Addiction – Everything he or she had in life is gone. Women leave their children. Men lose everything. Addictions lie and cost you your life. You don’t think this at the moment you light up the first cigarette, or pop the first pill. You don’t think this when you download the porn video. These promise pleasure, but it cost you your life. You don’t think how its destroying your body and mind, taking years off your life, when you keep eating. Idols promises honey, but idol’s intention is ruin, death, and destruction with an arrow in the liver.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure With Addiction 2
Adventure With Addiction Part 2
Ezekiel 14:3, Romans 1:25, Romans 1:26-27, Romans 1:25, Proverbs 5:3-4, 11, Proverbs 7:22, 23, Proverbs 23:29-35, Proverbs 4:23, Exodus 32:20, Exodus 20:3, Exodus 10:4-6
We began looking last time at Addictions. I entered the discussion with caution for we all have had addictions or have come close to being addicted to something, but definitely had a friend or relative who ruined, or nearly ruined their life in slavery to an addiction. I made certain we understood I was not being condescending, but was trying to help and give insight. I told you there was a time I was addicted to nicotine and probably close to being addicted to alcohol. Therefore, again, before we begin, I am not “preaching at” you. I am attempting to help somebody.
After our lesson, your comments were encouraging. Someone said, “Steel toed shoes would not help today.” I took this as good, in addictions will step on everyone. Someone even told me they realized they had a “hording” addiction.
We defined addiction: Addiction is a sin which has great power over a person who self-selected his or her own enslavement to an idol. It’s not a sin necessarily because of what it is but because it has become an idol/god. An example is prescription drugs. People become slaves, addicted to sex, food, money, shopping, drugs, technology, internet, hobbies, and all kind of pleasures, passions, and gratifications. They self-select and shackle their own selves to their god of choice and it will master them, rule over, ruin, destroy, and even kill the person.
We pointed out an addiction is not a disease. A person with cancer did not choose cancer. A person with an addiction actually chose it. However, in our society today, an addiction is frequently called a disease. If a person is an alcoholic, or drug addict, etc, today we say they have a disease. This makes the person a victim with no need to repent – change direction in life, but instead needing medication and treatment to “treat” the disease. It’s more helpful for the person, though it sounds harsh, to realize it’s not a disease.
I showed you six specific addictions addressed in Proverbs: (1) Sexual Addiction; (2) The Sluggard; (3) Greed; (4) Pride; (5) The Drunkard; and (6) The Glutton. So, the scriptures do speak directly to addictions.
The Bible does not use the term “addiction.” Instead, the Bible uses the term “idol.” Idolatry is the reason a person is addicted. As we’ve already learned, society addresses the behavior, but not the root. People will address one behavior and seem to successfully control it only to actually exchange the behavior for another. For example, a person may say, “I stopped smoking, but now I can’t stop eating.” They simply exchanged idols.
When we think “idolatry,” we think of primitive people who made images and bowed to them, but it’s not what idols are or where idols are.
Ezekiel 14:3 “Son of man, these men have SET UP IDOLS IN THEIR HEARTS and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces… (v4) When any Israelite SETS UP IDOLS IN HIS HEART… (v7) separates himself from me and SETS UP IDOLS IN HIS HEART…
Idolatry is not about what’s in our hands, mouth, stomach, or head. It’s all about what’s in our heart. It’s a person clinging to something other than God, finding identity in something other than God, loving something more than God, and finding comfort in something other than God. It’s thinking something other than God will make their life better.
The person literally worships the idol. Gambling addiction or drug addiction is an example of this. A meth or heroin addict will sacrifice all their money, marriage, family, occupation, health, and even life to worship their god of choice. They would never think about sacrificing anything close to this expense for God Almighty in worship. An addiction is a worship disorder.
Romans 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and WORSHIPED AND SERVED CREATED THINGS rather than the CREATOR – who is forever praised. Amen.
