Addiction is no respecter of socioeconomic boundaries. I am a product of a middle class pastoral family. I have struggled with addiction, it wasn’t until I lost my uncle from the long term damage done by drugs and alcohol that I realized that I was called to people with their struggle. This has been a large eye opener to me. To hear stories of family members that I had no clue they were struggling as well.
Almost 2 years ago my wife and I purchased a small 16 room motel with the intent of running it as just that. However when I sat in the funeral of a 25 year old young man who overdosed on Furanyl Fentanyl that was sold to him as heroin, we decided to turn our place into a recovery residence.
My biggest addiction struggles have always been with gambling but I would dabble here and there with substances, preferably pain killers. I am now clean from all substances ( including alcohol) for 2 years. Thank you Beverly Sartain for giving me a chance to share with your online community. And providing a place for me to receive encouragement as I encourage others.
I am going to be speaking today about addiction. First, what does it mean to be addicted to something? According to Webster’s dictionary the word addicted means: compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal;broadly : persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful
10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep
Many people deal with addiction. In fact many of us in here right now do. Don’t believe me? How many of you can’t function without at least two cups of coffee? Or that chocolate bar or Energy Drink? You may be sitting there thinking” it is not the same thing.”
Of course it is, your body is reliant on an outside substance to stimulate or relax you.
You may be saying I only use “natural products” such as melatonin, B12, or B6. Really? Marijuana, Heroin, and Cocaine are natural products too.
Let’s face it Addiction is Addiction. While we are facing facts can we all agree that addiction is a thief?
It says in the scripture that the thief comes to do three things, the first of which is the to do what they do best…STEAL.
WHAT DOES ADDICTION STEAL?
1. OUR JOY
It steals our JOY by removing us from the presence of God. In Psalms 16:11
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
The use of the word “fullness” implies there is a measure of joy missing outside of the presence of God.
2. OUR HOPE
Through addiction we lose our sight. We become blinded by the call of the substance and can not see what God has planned for us. Titus 2:11-13
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
Then Jesus says in Revelation 3:20
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
This is the ultimate dinner invite but, if we are in a state of addiction the call of the substance is louder than the knock of God.
Biblical hope is not a sense of an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation but in the sense of confident expectation based on a solid certainty. It rest on God’s promises. This brings us to our next point.
3. OUR FAITH
Faith is the present possession of Grace. A Conviction, Confidence, Trust, Belief, Reliance, Trustworthiness, and Persuasion. Hebrews 11:1 the writer writes:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
So, if faith is the substance of things Hoped for, how can we have faith without hope.
We lose faith in God, others, and ourselves. Philippians 4:13 says:
13 I can do all things through Christ[b] who strengthens me.
Through Christ we are able to accomplish all things, if we lose faith in God then all faith and all hope is lost. Because as written in Hebrews 11:6
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
The second thing, according to the scripture, that the thief comes to do is kill…
WHAT DOES THE THIEF KILL?
1. THE BODY
Everyone knows that alcohol destroys the liver, smoking the lungs, caffeine the kidneys, and chocolate the waistline. All these can be addictions the thief we are talking about. Methamphetamines literally eat you from the inside out. So, we all know that these drugs kill the body.
2. OUR MIND
These addictions control our minds. It puts us in a state of confusion, paranoia, and fear. If the devil can control our minds through addiction he is getting us out of the will of God through fear. In 2 Timothy 1:7 Paul writes to the young pastor:
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
If fear is not a gift of God the where does it come from? The spirit of fear may find a place by one’s natural temperment. But, it is not merely a human disposition; it is not from God. Genesis 1:26 says:
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;
If fear is not in God then it is not naturally in us.
What does fear do to us?
-It can immobilize us (Job 7:13-14)
When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,
My couch will ease my complaint,’
14 Then You scare me with dreams
And terrify me with visions,
-It can Torment us Luke 16:24-25
Torment is 1. Extreme pain; anguish; the utmost degree of misery, either of body or mind.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.
In this illustration of torment the rich man is being tormented t by the flames of hell. The same way people in addiction are tormented by the hold of their addiction.
-MAKES US FEEL POWERLESS Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Therefore if we know the word of God we are powerful.
-Makes us feel alone ( Matt. 28:20, Romans 8:31, Psalm 23:4)
lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.[d]
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
So, we know we are not alone through the Word.
Through fear indecision or wrong decisions are then made that could give place to bondage and great human suffering.
How many of us have made a rushed or hasty decision that we later wished we hadn’t? It is the same thing with some stiffer consequences.
“I am only one drug away from never being clean again for the rest of my life.”
It’s the addicts indecision or wrong decision lead them down a road of bondage and suffering the are living in. But way as Christians know Jesus said in Luke 4:18
…To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;…
Not to mention the chemicals you are putting in yourself to kill the brain cells.
(Explain Reward Deficiency Syndrome)
3. OUR SPIRIT
Romans 7:5 says:
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.
We’ve already established that the call of the substance is louder than the call of God. The addiction kills our “pnuema” this is the part of a person capable of responding to God. In Matt. 10:28 Jesus says:
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
I’ve heard people say “this is Hell” but according to Revelation 21:8
8 But the cowardly, unbelieving,[e] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
When we read the word sorcerers what do you think of? Witches, warlocks, wizards. The literal greek refers to those dealing in drugs. So, apparently this isn’t a new problem.
According to our Scripture the third thing the thief does is destroy.
WHAT DOES THE THIEF DESTROY?
1. OUR FAMILIES
(THE I AM ONLY HURTING MYSELF LIE)
Husbands to leave wives
Parents to leave children
People to leave churches
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
God has to set the solitary in families.
Solitary: The ONE! The FIRST! When we put other things first God is no longer the solitary and families fall apart.
2. OUR COMMUNITIES
How often have we said or heard “That was a nice community until the crackheads took over”
If we as Christians had been doing what Jesus told us to in Luke 14:23
’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
The “crackheads” wouldn’t have taken over.
3. OUR CHURCHES
I heard someone once say “ when I was a sinner I didn’t need someone telling me how bad I was.” We sing ‘Just as I Am’ and then we put conditions on it. They come just as they are but they don’t fit in our neat little box of Christianity. Well, guess what? Christianity doesn’t fit in box and neither do people.
Matthew 25:34-40 says:
34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
The Good Shepherd
11 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep
In closing I am glad I have a good shepherd that laid down his own life for whosoever believes in him shall not have their joy, hope, and faith stolen. Their body, mind, and spirit killed or their families, communities, and churches destroyed. But, they can have their joy, hope, and faith restored according to Proverbs 6:31
Yet when he (the thief) is found, he must restore sevenfold;
Their body, mind and spirit resurrected, in John 11:25 Jesus tells Martha:
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
To have their families, communities, and churches rebuilt. Ezra writes in Chapter 9 Verse 9:
9 For we were slaves. Yet our God did not forsake us in our bondage; but He extended mercy to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to revive us, to repair the house of our God, to rebuild its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
But most of all he gave us eternal life through him.