I grew up with a friend named Richard. He was the kind of kid your parents warn you about, and my parents didn’t like him. But we spent lots of time together playing in the same local band. Eventually I was drawn to something Richard was already involved in: drugs. In time, both of us moved beyond just using drugs and into buying and selling them as well. Although I dropped my drug use when I gave my life to Christ, Richard continued. After my conversion, I immediately tried to reach out to him, but to no effect.
A few months later, after a long conversation in which I shared Christ with Richard, he abruptly hung up the phone. The very next day, he was arrested for the manufacture of a highly toxic narcotic and put in jail. A year later, I heard even more devastating news: Richard had been murdered in a drug deal gone wrong. Though I had long known that the world of drug abuse—and consequently, addiction—was a dark place, my friend’s death put a face to it, and still does.
Stories like Richard’s are all too familiar. Addiction seems to be everywhere in our culture, a reality of our fallen world. It’s as though people will reach for whatever numbs the pain or gives a thrill or promises temporary relief—regardless of the consequences or effects on themselves, friends, or family.
When you consider what an addiction is, think beyond drugs and alcohol. The search for a high goes well beyond substance abuse to things like sex, gambling, and exercise. Some forms of addiction are the product of our modern era, like technology addiction (think smartphones).
A quick Google search defines an addict as “an enthusiastic devotee of a specified thing or activity.” Another definition describes an addict as “a person who is addicted to an activity, habit, or substance.” The verb form of addict takes on a more sinister meaning: “to habituate or abandon (oneself) to something compulsively or obsessively.”
In this devotional, I’m going to cover two areas: the sickness of addiction and a biblical solution. I’ll focus on three of the most notable addictions in our culture—substance, sexual, and social—and then I’ll bring the Scriptures to bear on how to help addicts.
More than anything, I want to help those caught in addiction realize that Jesus loves them and offers a way out. I’m not a medical doctor prescribing physiological solutions or a new rehab program. Instead, I’m offering biblical precepts on which to live life. Since God is the author and creator of life, He knows what it takes to live life well.
What are you compulsively devoted or abandoned to? Be honest with yourself about your addiction—and be honest with the Lord about it. He can handle it—and He's the only one who can truly free you from it.