The following are a few pages from my book “What the Bible Says About Addiction”.
I will begin with a section based on John 15 (NIV).
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
We need to keep the commandments to remain in love. When we do so verse 11 says that our joy will be complete! We see that God has designed a perfect system for us. If you are aggressively doing what He wants you to do you will be filled and not need the addiction any more. You will also begin to be filled with His love and begin to be filled with His joy.
Verse 11 says “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you.” Do you have stuff (sin) that is blocking Gods joy from being in you? We tend to put “fun and thrills” ahead of “joy and a happy fulfilled life!
Key Point: Live life in a way so that you can have joy all of the time. Don’t trade in a fling of addiction “thrills” for a loss of joy for the week/month/year/life.
Pray: Father, show me what I need to stop doing and what I need to start doing to be filled with your joy. I commit to doing my part and I ask that you would start to fill me up with what I need!
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
When I first read this passage verse 16 did not make sense to me. I chose to accept Christ but the verse says that He chose me. What does this mean?
It goes back to John 3:16 “believe” in the sentence “if you believe in the Lord” is an action word in the verse. In John 15:16 will He choose someone who will not spring into action?
Some of you readers are just coming off a 3 year run of drugs, sex, gambling, and any of a thousand other addictions. You ask, is it possible that God would choose me. Remember, your past is washed clean through the blood of Jesus Christ.
He wants people who will be just as aggressive (or more aggressive) in serving Him as they served anything else in their life. This is a beautiful thing to be involved in when quitting an addiction. When you are busy aggressively serving Jesus you will still have to say no to temptation but instead of having to say no 50 times a day it may dwindle to 3 or 5 times a day and eventually zero to once a day.
John 13 New International Version (NIV) 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This is a key command for Christians as well as for people with addictions. It is hard for Jesus to work through Christians who don’t have love. No one wants to listen to them or even be around them. The more we are filled with Jesus love the greater our strength will be to fight addiction. The scriptures say that the workers are few, so if you can learn to love others Jesus will notice.
Don’t just quit your addiction. Quit your addiction and learn to love others. Verse 35 says that loving others is proof that we are Christians. We have to do it! Spending a lot of time in prayer asking Jesus to fill us with His love is a great help for quitting addictions. Praying to be filled with love brings the power of the Holy Spirit into your life.
Pray: Father, I commit to loving others, please help me to always make love a key focus.
John 14 New International Version (NIV)
15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.
Often the Bible gives conditional promises. If we love God and keep His commandments He will live in us. If He is fully living in us addiction will be gone!
Key Point: The more we obey the commandments the greater our power will increase over addictions.
26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
When we obey the commandments and seek the Lord, the Holy Spirit will teach us how to quit addictions. Remember you get back what you put in. Paul from the Bible tried harder to obey the commandments and he prayed more than other people did.
I love the last sentence “and will remind you.” What if you have a serious gambling or drinking addiction but now you get filled with the Spirit. Will He bar you from the Casino or bar? No! But maybe He will “remind you” every few minutes about all the money that you have lost or spent in the past. Remind you of the consequences of what you are tempted to do. Remind you that the same thing is very likely today again. Remind you that He has something very important for you to do instead of wasting your time and money at the Casino or bar.
We often like the wrong things too much. How do we change that?
We will start out with a prayer. The prayer is “Father, help me to make quitting my addiction a priority”. Obviously when we pray help me to make “quitting addiction a priority” we are not excluding caring about things like family or responsibilities, we are merely trying to exclude things that may lead back to addiction.
Remember that if you just quit your addiction there will be a void. Fill your mind with good things. Even when you stay clean from your addiction, if your mind is filled with dark evil things you will never find real joy. When we pray Father, help me to make quitting my addiction a priority,” we are directly asking God to show us if our lifestyle choices are leading us directly or indirectly back to our addiction. This is exactly the type of prayer that God answers. He wants you to be clean, filled with light and be fighting to get the darkness (sin) and addiction out.
Acts 1 New International Version (NIV)
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus commanded the disciples to wait to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. This refers to an intense period of time where they prayed and focused on Jesus until the Holy Spirit came upon them. For some people who are 100% committed to give everything to God, a mighty spirit powers them to do great things.
Key Point: What are you holding unto that keeps the Holy Spirit from filling you?
Pray: Father, take away my spirit of lust (fill in what sin is holding you back) and fill me with a Spirit of self-control.
Acts 2New International Version (NIV)
2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.
What are you filled with that leaves only a little room for the Holy Spirit?
Pray: Father, show me what I do and love that is filling me up and leaving only a little room for the Holy Spirit.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
When are reminded here to listen to great Christian teaching. One can learn at church, download sermons and hear good preaching on TV and radio.
Fellowship with other Christians can sometimes keep you from falling. If during periods of temptation you have a good Christian friend to call, that help may save you.
Key Point: Once again we are reminded to be devoted to prayer. Make it a priority.
Acts 12 New International Version (NIV)
12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5 So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
6 The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7 Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.
8 Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. 9 Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”
If God freed Peter from the prison he was in, will He also free you from your prison of addiction? When we look at Peter we see someone who was always prepared and ready to do dynamically what Jesus wanted him to do. Instead of looking at Peter as someone who was special from the Bible, look at him as someone who was “ready” to do what he was created to do. If you become ready to do what God created you to do, you will sooner or later be shocked by the miracle or miracles that happen in your life.
Acts 16New International Version (NIV)
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
In this exciting passage we learn a lot about the attitude of Paul and Silas. After being whipped and put in jail they were praising God and singing.
Some of you are in actual prison and others are in the chains of addiction. But what chains can hold you if you praise and worship God all of the time? None can and none will!
Key Point: Commit to worshipping and praising God. Both at a specific time each day, throughout the day and when temptation hits hard.
Acts 5 New International Version (NIV)
Key Point: Live life in a way so that you can find your purpose and enjoy life in a Biblical way. Sins “fun” is always short term in nature. Don’t trade in a fling of addiction “thrills” (which only last a season) for a loss of joy for the week/month/year/life. Choose the life your creator has for you and learn how to find real joy.
The most joy filled people I have known are always dynamic Christians who love to do things for others. Become that person.
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