yourselves to God, and all the parts of yourselves to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin will not rule over you, because you are not under law but under grace. What then? Should we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that if you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of that one you obey—either of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness? But thank God that, although you used to be slaves of sin, you obeyed from the heart that pattern of teaching you were transferred to, and having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness.”
This last step is where the rubber meets the road. Because it goes past just a head knowing and a heart trusting, it branches out into the body walking. You have to live it out in order to break free from addiction in your life. Paul reminds us that we choose to whom we are going to be slaves by our obedience to that master. If we choose unrighteousness, death and addiction is our master. When we choose righteousness, a loving God who seeks our good is our master. But either way you slice it, you’re a slave to someone. The question then is: to whom do you want to be a slave? A mean slave master who seeks your demise or a loving one who seeks your holiness. The power is in your obedience. You will always be an addict controlled by your demons if you limit truth to just knowing and believing and never allow Truth to impact your living.
You may have an addiction to alcohol, but alcohol has no more control over you than it has over Christ.
You may have an addiction to cutting, but cutting has no more control over you than it has over Christ.
You may have an addiction to porn or sexual encounters, but I promise you…sexual addictions have no more control over you than they do over Christ!
Because you’re standing in the kitchen.
You are IN CHRIST! And in Christ, you have the full and free forgiveness of your sins (Psalms 103:1-12), a new outlook on life (Ephesians 4:20-24), and the power to be freed from addictions (Ephesians 6:10-13; Galatians 5:1, 13, 16-18).
KNOW Him. BELIEVE Him. Live it out! In this anchor (Christ), your sure hope is found!