What has Lady Wisdom said for thousands of years about an issue so pertinent for today? Addictions. Perhaps some of us struggle with addictions. If not, you certainly have relatives and friends who have gone down the path of Whore Folly and ruined, or nearly ruined, their lives because of addictions. A person becomes a literal slave to an addiction. Many know what it is to love someone who is in slavery to alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, etc.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure With Addictions 1
Adventure With Addictions
Proverbs 16:18, Proverbs 21:25, Proverbs 1:18, 19, Proverbs 21:24, Proverbs 23:2, Ezekiel 14:3, 4, 7, Romans 1:25, Romans 1:26-27
What has Lady Wisdom said for thousands of years about an issue so pertinent for today? Addictions. Perhaps some of us struggle with addictions. If not, you certainly have relatives and friends who have gone down the path of Whore Folly and ruined, or nearly ruined, their lives because of addictions. A person becomes a literal slave to addiction. Many know what it is to love someone who is in slavery to alcoholism, drug addiction, sex addiction, etc. How can we help, serve, and understand them? If we are the addict, how can we help and understand our own selves?
You may not like what I say initially about this today, but if you allow God to minister, I believe by the time we’re done, you will agree with me, and hopefully, we can help someone. This is not intended to be condescending. Many have either been addicted to something or close to addiction. I was once addicted to nicotine, close to being addicted to alcohol, and maybe some other things. So, we’re not talking down to anyone. Also, I advise you not to judge.
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
You be cautious concerning haughtiness toward anyone.
Let’s define “addiction.” Here’s what you might not like. Addiction is sin having tremendous 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. For example, prescription drugs are not sin, but when prescription drugs become an idol and the person’s god, it also becomes sin. My primary goal today is to explain this thought. People become slaves to sex, food, money, shopping, drugs, technology, internet, hobbies, and all kinds of pleasures, passions, and gratifications. They self-select and shackle their own selves to their god of choice, and it will rule over, ruin, destroy, and even kill the person.
Addiction is different from a disease. It’s simply not correct to place something like cancer and addiction in the same category. 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. It’s not just semantics. The problem is this makes the person a victim with no need to repent, but needing medication and treatment to “treat” the disease. It’s more helpful for the person, though it sounds harsh, to see it not as a disease. Actually, as I want us to see, instead of being a disease, it’s a “worship disorder.” I’ll show you how this is the case shortly.
We tend to think addictions today are something new, so we need new insight in dealing with them. However, Proverbs, written about three thousand years ago, addresses several addictions. Here is a list of six addictions Proverbs and Lady Wisdom address.
(1) Sexual addiction: Proverbs talks about the adulteress who is obviously a nymphomaniac, but the same can as easily be said of the whoremonger man. We read about this in chapters 2, 5, 6, 7, 22, and 30. She continually cheats on her husband pursuing other men. She can’t get enough sex. We will read some things Proverbs says about this in our next lesson, but some people are addicted/shackled to sex.
(2) The Sluggard: These people do not want to work, or inconvenience themselves. They are addicted to craving and doing nothing. They are lazy people who waste away life. Chapters 6, 10, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24, and 26 address the sluggard.
Proverbs 21:25 The sluggard’s CRAVING will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work.
His craving is his addiction. Laziness may not sound like an addiction, but by scriptural definition, it is. You know people like this. These people shackle themselves to their bed of doing nothing. It’s their god.
(3) Greed: These people are addicted to money and things (Proverbs chapters 1, 11, 21, 23, 28). Jesus called it mammon (Mat 6:24). They worship money, and the status money and possessions provide. They are passionate about the security and comfort money gives them. Money is their god.
Proverbs 1:18, 19 …They set an ambush for themselves; they booby-trap their own lives! Such is the fate of all who are greedy for gain. It ends up robbing them of life.
Greed is a powerful addiction, and you don’t have to have money to be addicted to it. In fact, often-greedy people don’t have money. They’ve spent it and are in heavy debt. They never get enough.
(4) Pride: Chapters 3, 8, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, and 18 address this addiction. Those addicted to pride worship themselves. It’s all about what they think, what they want, and what they feel. They are inconsiderate of others.
