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Some have tried for years to quit smoking or stop drinking. When someone does successfully quit, we applaud them for their determination and self-control because addictions are difficult to overcome. Some addictions are hidden, practiced in secret. When a wife discovers that her husband views pornography, she feels devastated, inadequate, and rejected. When a mother discovers evidence of drug use in her son’s room, her heart recoils in fear. In her new book, “Secret Storms,” Jo Ann Mills calls these types of discoveries “tornadoes.” She writes, “A tornado has the strength to take your loved ones and all your possessions and break your spirit.” When addictions come to light, they can wreak havoc on marriages, families, and the church. Whether the addiction is drug abuse, sexual immorality, gambling, or excessive computer use (a new one on the scene!), this topic is meant to equip one to face the addiction head-on and overcome it with God’s help. Some Scriptures will comfort because they assure us that Christians have access to God’s strength. Other Scriptures will admonish because they convict us that sin is sin, even if addictive, and must be overcome and put away for good.
Because there are a great many Scriptures that apply, I will list several (with a brief description) and allow you to choose which ones to include in your Bible-marking.
How to Overcome an Addiction:
1. Resist Temptation
- James 1:14-15– We can’t lay the blame at others’ feet when weak. Temptations come from our own personal lusts and we choose whether or not we will give in to them.
- 1 Cor. 10:13– No temptation is too strong to resist and God promises to provide a way of escape.
- James 4:7- Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
- Rom. 6:1-7– Sin enslaves! Walk in newness of life instead.
- Prov. 6:27– Recognize the danger of playing with fire.
- Prov. 23:19,20– Stay away from people who lack self-control.
- Matt. 5:28-30– Take whatever steps necessary to keep from sinning (see also Prov. 23:2)
2. Don’t Serve the Flesh
- Rom. 6:11,12– Don’t let sin reign in your body so that you will not obey its lusts.
- Rom. 7:18-25– Paul’s battle with his flesh was constant. He counted on Jesus to deliver him and sought to serve the law of God with his mind instead of serving the law of sin with his flesh.
- Rom. 8:5-8– Those who are led by their flesh cannot please God.
- Gal. 2:20– Christ lives in us. When we put on Christ, we put to death our fleshly desires.
- Gal. 5:24– “Those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
- Rom. 13:13,14– “Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.”
- 1 John 2:15-17– The lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes belong to the world. We must choose between the love of the world or the love of the Father.
- Mark 7:20-23– This passage includes list of things (fornication, evil thoughts, etc.) that come from within and defile a man.
- 1 Pet. 2:11– The passions of the flesh wage war against the soul.
3. Rely on God’s Strength
- Psalm 34:4-7– God delivers those who seek Him.
- Psalm 121:1,2– Look to God for help.
- Psalm 51:10– Pray for a clean heart and steadfast spirit.
- Phil 4:13– “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
- Heb. 4:15,16– Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses. Look to Him for help in time of need.
- Jude 24– Our Savior is able to keep us from stumbling and present us faultless before Him.
4. Replace the Addiction with Goodness
- Rom. 12:2– Renew your mind.
- Phil. 4:8– Meditate on pure things.
- Eph. 5:18-20– Be filled with the Spirit.
- Tit. 2:11-14– While denying lusts, live righteously and godly, focusing on the blessed hope.
- Gal. 5:16– Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the lusts of the flesh.
- Jude 20, 21– Build your faith, pray in the Spirit, stay in the love of God, look for His mercy.
“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way” (Abraham Lincoln).