We Are All Addicts
Our days are evil days. Materialism, immorality, dishonesty, raping, robbing, murdering and molesting all run rampant in our society. John wrote correctly, "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." (1 John 5:19) The whole world around us is under the power of the evil one. The troubles of our world are because we are addicted to sin. It is easy for us to talk about the drug addict, the liquor addict or the person addicted to nicotine. But, we all have one or more addiction. All of us need to be in God's recovery program. Christianity is a lifelong process of being changed from our addictions into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Christians are in a lifelong battle against the addiction of sin. The problem with addiction is that we can see everybody else's additions but only with great difficulty do we see our own.
Luke 18:9-14 is an example of one that had this "Good me" verses "bad them" spirit. "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." The spirit is expressed in the words "I thank you that I am not like other men."
An addict is one who is devoted to, or gives himself as a slave to a certain thing. If you were involved in our Drug Court you would be asked, "What is your drug of choice?" So I ask you, to what are you addicted? Some are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. In fact when we think of addictions these are the only kinds of addictions that we ever think about. Drinking alcohol or using other drugs is sinful. (1) Drug use (alcohol or other drugs) is sinful because it destroys the power of the brain (Proverbs 23:31-35), (2) Drug use (alcohol or other drugs) is sinful because it takes away understanding and causes people to act foolishly, (Genesis 9:18-28), (3) Drug use (alcohol or other drugs) is sinful because it makes one incapable of sobermindedness, (Titus 2:12), (4) Drug use (alcohol or other drugs) is wrong because it weakens and destroys the body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and (5) Drug use (alcohol or other drugs) is wrong because it is a work of the flesh. (Galatians 5:19-21) The drunkard will have many unnecessary thorns in his hands. "Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools." (Proverbs 26:9) The drunkard often loses his job, family, home and self respect. It is still true that, "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1) Are you addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
Some are addicted to gambling. Gambling is sinful. Why is gambling sinful? (1) Gambling violates the Golden Rule, (Matthew 7:12), (2) Gambling violates the second great commandment -- "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:39), (3) Gambling is sinful because it destroys a good influence (Matthew 5:16), and (4) Gambling is a violation of God's law of faithful stewardship. (1 Peter 4:10) Proverbs 28:19 says, "He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough." Gambling and other wrongs associated with it are flooding our nation. Are you addicted to gambling.
Some are addicted to dancing and lust. Why is dancing sinful? It is sinful because (1) Dancing is lewdness (Galatians 5:19), (2) Dancing is a failure to abstain from all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22), (3) Dancing is reveling which is sinful. (Galatians 5:21), (4) Dancing often puts you in the company of those doing other evils (1 Corinthians 15:33), and (5) Dancing is a stumbling block to others. (1 Corinthians 10:32) Dancing and lust go hand in hand. Lust leads to many sins. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:14-15) Corruption is in the world "through lust." (2 Peter 1:4) A life filled with lust will be a troubled life. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) Are you addicted to dancing and lust?
Some are addicted to immodesty. For many, when warmer weather comes on the cloths come off. The Bible teaches that immodesty is sinful. Why is immodesty sinful? (1) Immodesty violates plain Bible teaching. (1 Timothy 2:9-10), (2) Immodesty is lewdness. (Galatians 5:19), (3) Immodesty shows a lack of discretion. (Proverbs 11:22), (4) Immodesty is sinful because nakedness is shameful (Revelation 3:18), and (5) Immodesty is not walking worthy. (Ephesians 4:1) Are you addicted to immodesty?
Some are addicted to fornication, adultery or homosexuality. The Bible makes it plain that God opposes fornication, adultery and homosexuality. (1 Corinthians 6.9) When urged by his master's wife to commit fornication with her, Joseph said, "...How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? (Genesis 39:9) "As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." (Jude 1:7) One cannot be given over to a greater slavery than his own lust. Some are addicts to fornication, adultery or homosexuality. Are you addicted to those things?
Some are addicted to material things. These people have a strong love and desire for possessions. The desire for riches leads to all kinds of evil. (1 Timothy 6:9-10) Today's world still needs the warning of Luke 12:15. "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." The love of money and material things will condemn many souls. Are you addicted to material things?
Some are addicted to pleasure. Many today love pleasure, entertainment or those things that excite. Moses chose God rather than the momentary pleasure of sin. (Hebrews 11:25-26) God is choked out of many lives because of the love of pleasure. (Luke 8:14) The pleasure might be the latest places to visit, games, sports of all kind, television, computers or video games. Are you addicted to pleasure. Some
Some are addicted to lying and dishonesty. One who chooses to be a liar brings misery to himself and heartache to those hurt by his lies. "What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar." (Proverbs 19:22) One who lies can expect a troubled life because Satan is the father of lies. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44) Dishonesty likewise brings trouble to a person's life. God will not allow one to prosper for long through dishonest gain. "Behold, therefore, I beat My fists at the dishonest profit which you have made, and at the bloodshed which has been in your midst." (Ezekiel 22:13) Terrible things are done for dishonest gain. "Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing the prey, to shed blood, to destroy people, and to get dishonest gain." (Ezekiel 22:27) Many lives are filled with misery because of lies and dishonest gain. Are you an addict to lying and dishonesty.
Some are addicted to praise and preeminence. Those who love the praise of men will never love God as they should. (John 12:42-43) Those who seek to please men will never please God. (Galatians 1:10) Listen to Jesus, "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, For so did their fathers to the false prophets." (Luke 6:26) There are also those that love preeminence. The spirit of Diotrephes still lives. "I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us..." (3 John 9-10) There are still those who love to have the preeminence. Jesus still says, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Galatians 6:3) The love of preeminence destroys the spirit of servanthood and makes them an addict. Are you addicted to power.
Some are addicted to being a busybody and to backbiting. Paul spoke of some saying, "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (1 Timothy 5:13) What is a busybody? A busybody is a person who delights in other people's business. Instead of being focused on their own home, their own duties, their own family, the busybody is interested in everyone else's business. A busybody is "busy" gathering and passing on information. "But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." (1 Peter 4:15-16) Some people are too involved in "other people's matters. They ask questions that are really not their business? They pass on information about other people's business? They delight in being the first to know and the first to tell? They are addicts! There is, however an addiction that we all should pursue. We should do our best to become addicted to the Lord Jesus and to His work. "I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints." (1Corinthians 16:15) This family is held up as example because they the both accepted and fulfilled their responsibility to God and to others. They addicted themselves. The church stands very much in need of those that will addict themselves to the service of the Lord. Isaiah was an addict. He said, "Here am I; send me." (Isaiah 6:8) We must really be converted to Christ. Let us be so addicted that we have a sense of personal responsibility. We must come to see Christ and His work as our reason for existence. You must be so devoted that you become a slave or an addict to Jesus. Are you an addict for God?
God has always demanded His people be different for those around them. In our world it takes being different to be right. Christians should be careful about the way they think and about the things they are addicted. "Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8) To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10).
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA