Break Free from Addiction
No matter what addiction we face, God offers us a way out. If you’re caught up in a cycle of addiction, you probably think the way out requires a complex rehab strategy, but that’s not necessarily the case. With God, things are pretty straightforward, in fact so simple that at times we may not always see the solutions He offers – though they are staring us in the face!
No matter what your struggle is, God knows and He cares and He wants you to be free.
Whatever addiction you may be affected by, whether it is what you allow your eyes to see or the amount of food that goes in your mouth, the core problem is our age-old battle against ‘SIN’. Sin comes in many different forms and we all struggle with something. No matter what your struggle is, God knows and He cares and He wants you to be free. That’s why He has made a way out for you and me.
The simple solution is REPENTANCE. As Jesus said to the woman caught in the act of adultery, “Go and sin no more.” Repentance means turning around from the way you’ve been going and to start heading in the opposite direction! It involves coming to terms with the fact that you have a problem and making a decision to turn your back on it.
This means naming the issue. It could be anything from overeating to binge watching TV to all kinds of things that steal your time, health and relationships, robbing you of your family, vocation, and destiny. There is no doubt about it, sin brings devastation. The Bible says the result of sin is death. It also tells us that the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. That is what addiction accomplishes for us. Yet many of us continue to flirt with our addiction and its false promises. It may offer temporary comfort but ultimately it will lead us down a trail of destruction.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
This reminds me of the well-known quotation… “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.” The writer of this statement is unknown but the truth it shares should be made known to everyone. Even so, we may know what’s best for us and yet somehow, in this world where anything goes, we can easily be anesthetized to the consequences of our negative actions.
The answer as I have said is repentance, which means choosing to follow Jesus no matter what. Remember that old Sunday school song… ‘I Have Decided to Follow Jesus’ – “Tho’ none go with me, still I will follow… The world behind me, the Cross before me; No turning back, no turning back.”
Repentance requires naming the problem and refusing to accept its ongoing existence…
Repentance requires naming the problem and refusing to accept its ongoing existence in our lives by putting our faith in Jesus. After all, His Name is the Name Above All Names – the name that is higher than sickness and disease, the name above addiction. As we speak His name over the situation, we give Him permission to intervene in our situation and our faith rises. And, of course, as we pray and confess our sin to God He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us.
If you are struggling today, trust Jesus to deliver you.
He said He did not come to condemn the world but to save it. He said He came to set the captives free. Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life. (Romans 6:23). And that doesn’t just mean life in Heaven where there is no sin, it means having a victorious life on earth.
Yes, the enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy but Jesus came to give us life and life in abundance (John 10:10). Abundant life is not struggling with sin. God has made it possible for us to be reconciled with Him, forgiven of our sin and empowered to live a victorious life.
Sin is like a deep ravine that separates us from God. In order to cross that vast divide, we need a bridge. Jesus is that bridge. As we accept Him as our Savior, we are empowered to live a new life in Christ, putting our past behind and embracing the freedom we can have in Jesus.
For those Christians who continue to struggle – do not feel condemned. Jesus did not come to condemn the world but to save it. The Bible also tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Repentance is the first step but there is much more we can do to walk in victory. Different Christian writers have different perspectives on how one can overcome, but I would like to share just five things that have worked in my life.
5 steps to help you break free
- Renew your mindAs the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out!” If we have spent years putting garbage into our minds it may take as long to change our way of thinking. God’s Word is the only thing that cleanses us and we need to read it and replace our addictive thoughts with scriptures that inspire us towards godly living. Romans 12:1-2 instructs us not to conform to the ways of the world, but to be transformed through the renewing of our minds. We are called to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice. Sin stems from rebellion against God and our sacrifice to Him is the exact opposite of that.
- Fast. Jesus said that some spiritual conditions can only be turned around through fasting in prayer. God delivered me overnight from smoking years ago, but when it comes to overeating I’ve had to learn to live a fasted life. It’s obvious, what we feed grows and what we starve dies. Sometimes we have to cut off certain things, separate ourselves from people who hold us back and avoid particular places that perpetuate a weakness. Fasting is not just about what we eat, it can be about denying ourselves things we know will cause us to stumble. I sometimes do a liquid fast for three days and I feel the supernatural power of God sustaining me. I’m all too aware that I could never do this in my own strength and I encourage you to try fasting and see what God supernaturally accomplishes in your life.
- Prayer is simply communicating with God, telling him your deepest thoughts, including confessing your weaknesses. Run to God every time you mess up, don’t run away from Him. Remember when you have a setback you don’t go all the way back to square one, you can pick yourself up and get back on track. Through prayer, you can learn to come alongside God and walk in His strength.
- Be on the alert for situations that will take you back into your addiction. We all have triggers and it’s important to know what your triggers are and avoid them. Watching Christian TV is a great way you can learn to live above temptation. This is part of renewing your mind, but it also helps connect you with the testimonies of others who have learned to walk in victory. GOD TV receives e-mails regularly from those who have been delivered from all kinds of addiction, from alcoholism to pornography, drugs and many other life controlling issues. Many have been able to turn away from an unwanted same sex attraction, others have broken free from fear and anxiety. Trust God to meet you where you are at and turn your situation around just as He had for many others.
- Have a vision. Discover what God has called you to do. See fulfilling your calling as infinitely greater than wallowing around in your addiction. As the song suggests, trade in your sorrows, trade in your shame. Lay them down for the joy of the Lord. As Jim Elliot says “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
In closing never give up hope. We serve the God of all hope, full of mercy and compassion. We as believers will always face temptation, but God promises us He will always make a way out. Let’s give up the addictions that hold us back and embrace all God has for us.
Helpful Links to Help Overcome Addiction
Things Can Change – The Ramp with Karen Wheaton and Micah Wood
The Director of The Ramp School of Ministry, Micah Wood offers hope to viewers struggling with addiction, sharing how he overcame pornography some 10 years ago. Micah shares how God’s fire uproots everything in our lives that doesn’t belong. “When we follow Jesus, not only are our sins forgiven, our affections are transferred,” he says.
Hope Revolution with Ben Fitzgerald and Heidi Baker
Australian revivalist, Ben Fitzgerald shares his testimony of overcoming drug addiction. He speaks of his anger against God after his father’s suicide and his desperate quest to find meaning in life. He shares how he discovered God as Father and invites others to see God breathe new life into their lives. Heidi Baker of Iris Global shares how she overcame shipwreck telling viewers that God has a place for them to get to, despite the many challenges in their way, but to get there, they need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
IHOP-KC Fascinate Conference – Confidence in God
Joseph Meyer of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City shares his powerful testimony of how he was able to overcome shame and receive God’s forgiveness and experience freedom from pornography, cursing, and rebellion.