We live in a society today that is highly affected by addictions. Some would say addiction is a part of human nature. I would bet that anyone reading this has either suffered themselves from an addiction or has known someone personally who has. Addiction is clearly not a new problem to the human race but is perhaps more of a problem now than ever. People can get addicted to so many different things. Alcohol, tobacco and drug addictions are probably the first that come to your mind but food, sex, pornography, gambling and even coffee addictions are just as common if not more. The definition of an addict is someone who devotes or surrenders themselves to something habitually or obsessively. I came across a blog by an atheist a while back that was comparing prayer to pornography stating that they are similar in the sense that they are both addictions because both acts are done habitually to create pleasure. While I do not agree with his statement—mostly because I do not believe prayer is an addiction but more of a discipline and Christians clearly do not pray only to create pleasure—it got me thinking can someone be addicted to God?
For the most part the word “addiction” is used in a negative sense but can there be good addictions? You might say someone is addicted to studying or addicted to exercise and a healthy lifestyle. I think there’s a very fine line in all these things where it’s ok to have good habits, but not to let these habits control your entire being so that they affect you or the people around you in a negative way. Still with stating that I think it’s going to come down to personal morals and opinion as far as what can be considered an addiction and what—if any—addictions are good.
Now let me touch on physically unhealthy addictions, which I’m sure we can all agree on are negative addictions. These are addictions like alcoholism and cigarette smoking that we have seen the unhealthy affects of again and again. My wife and I recently lost a family member to leukemia and cirrhosis of the liver. I cannot help but wonder how much alcohol played into the effect of his young, undeserved death. I myself have struggled with alcohol abuse. I am now sober but I will admit I had a problem with alcohol abuse for about ten years. I had surrounded myself with friends who all drank about as much as I did so I had justified it in my mind thinking it was the norm. I am now only 31 years old and have been diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes. Again I can’t help but wonder how much affect alcohol has played into my contraction of these two pandemic diseases.
So why do we let ourselves be taken over and controlled by substance abuse? I can tell you from personal experience that addiction is not a thing that happens over night. Addiction develops and I would go even further to say that to become an addict a person has to let it happen. I knew I should not be drinking as much as I was. I knew that I had a family history of alcoholism. I knew the health risks involved with heavy drinking. I didn’t care. I liked drinking and even with all the warning signs I allowed alcoholism to develop within me. It’s not that I volunteered to become an alcoholic but more that many times on the road there I could have chosen to turn around and did not. I started drinking because it was at first fun to me, but then addiction reared its ugly head and took the drivers seat.
So how did I get control of the wheel? Well this is a Christian blog so I bet you could guess what I’m going to say. I bet you’ve heard this story before too. I found strength and help through faith in Christ. I knew I could not get sober on my own. I had tried before and failed again and again. I approached God with a humility knowing I needed help and asked Him for strength to achieve sobriety. It worked. Almost instantly my desires to drink went away and when they did come back I had strength to overcome them.
So am I addicted to God? Did I substitute one addiction with another? Well I do make it a habit to read the Bible and pray to God everyday. I do involve Him in every aspect of my life and you could say, yes I am obsessed with Jesus. If you want to call that addiction then fine, I am addicted to God. But I would have to say that this is the only addiction that fills the void I had in myself before. This is the only addiction that makes me feel complete while other addictions left me feeling despair. This is the only addiction that changes my life in a positive way and builds me up instead of knocking me down. This is the only addiction that saves families instead of tearing them apart. God brings joy, not depression. He brings peace, not hopelessness. If you want to call my relationship with God an addiction then I would have to say that it is the only addiction we are meant to have. I would go even further and say that many other addictions in life are caused because of people trying to fill the void they have in their life living without Jesus. Oh and Jesus will never give you a hangover. You never hear someone on Sunday morning saying: “man I really wish I hadn’t of hung out with Jesus last night.” I’ve never heard a person say: “I wish I never started my relationship with God.” You hear the opposite. We praise Him because we love Him and what He has done in and through our lives!
If you suffer from substance abuse today please know that there is someone who can help. His name is Jesus. God does exist and there is hope. If you’re reading this it’s not too late to get help. If you’re traveling down the wrong road then pull over and let Jesus take the wheel. He’ll turn that car around real fast! I am a walking testimony that Jesus can help you but you just have to ask Him first.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!” (Phil 4:13)
-I Want To Believe In God [dot com]