by Ted Atkins, Co-founder of Best Daily Prayer
Find the strength you need to overcome all types of addiction by understanding its perspective from the Bible, and how God helps us overcome it.
Addiction is a perilous vice almost as old as the world itself. Although it usually stems from an internal issue like grief or depression, it progresses from one act to a habit and then finally, the addiction.
Many people are dangerously dependent on one thing or the other, believers included. But no matter how dangerous a path we take is, there's always hope at the end of it with God.
As Christians, the Bible is our all-encompassing guide on all life issues. We must also draw the wisdom to navigate dependence issues from its pages.
In this article, the meaning and origin of addiction will be explored. Reading further down below, you will also encounter practical, relatable steps on how to overcome an addiction through the wisdom from the scriptures.
What is Addiction?
It is a physical or psychological need to do, take or use something, to the point where it could be harmful to you. Dependence or addiction in the bible could be to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and anything else that enforces sin and turns people away from God.
All are classified into three main categories:
This creates a physical dependence on a specific chemical. Hard drugs, prescription, and alcohol addictions fall into this category.
As much as people can be addicted to substances, they can also be addicted to specific behaviors. Common examples are shopping, sex, gambling, and video gaming.
This type deals with emotions. It is common with people dealing with impulse control disorder; a condition where they struggle to control their emotions or actions. This disorder is characterized by being prone to actions like theft, emotional outbursts, or destructive behavior.
Some common symptoms of dependence include:
Being unable to stop using the substance or taking the actions on your own.
Having no control over your substance use or activity rate.
Having intense urges or cravings for the habit.
Taking large amounts of drugs or alcohol over a long period.
Engaging in risky behavior under the influence of the substance.
Experiencing unpleasant physical symptoms when you can't use what you want i.e. withdrawal.
Spending money to fund the activity or get the substance, even when you can't afford it.
Going as far as stealing, lying, or borrowing money to buy the substance or fund the behavior.
Isolating yourself from people or spending time with those who encourage the habit.
Neglecting responsibilities because of the influence of the addiction.
What Does The Bible Say About Addiction?
The Bible has many verses related to this issue, but here are a few to sum up its views.
1 Corinthians 10:13 says,
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape that you may be able to endure.”
The Bible first of us lets us know that we will be tempted in this world. The world around us is designed to constantly provide obstacles to living holy lives. But God in His faithfulness makes sure that no temptation that comes our way is bigger than we can handle.
We have the power and grace to choose victory. So bear in mind that no matter how strong the temptation might be, we can always overcome it.
Titus 2:11-12 says
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age…”
This simply means that the grace for living a discipline and godly life is found in God. We cannot do it in our own strength because of our human weaknesses. But God supplies the grace we need to discipline our bodies.
"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
In simple terms, addictions are from the devil. They are his traps to devour the believer. Scripture admonishes us to be watchful and discerning.
"So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."
As much as we need to be watchful and say no to temptation, sometimes we find ourselves falling prey to the devil's wiles. But do not be discouraged, because God is always there to pick us right up no matter how far deep into an addiction we have wandered. His freedom is everlasting and it is freedom indeed.
How To Overcome Addiction
In 2019, the World Drug Report also revealed that over 35 million people worldwide abuse drugs. But, only 1 in 7 people seek treatment.
Satan delights in destroying lives with evil dependence, but we must not let him win over us. Be it a porn addiction, sexual addiction, or substance addiction, God is always pleased when we turn to Him for help to conquer it.
Here are some tips on how to overcome dependence with God:
Accept your weakness, sins, and addictive life.
Mark 2:17 says,
When Jesus heard this he said to them, “Those who are healthy don’t need a physician, but those who are sick do. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
The first step to seeking change is acknowledging our issues. God doesn't condemn us, rather He lets us know that He delights in healing the sick who come to Him. So put your feelings of unworthiness and guilt behind you and admit your weakness to God.
Go to God in prayers.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
After you acknowledge your issues, turn to God in prayer. Ask Him for help and the grace to fight. Seek His help and presence daily on your journey to overcoming your struggles.
Identify your triggers.
Triggers are those situations or things that stir up the desire for those things we are addicted to. Identifying these triggers helps us to avoid them.
For example, if it's a sexual or porn addiction, you can try censoring out sexual content from your social media feed and other things you read or listen to such as movies and music. Be very deliberate.
If it's a substance dependence, you can try cutting off the company of people who are also addicted. Doing this helps minimize your desires and cravings for those activities or substances.
See a doctor, or therapist or join a recovery group.
Relying on God to help us also involves seeking medical help. This is very important in our journey to overcoming dependence. God in His wisdom has given knowledge to doctors and specialists to help us deal with physical, psychological, and mental problems.
Recovery groups also give you extra motivation and support in working towards the goal of conquering addiction.
This can't be overemphasized. Reward yourself when you hit milestones. It could be with your favorite meal, a meetup with your support system, something you've been meaning to get yourself as a gift towards development.
You can also do this for someone struggling with addiction. Show them that you care and you are with them every step of the way. Remember that daily prayer also helps with battling addiction.
It is the thought itself that matters, and it gives them a bit of courage to push even harder.
A Prayer For Addiction
God, my Father, thank you for the gift of life.
Forgive me for the things I have done, said, and thought under the spell of addiction. Forgive me of my sins and help me to turn my eyes toward you. You alone possess the power to break the chains of my addiction and break down the bars of this prison. Release me Father and return me to my family and friends. Restore what has been stolen.
God, I need your help. I cannot stop this desire on my own. I need your strength. Pull me from this pit and place my feet on the right way, the path that leads to you. Help me see clearly the deception of the enemy. Let nothing but a clear vision of who I am to You and the knowledge of your love satisfy any desire.
Thank you, Father, for protecting me from harm. Thank you for the grace that brought me to this place of seeking you. Thank you for the healing to come. Thank you that you are a Father of second chances, giving grace and mercy when they are needed most. Thank you for hearing my prayers.
Addiction in the Bible also stems from an attention problem. Whatever we pay the most attention to in our lives, grows. If we pay too much attention to food, it morphs into gluttony, so it is with other things in life. Whatever we idolize becomes an addiction. But placing God above everything else, helps us to be servants of nothing else but Him.
To the one struggling with addiction, remember that God loves you deeply, flaws and all and He is more than willing to help you become victorious against whatever you are struggling with. So take His hand and let Him walk you through your process of recovery. It may not be a rosy path, but with God and determination, you'll be free indeed.