Proverbs 21:24 The proud and arrogant man -“Mocker” is his name; he behaves with overweening pride.
Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man’s HEART IS PROUD, but humility comes before honor.
These people shackled themselves to selfish, arrogant pride.
(5) The Drunkard: We would say alcoholic. Proverbs chapters 20, 21, 23, and 26 address this. We will read several verses next week about this. It can easily be expanded into drug and substance abuse.
(6) The Glutton: Chapters 23 and 28 talk about this.
Proverbs 23:2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.
The glutton’s god is, of course, food. They shackle themselves to eating, which becomes their comfort, security, and companion.
Therefore, the scriptures speak to addictions. Perhaps not in our modern day terms, but they do give us great insight. So, let’s deal with it straight on to see if we can actually help someone even if it may be painful, or seem harsh initially.
Idolatry is the reason a person is addicted. Underlying the addiction is an idol. For the addiction to ever be corrected, the idol must be addressed. As we’ve already discussed in our Proverbs study, society addresses behavior, but not the root. Frequently 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 addressed the behavior, but not the root. They simply exchanged idols.
When we say and think the word “idolatry,” we think of primitive people who made images and bowed to them, but these are not what 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 hearts. It’s a person clinging to something other than God, finding identity in something different than God, loving something more than God, and finding comfort in something more than God. It’s the thinking something other than God will make their life better. The person loves the idol. The person worships the idol, goes to the idol for comfort, and identifies with the idol instead of God. The person trusts and believes the idol will bless and fulfill them instead of God.
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.
I said earlier the person has a “worship disorder.” Here we see it is, in fact, a WORSHIP DISORDER. The order of worship is inverted. Every person will worship either the “Creator” or “created things.” We are wired to worship. We are supposed to worship “the Creator,” and enjoy and steward “created things.” Idolatry is when there is an inversion. We worship and serve created things over and above the Creator, which can be food, sex, relationships, codependency, drugs, sports, children and alcohol, anything interfering with the worship of the Creator. It’s taking created things and SETTING THEM UP IN THE HEART where they become excessively important and far too necessary, thus ADDICTION. Eventually, they rule over us. We will 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…” People “can’t stop doing” drugs like heroin. It becomes a god to them for which they sacrifice their money, marriages, family, occupation, health, and even lives, so they worship it. They would never even think about sacrificing anything close to this expense for the Creator. So, you tell me, which is their God? Which do they worship and serve?
Apostle Paul continued in Romans 1 saying,
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. Homosexuality is now more important, more fulfilling, more necessary than God, or anything else. Why do people do things like homosexuality, child molestation, perversions, etc.? Their idol/god commanded them.
We are created to worship, and we all will worship some one or some thing. Something is set up in the heart. It is the master. We become the slave.
I’m going to pick up our teaching about addiction here next week. I want to give you some thoughts to ponder and think about this week. How do we know if God is first, or if an idol has been, or is attempting to be set up in our heart? It’s easy. Here’s what I want you to do. When you get out of bed tomorrow, note the first thoughts coming to your mind during the first ten minutes. I’m not talking about bodily essentials. Here’s my point. Your god will command you to think about it within your first ten minutes. For example, how long will you go before thinking about spending some time with the Lord in prayer, or his word? If you’re an alcoholic, you will be thinking about the next drink. I remembered when I was addicted to nicotine. I couldn’t wait to light up. It was nearly my first thought. If you’re addicted to sex, you will have lewd imaginations within your first ten minutes. If for nothing else, this will be a great experiment for you to actually note your first ten minutes of thoughts. When God is first on your mind, then he’s your God. Amazingly, people who call themselves Christians don’t think about God all day.
An addiction is a sin, not a disease, which a person self-selects to shackle their self. It can be nearly anything – food, money, shopping, drugs, technology, internet, hobbies, children, spouse, pleasure, gratifications, sports, and the list goes on. An addiction is an idol/god we set up in our own heart. An addiction is worshiping the created things rather than the Creator. An addiction is anything easily interfering with your worship for God. It’s inverted worship or a worship disorder.
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