It’s a worship disorder. The order of worship is inverted. Every person will worship either the “Creator” or “created things.” We are wired to worship something. We are supposed to worship “the Creator,” and enjoy and steward “created things.” Idolatry is when there is an inversion of worship. We worship and serve created things over and above the Creator, which can be food, sex, relationships, codependency, drugs, sports, children and alcohol, anything easily interfering with worship of the Creator. If it interferes with and you put it before your worship of God, the Bible calls it an idol.
Amazingly, created things rule over us. This is addiction. This is idolatry set up in the heart. We do what the idol says instead of doing what the Creator says. People admit this when they say things like, “I can’t stop gambling,” “I can’t stop drinking,” “I can’t stop eating,” “I can’t stop…”
Apostle Paul continued in Romans with an example.
Romans 1:26-27 …Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
Homosexuality is not something new. It’s an idol set up in the heart of a person. The idol is now more important, more fulfilling, more necessary than God. The idol is more important than having children, more important than reputation, more important than anything.
I asked you to do an experiment to see who, or what, is your god. I asked you to note your thoughts the first ten minutes you were awake. Your god will show up in your thoughts. If God is your God, you will think about how long it will be before you get to spend some time with God in his word and prayer. For example, when I was addicted to nicotine, one of my first thoughts was smoke a cigar. A person addicted to greed will think about the next moneymaking deal. A sex addict will have lewd thoughts thinking of the next release.
How did the experiment work for you? If you took my challenge, you discovered your idol. Let’s read again from Romans 1:25.
Romans 1:25 THEY EXCHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD FOR A LIE, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator…
Idols lie. Idols promise things they cannot do. For example, substance abuse (drugs, alcohol, marijuana, even nicotine, etc.) promises to give you comfort, peace, happiness, and joy. However, it actually enslaves the person and will eventually destroy the person. Idols lie. Let’s look at the sex addict and then alcoholic to see this.
Proverbs 5:3-4, 11 The lips of an immoral woman are as SWEET AS HONEY, and her MOUTH IS SMOOTHER THAN OIL. But the RESULT is as BITTER as POISON, sharp as a double-edged sword… At the end of your life you will GROAN, when your flesh and body are SPENT.
This can as easily be an immoral man. The immoral person’s promises are sweet as honey and their mouth smooth as oil. This is the lie given by Whore Folly. What’s the truth and result explained by Lady Wisdom? Bitterness, poison, damage, groaning, a life spent and wasted.
Proverbs 7:22, 23 All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose till an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird darting into a snare, LITTLE KNOWING IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE.
Everything he or she had in life is gone. Women leave and lose children. Men leave and lose everything. Addictions lie and eventually cost you your life. You don’t think this at the moment you light up the first cigarette, or pop the first pill you really don’t need. You don’t think this when you download the porn video. It promises you pleasure, but it will cost you your life. You don’t think how it’s destroying your body and mind, taking years off your life, when you keep eating. It promises honey, but its intention is ruin, death, and destruction with an arrow in the liver.
Idols always lie. They promise a little bit of heaven. “Have illicit sex. It will be like heaven.” “I know you’re stressed and having a bad day. Have a drink. It will be like heaven.” “Gamble and win a ton of money. It will be like heaven.” “You deserve to lay out of work today. Just sleep in and do nothing. It will be like heaven.” And, the idol always lies.
Here we see the same thing with one addicted to alcohol.
Proverbs 23:29-35 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly!
Here’s the lie. It’s so pleasing to the eye. It sparkles and you know it will be so relaxing. It will cure my woe, cure my sorrow, cure my strife, and cure my complaints of life. It’s like heaven.
In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights and your mind imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?”
Here’s the truth. Woe. Sorrow. Strife. You begin imagining things not real and saying things you shouldn’t say. You become confused. You stagger around. Get in arguments and fights. In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. It destroys the body and literally kills. Still the person says, “When I wake, I will find another drink.”
