By Tyler Stillwell
For weeks we have been studying giants in our life. This week we’ll talk about what I personally believe to be the most intimidating giant, addiction. Addiction is a word that makes most of us cringe when we hear it. Let’s be honest with ourselves, nearly all of us (and the people we are close with) have suffered through some sort of addiction, and that is why it’s important we talk about it. When I say this, I’m speaking from personal experience. Throughout my life I’ve experienced addictions to pornography, tobacco, and alcohol, amongst other things. Addiction can be destructive, crippling, and embarrassing, but because of the Life of Jesus Christ it doesn’t have to be.
Addiction - Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.
Common synonyms are dependency, dependence, habit, problem.
What makes addiction so scary is that it comes in so many different shapes. Whatever addiction you’ve seen or dealt with, it is real to you. There’s the topics we all love to hate talking about, but truth be told addiction is anything that dictates your life other than Jesus and his perfect will.
The biggest mistake anyone who is a follower of Christ can make is trying to overcome addiction alone.
1 Peter 5:8-9 tell us “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
In my own life, that is specifically where I messed up. I can’t even begin to tell you how hard I worked to hide all of this from those closest to me. If you’re anything like me, the devil will start to creep into your mind and begin to tell you that these addictions define you, that you’re not worthy of the cross, that your friends will think less of you, and that ultimately Jesus doesn’t actually love you because of your current or past addiction. That sums up the entire M.O. of Satan (See John 10:10). This is literally right where that snake wants us - isolated, alone, weak, and thinking that we are worthless.
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
You see, the devil knows that when we are living life together in community we are stronger, and he HATES THAT. We were never meant to live life alone (See Genesis 1:26 as proof of that), but rather in true community with each other. Jesus Christ is the light in this world and simply put, darkness can not exist where there is light. We as believers are stronger together.
For me, the chains of my addictions started to break when I got open and honest about what I was dealing with. It was by far one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do to admit that, but friends I wish I could describe to you how FREEING it was when I finally started to open up. Immediately those people who I was scared about running from me, flocked with encouragement, love, and wisdom. I quickly found out that I wasn’t alone in this fight.
Here’s the thing, even though these addictions remain in my past, I would be lying to you if I said that when I am weak, satan doesn’t remind me of my past failures. He often tries to tell me the old lies that I used to believe, “You are not good enough”, “No one loves you”, “Who cares if you give in. You know you’ll enjoy it”. At the end of the day, it is only through a growing relationship with Jesus that I can continue to win this battle. The battle may never stop, but I know that I’ve got an army of people around me willing to fight this battle with me day in and day out.
While it is difficult to imagine, I know and believe that the Lord will use these hurdles in my life for HIS glory.
Romans 8:28: “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
Friends, addiction is scary. It is difficult, and it is never fun. You have to know that there is a group of people here at Two42 that love you and are willing to fight it with you. Talk to a leader and let them join your team.
In my own weird way, I love each and every single one of you. Have a great week!