Can true Christians have addictions? In today’s Little Lesson, we’re going to talk a little bit about the subject of addictions, which a lot of people struggle with. Including those who are endeavoring to follow Christ.
Probably the first one that comes to mind is addiction to tobacco. I have heard that the tobacco addiction can be tougher to beat than some addictions to things that are considered to be hard drugs.
I don’t know. I’ve never been addicted to cigarettes or to drugs. I certainly have known my share of folks who have struggled with addictions to cigarettes.
Playing With Chemicals in Our Heads and Brains
Of course, obviously it’s a physiological thing. We’re playing with chemicals in our bodies and in our brains when we’re addicted. It’s not just a matter of it being an easy thing or “if I just could muster up enough willpower.”
Although some people have apparently been able to do that. But not so many. so there are different ways that people have to be able to give up smoking. Then there can be other addictions.
Of course, people can be addicted to caffeine. “I’ve got to have my cup of coffee. I’ve got to have my cup of tea.”
And there can be addictions to alcohol. And who wants that? Because that can lead to terrible, terrible things.
Is It Possible for Christians to Be Addicted?
So first of all, is it possible? If you’re addicted to cigarettes or caffeine, does that prove you’re not really a Christian? I certainly don’t think so, and I don’t think there’s any biblical evidence of that.
Of course, cigarettes weren’t around back in Jesus’s day. Alcohol certainly was, and the Bible does warn that no drunkard will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). So, if you’re in that category, finding yourself overcome by, at times, drunkenness, you are in a very precarious position.
Now here’s the good news. Here’s the good news. We all believe as Christians that we have the Holy Spirit in us. God is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that you could ask or think, according to the power that works within us (see Ephesians 3:20-21).
The Power Within Us
So, obviously there’s enough power within us to break any physical addiction that we might have been suffering or struggling against. I would say there’s a starting point of faith.
I think that comes into play in our struggles against any form of sin or doing things that we don’t really want to do. To believe that Christ is the Liberator, if He can set people free from demons, powerful demons, people who are running through the tombs naked, cutting themselves with stones (see Mark 5:1-12).
We’re talking about the God of the universe who put the planets and the stars in their place. That’s the power that’s in us. And so, I would go to work on first of all building my faith that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (see Philippians 4:13).
Fasting to Break Some Physical Addictions
Now, I have had myself I think a mild addiction in past times to caffeine. Anytime I would fast, which is something I’ve talked about not too long ago on our Little Lessons, one of the first symptoms I’d have would be withdrawal from caffeine giving me a headache.
But I would recommend that you might also consider fasting. That’s not giving up water, but giving up food, denying yourself food, as a discipline. And also in conjunction with looking for deliverance from anything else that has got you. Any kind of physical addiction, right?
Because the desire for food can be pretty strong, as I told you when we discussed fasting. The more frequently you fast, the easier that it gets to fast. But the first time you fast, it can be really, really tough and miserable. You think you’re going to die.
To get past those addictions, putting your body in subjection to your will and fasting, denying it food, not denying it water, I believe could also be a helpful method in seeking to be delivered from these other physical addictions.
Deliverance From Addiction
I have seen people delivered from a lot of addictions over the years. I’m thinking of one guy right now who was delivered almost instantly from a cocaine addiction that had him for years.
If God can deliver you from a craving for cocaine, He’s obviously able to deliver you from anything. I’m very thankful for secular and Christian rehabs, where people go to find deliverance from this stuff. Because they work on other things besides the physical side, but also of the mental and emotional side.
I’m no expert on that, but the one that has, to my knowledge, the absolute best results is one called Teen Challenge, started by David Wilkerson years ago.
It’s a heavy, heavy discipleship program. Jesus is right smack in the middle of it. People aren’t sitting around watching TV all day at Teen Challenge. They’re involved in Bible study. They’re involved in prayer. And they’re involved in work and service, keeping their minds occupied and their hands busy and so forth.
They have a great rate of success. My understanding is, more so than the non-Christian rehabs. And you have to commit yourself there. They call them Teen Challenges, but it’s not just for teens. It started off that way, but older people go with addictions who just can’t find deliverance. They won’t take you if it’s smoking. They won’t take you if it’s caffeine, but if it’s drugs, that would be a good place to look to see if you could find help.
Encouraging Those Who Are Struggling
But to answer the original question (and this is a Little Lesson), we need to have mercy and compassion upon those who are struggling with these things, and be careful in condemning people who are struggling with these things. Let’s encourage them. Let’s pray for them. Let’s trust God together with them to find the deliverance they’re looking for. And let’s not even suggest that, “Oh, you must not be a Christian because you smoke cigarettes.”
I don’t think that’s right. I think that’s passing judgment. I don’t think you have any biblical warrant for that. When you look at the hearts of some of these good folks who struggle with these things, you know that they really would love to be free, and we just want to encourage them. So that’s what I’m doing today, all right? Thank you so much for joining me on this Little Lesson. God bless you.