We Are All Addicts

We Are All Addicts May 13, 2024


Addiction, in the Traditional Sense

Addiction takes control of a person. Before long, the most important thing to them is getting a fix for what they are addicted to. They will lie, cheat, and steal to get what they desire. Relationships are destroyed. The person is reduced to nothing eventually.

Those fortunate enough to have not been touched personally by addiction’s effects have surely seen the destruction it brings. Addiction is a way that the devil uses to reduce humans to mere animals. We all know the different types of addiction: alcohol, drugs, pornography, gambling, etc.

One of the most significant hallmarks of addiction is a lack of control. The person who is addicted loses the capacity to make beneficial decisions for themselves, but instead, they are controlled by their unhealthy desire.

Rock Bottom

Most people struggling with addiction only start to pursue getting free after they have lost everything. They have nothing left in their lives except their addiction. And even then, it can take a while before the person decides to get free. They hit what is called ‘rock bottom’ because they have destroyed every relationship that they have had. There is not any lower that they can go.

But many manage their addictions without ever hitting rock bottom. They maintain a level of normalcy in their daily lives, and they hide their addiction from most people. They can keep the addiction without it ruining their lives. There is little to no incentive ever to be free, so they never take the steps necessary, and they have the addiction control them their entire lives.

It becomes an ironic blessing when addiction makes the person lose everything. They hit rock bottom and do what is necessary to get free. They end up in a better spot than someone who never hits rock bottom. They become desperate and seek healing and freedom.

Sin is an Addiction

Just like any other addiction, sin can grow in our lives to be outside of our control. It can become a behemoth, more prominent than anything else. This can be visible sins like adultery, stealing, or lying. But they can also be secret sins that we harbor in our hearts. Lust, hate, laziness, bad stewardship, hidden indulgences, and a disregard for the things of the Lord are secret things that we can have, burrowing deeper into our hearts.

Like other addictions, we come to rely on these secret pleasures. We recognize that they are not beneficial to us. We might even see that they are sinful. But either we do not know how to be free of them, or we have found an equilibrium with the sin in our hearts to the point that we are comfortable with the level of sin that we hold onto. Often, we hold onto them dearly as a source of pleasure in our lives despite knowing that they are sinful.

We All Need Rock Bottom

This is the same for all people everywhere. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23. We are all in a broken condition. But if we never hit rock bottom, there might never be a moment where we can be “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” -Romans 3:24.

It takes a desperate moment for us to humble ourselves and seek grace from God. We need to hit a bottom where we recognize that we are wretched sinners in a world created by a pure and righteous God. We are not “good enough” because that does not exist. We are sinful and broken, and we need God’s healing and freedom in our lives.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:3

The poor in spirit are not proud. Somebody who is poor in spirit recognizes their condition as a sinner needing grace and redemption. Only from this hitting of rock bottom can we come to God and seek His mercy. Unless we empty ourselves, then our pride will get in the way.

We are not “that bad,” anyway. And we need grace, but some of the sinful things that we hide in our hearts, we would never actually act on. They are only thoughts. Sometimes, we react badly, curse somebody, or lust after people and things, and sure, we act on some of them sometimes. But we are only human, and not that bad, especially when we look at other people around us.

This might be something that we think to rationalize the sin that we do not want to get rid of, the sin that we are addicted to. But we can only come to God when we are repentant and contrite of spirit to the point that we recognize that we are incapable without Him. We are truly in desperate need of a savior. That is the rock bottom that we need to be rid of our sin addiction.

The 12 Steps for Sinners

So we need to hit rock bottom, and we need help. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) pioneered the 12-step program (https://www.aa.org/the-twelve-steps) to help those struggling with addiction. Below is an adjusted 12-step that uses the work that AA has done and adjusts some of the wording slightly to be more in line with our addiction to sin. Every Christian should continually work through these 12 steps to seek God more and more in their lives.

  1. We admit that we are powerless over sin – that our lives cannot be holy on our own.
  2. God made a way through Jesus to restore us to a right relationship with God.
  3. We have decided to turn our will and our lives over to God and follow Jesus.

These first three are the basics of becoming a Christian. They are the steps that we must take before anything else. Even so, it is still beneficial for all Christians to revisit these steps every now and then. In fact, we should reflect on these facts every time that we take communion.

Steps four through twelve are nearly verbatim as the AA website.

  1. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

How much could we learn if we did this? What a powerful tool that we, as Christians, never use! We should be like David in Psalm 139 and ask God to search us for our faults and iniquities. That He could reveal them to us so that we can better understand what we need to work on to better honor and glorify Him.

  1. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

We, protestants, miss out on this. Confession should be happening among Christians regularly. This is essential in the life of a Christian. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” -James 5:16

  1. Were entirely ready for God to remove all these defects of character (aka sin).
  2. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings (aka sin).

These both go with confession. We first confess our sins and then ask the Lord to remove them from us as far as the East is from the West.

  1. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  2. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  3. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

This is missed by most. We are taught that it is best to hide our faults. Maybe nobody noticed the wrong that we did. Or perhaps it wasn’t that big of a deal. But it doesn’t matter the size or the scope. We were bold enough to commit the sin against another. We need to be bold enough to confess our wrongdoings to others. And then, we make it right, especially when it is hard. This will separate Christians from others and help us to be a light even to those we sin against.

  1. Sought through prayer, worship, and study to improve our conscious contact with God, praying for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

“Do not conform 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.” -Romans 12:2

  1. Having come to know Jesus, we tried to carry this message to sinners everywhere and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

The essence of evangelism is telling others how we’ve been set free. It’s a natural outflow from a life that has been changed. But before it flows naturally, our lives must be changed. Going through the steps will make us different from those around us. We will be shining a light that nobody would be able to deny. And when we come across somebody struggling with addiction, we will be better equipped to get them to help because we, too, have struggled with addiction, and by going through these steps, we can overcome it.

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