Friday, May 30, 2008

Addiction: Can Jesus Overcome Addiction?

Addiction is a popular buzz-word in our culture. Maybe because of popular psychology. Maybe because of a prevalence of artificial and and natural chemicals that we are now able to introduce to our bodies. Maybe because of the prevalence of pornographic entertainment. Are these "outside factors" the source of our addictions? Or is it something deep within us?


Interestingly enough, the Bible actually speaks to the phenomenon of addiction. The Apostle Paul chooses to use the metaphor of slavery to deal with our addictions. In Romans 6 and 7, Paul discusses the power that sin holds over every one of us. And he also discloses that the power and sacrifice of Jesus is sufficient to break that bond that sin holds on us. So, why then, do we continue to hear so much about addiction to sinful desires from those who would call upon Jesus as a savior and friend?


Because these Christians are choosing to believe popular cultural psychology and medicine over the truth of the Bible. The Bible says that when you choose to follow Jesus, you receive freedom from your addictions by the power of His Spirit. I simply find the language that Paul uses inconsistent with our present day language and understanding of temptation, sin, and addictions. This doesn't mean that I can simply explain and define the nature of addiction, but it does mean that I see a certain disconnect between how Paul would explain it and how many modern day theologians would explain it.

2 comments:

unkle e said...

Mate, You say "Because these Christians are choosing to believe popular cultural psychology and medicine over the truth of the Bible. The Bible says that when you choose to follow Jesus, you receive freedom from your addictions by the power of His Spirit." with such confidence, but I'm not sure it's that simple.

1. Addiction to sinful behaviour does not seem to be the same as addiction to heroin. We CAN be healed from heroin addiction, but for whatever reason, it doesn't always happen.

2. We are likewise given hope of physical healing, and sometimes it happens, but sometimes it doesn't happen. And we all die sometime.

So I can't help feeling the answer to your question is to pray, ask God to work, expect him to work (though not necessarily in the way we prescribe), and at the same time keep struggling, get medical help, learn how to live with imperfection.

It seems to me that anything else is either unrealistic and presumption (on the one hand) or lacking faith (on the other).

darkness said...

Addiction is Addiction, and it can always be cured by looking at the reason why we are addicted.

Heroin addiction is a dependence on a chemical imbalance caused by the use of the drug. Addiction to sexual sin is also a chemical imbalance caused by the feelings of the mind and body.

We can medicate ourselves all we want to get rid of the cravings of these drugs or the feelings that we have but until our hearts are set free from the sin that lives within us then we will never truly defeat the powers of the sinful nature. The freedom from addiction that is guaranteed by the bible is given to us because Jesus died for our trangressions therefore allowing us to conquer the things that attack us in this sinful life.

And to answer your question Lew, the people of the Christian faith who can turn to Jesus in a time of need have a lot of shame about their sin that does not allow them to think that they can turn to him. I think the hardest part of a Christians walk is the fact that we are going to mess up and being the bigger person to go to God and place those things that attack us at his feet for him to work on. Addiction is not an easy thing to conquer or to beat but drawing close to God can allow us the opportunity to beat it and get rid of it.

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