Finding A Way Out
Duane Vander Klok
Everybody knows someone who struggles with addiction. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, pornography or something as seemingly harmless as shopping, television, or food, an addiction is serious business. If nothing is done to stop it, an addiction has the power to ruin lives and destroy relationships.
If you or someone you love is trapped in addiction’s downward spiral, this article offers truth from God’s Word that can help anyone break free and stay free from addiction.
A Vicious Cycle
Many of those bound by addiction have tried everything they know to get free. Some have literally begged God to take away their desire for food, drugs, cigarettes, pornography or whatever it is they are addicted to only to find themselves tormented later by the same pull toward addiction. The problem is, they don’t realize that there is a part God does and a part they must do. Their part is to resist the enemy and say “no.”
The Bible makes it clear that there is tension between your flesh and your Spirit. “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do whatever you want. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” (Galatians 5:17,19-21).
Your flesh would love to dominate your life even after you are saved. The Apostle Paul also struggled with this. Perhaps you can identify with him when he says, “What I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing,” (Romans 7:19).
You see, even though God makes you a new creation the moment you receive salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), you still have the same body and it still leans toward doing things the old, pre-Christian way. God has done His part, but you need to do yours. Titus 2:11-12 tells us: “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all men, teaching us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions and we should live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” As you walk in the Spirit daily, God’s grace provides strength to say “no” to your flesh.
Resetting your Mind
Victory over addiction begins with your thoughts. You see, your mind is like a thermostat. Where you set it determines whether you will be spiritually hot, cold, or lukewarm, and it determines whether you will say “yes” or “no” to sin. In Romans 8:5, Paul wrote, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
Your words and actions are determined by your mindset. It has been said that when you sow a thought, you reap an act; when you sow an act, you reap a habit; when you sow a habit, you reap a character; and when you sow a character, you reap a destiny. But notice: it all starts with your mind. You have the ability to set your mind so you are not controlled by anything or anyone other than the Lord.
Romans 12:2 gives this sound advice: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Renewing your mind by reading and meditating on God’s Word is like pushing the reset button that aligns your thoughts with His. It replaces the devil’s lies with God’s truth so you can say “yes” to Him and “no” to the enslavement of addiction.
Three Lies Exposed
There are many who say “once an addict, always an addict,” but that is a lie used by the devil to try to keep people snared. John 10:10 exposes him as a thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He wants to derail your life, and his plan includes these three lies:
1. You cannot change.
2. You are a prisoner of your past.
3. You are unloved and unacceptable – even to God.
The devil’s lies are designed to make you think that your sins (whether they were committed 10 years ago or 10 minutes ago) have made you unworthy to receive anything from God. If you fall for these lies, you’ll feel alone and isolated, and you will continue on the same path with no hope of changing.
The great news of John 10:10 is in the last part of the verse where Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God’s vision for your life does not include bondage to addiction.
Here are some powerful truths from God’s Word that dismantle the devil’s lies:
1. You can change. The old person you used to be was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20). You are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) and are dead to sin (Rom. 6:2). You are righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21).
2. There is freedom for you in Christ. There is no more guilt and condemnation in Christ (Rom. 8:1). God has taken care of your sins – all of them: past, present and future – at the cross.
3. God loves you and accepts you. He will never leave you or forsake you (Heb. 13:5) and has given you everything you need for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), every spiritual blessing in Christ (Eph. 1:3) and victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:57).
Receive God’s Mercy
No matter how long you or someone you love has struggled with addiction, freedom is possible. It begins with God’s mercy. Paul wrote, “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures … But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy,” (Titus 3:3-5).
You may fail, but God’s love, grace and mercy never does. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
To receive God’s forgiveness and the freedom from any addiction that accompanies it, you can pray a simple prayer like this one:
Dear God, I confess that I have been addicted to _________. I repent of this addiction and ask you to forgive me and help me to begin again. I confess that I have been in bondage to __________, and I renounce all involvement with it. I also renounce every lie of the enemy that I may have come into agreement with, and I reset my mind to believe God’s truth. I ask, by the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of your Holy Spirit, that You set me free. Thank You for loving me, forgiving me and setting me free. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
The Choice is Yours
God will never force you to do the right things. He will love you, equip you, put people in your path to help you, and even guide you, but you still have to make the choice to say “no” to your flesh and the voice of temptation. As you daily walk in the Spirit and rely on God’s strength, it will become easier to say “no” over time.
Whatever you do, please do not believe the lie that you are hopeless. You are a new creation in Christ, and He will never leave your side. When you ask, He can also lead you to a community of believers that will help you in your breakthrough. God did not design you to walk through life and hardship alone – reach out to other believers even in your struggle. There is power in a group of believers that stand together against the traps of the enemy. With the help of God and those around you, you can reset your mind and live free from addiction!
(All scriptures are from the New International Version of the Bible.)