Idols are the problem, but idols convince the person they are the solution. An alcoholic gets the shakes, but the idol says, “A drink will fix this.” A drug addict gets DTs, but the idol says, “You need more of me.” You have a nicotine craving. The idol says, “I can fix this.” The idol takes control of the body and mind forcing the person to bow and worship the idol – the created thing – and it’s all a lie. Paul said, THEY EXCHANGED THE TRUTH OF GOD FOR A LIE.
Getting a person to stop drinking, stop doing drugs, stop doing illicit sex, etc. does not fix the problem because people, every one of us, are all going to worship something or someone. We will either worship the Creator or created things. It’s not what we do. It’s what or whom we worship. A person can stop smoking, but begin eating, stop doing drugs, but begin drinking. Something will be set up in the heart to worship and if it’s idolatry, it will be something other than God the Creator.
THE PROBLEM IS THE HEART, NOT THE HABIT. We’ve done two long lessons on the Adventure with the Heart during our study of Proverbs. I can’t rehearse these. Essentially, the heart is the essence and identity of who we are. When we come to Christ, God doesn’t “fix” our wicked heart (Jer 17:9). He gives us a new heart, new spirit, and new desires (Eze 36:26-27). However, now the heart must be guarded.
(Amp) Proverbs 4:23 KEEP AND GUARD YOUR HEART with all vigilance AND ABOVE ALL THAT YOU GUARD, for out of it flow the SPRINGS OF LIFE.
The King James translation says “for out of it are the issues of life.” An addiction, or idol, is definitely an issue coming from an unguarded heart and only you can guard it. Society attempts to change behavior. God changes the person and this can only happen at the heart level.
With all this said, what do we do? First, the idol must be identified for what it is and for what it is doing to you. I trust we’ve done this by now. Secondly, the idol must be destroyed and gotten out of your systems – body system and mind system. Once, God’s people set up a golden calf as an idol. Here is what Moses had them do.
Exodus 32:20 And he took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire; then he ground it to powder, scattered it on the water and MADE THE ISRAELITES DRINK IT.
Sounds strange doesn’t it? A truth of this is the idol had to pass through their systems. It was burned and ground, but until it got out of their systems, it wasn’t out of them. This is not easy. There are drug “DTs” and withdrawals. There are alcoholic shakes. There are nicotine cravings, but who is going to be your god? This is the real decision.
So, (1) Identify and admit the idol is set up in your heart. (2) Do whatever is necessary to get the idol out of your system. And, (3) Correct the worship disorder. If you will properly worship God, the idol will come down and stay down. It’s interesting when we look at the first two of the Ten Commandments in this light. I believe they will make more sense to you today than ever before.
Exodus 20:3 “You shall have no other gods BEFORE ME.
Exodus 10:4-6 “You shall not make for yourself an IDOL in THE FORM OF ANYTHING in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
A point we need to note is God said, “…no other gods [plural] before me.” It’s very easy to have “gods” in our lives superior to the Lord God. Also, frequently, we have more than one other “god,” or idol before him, but God says he must be first.
It’s interesting how much time God takes with the second commandment showing its importance. Interestingly, this commandment and the Sabbath Day commandment get the most attention from God of all the commandments. God says anything we put ahead of him will blow up in our faces. It will eventually bring punishment not only to the person, but also for three or four generations to come. How frequently do we see this! A parent has an idol/addiction. We watch it devastate their children to come. God says here exactly what we’ve been saying. Idols lie. Inverted worship will ruin, destroy lives, and kill. You and I get to stop it and show God’s love to a thousand generations.
How do we correct a worship disorder? Sunday morning church is the best place to begin. In fact, if you don’t have a time of faithful corporate (church) worship, you most likely will be addicted to and worship your idol for the rest of your life. Church is this important. But worship is not just the hour you are here on Sunday. It’s worshiping him with your life. It’s spending time communicating with God in prayer. It’s learning about him through his word. It’s doing what Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” Worship is a life style, not only a worship service, and you and only you get to guard your heart.
Other Related Sermons:
(1) Identify and admit the idol is set up in your heart. (2) Do whatever is necessary to get the idol out of your system. (3) Correct the worship disorder.