For our purposes, let’s define addiction as anything you need to “get through the day” that isn’t God. Because all of our addictions—all of our sin, really—is a response to the gnawing sense we have, deep down, that God doesn’t really want what best for us. That God’s will comes at His whim, and at our expense. That we, the created ones, somehow don’t owe everything we have to the Creator in the first place. There’s a reason that the acknowledgment of a higher power is part of any good 12-step recovery program, after all.
“God’s been duping you; God’s been duping you.” Satan has been using this trick from the very beginning, and it’s still probably his most effective.
Jesus not only endured temptation, but He overcame temptations we were too weak to have Satan even bother to throw at us.
Once we’ve regained our senses afterward there’s a sense of heaviness, sadness, not totally unlike the feeling of a Sunday-morning hangover after a particularly long Saturday night. And when you think of it that way, it helps put things in perspective. Our overindulgence—our giving way to our compulsions—always has consequences, both physical and spiritual.
One of the most practical responses we can make is to engage in spiritual disciplines such as prayer, Bible study, solitude and worship. Instead of letting ourselves be carried away by every impulse that strikes us, such practices help us say to God, “I’m staying right here. I’m focusing on You. Help me to follow what You want.” The disciplines aren’t a catch-all solution. In fact, they can become an addiction in themselves if we make it only about how holy we’re acting or make ourselves anxious over “doing our duty.” But they are a declaration of intent, and actions to back it up.
And as our focus becomes more and more about God, our compulsions melt away. Not that we’re never tempted again—or for that matter, might not stumble again—but we have a practical way to get up and dust ourselves off. Don’t overlook the importance of that. “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
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