Jesus Loves Addicts
By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – June 1, 2015) —Imagine rolling over in the morning, your first thought Where are they?
as you reach blindly for the pills, the syringe, the bottle. Maybe you
just need it to get ready to go to work, maybe you need it just to get
out of bed, maybe you don't care. Whatever shame you once felt has long
since evaporated in the scalding heat of your need.
Imagine trying to manage the network of lies your life has become.
You don't remember how it all started, but the only thing worse than the
stress is how you feel when you're not online looking at those images,
or when you're not doubling down on a hard 11—outside of moments like
those, you don't even feel truly alive. It's worth the risk of getting
caught, of losing your paycheck, of watching your house of cards tumble.
Imagine going to your purse and realizing you're down forty bucks from yesterday. More grocery money,
you think, gone up in smoke. You call out her name, but she's gone, and
you head for the jewelry drawer, heart sinking, to see what's missing
this time. You tell yourself, That’s it, this is really the last time, but you know it's not true. Shuddering, you wonder what it will take to break this cycle, to break her. Lord, be merciful.
Addiction takes many forms, but in whatever form it takes, it takes. Health, money, relationship, peace, trust—all are casualties of addiction.
According to Brainz.org, the ten most common addictions are:
6) Video Games
No big surprises there, but what about phone addiction—a more modern form of addiction. No way, you say. There’s no such thing. Think again.
In her article “Our Creepy Attachment To Cell Phones Could be An
Addiction,” Huffington Post writer Anna Almendraia states, “This is why
I’m always amazed that many of the (mostly younger) students around me
sit in class with their phones in their hands, quietly scrolling,
playing and texting while the teacher lectures, writes math problems on
the board and asks the class to participate. In fact, a group of friends
who sit behind me in class has appointed one person to take notes for
everyone to scan later, so the rest of them can scroll on their phones
until it comes time to sign the attendance sheet. “What’s going on here?
Disrespect (for the teacher and their own education) and a misguided
belief in multitasking, are a couple of things that come to mind. But
what if my fellow students actually can’t put down their phones — not
even to pay attention to a fairly complex class that they paid a lot of
money to take?
“Research on the possibility of cell phone addiction is an emerging
field, and a lot of it centers on the habits of the youngest millennials
(now teens and young adults), a generation that can’t remember what it
was like to not have a cell phone. A recent study published in the
Journal of Behavioral Addictions found that female college students
spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male
students report spending nearly eight. The study also found that about
60 percent of study participants think they may be addicted to their
Phone addiction. Porn addiction. Money addiction. Drug addiction.
True, some seem (and are) worse than others, but any way you slice it,
addiction is still addiction.
The core of addiction is fairly simple: We have a God-shaped hole
that needs to be filled. And people are filling the hole with things
other than God. People don’t see their need for God, so they put lesser
things first, lesser gods—controlling elements that they feel they need
in order to function and have purpose, meaning, and a coping mechanism
Though addiction—in any form—is a terrible situation to be under,
there is good news: Jesus loves addicts. He yearns to set the addict
free from any dependency on something other than God. Jesus died to
purchase lost souls, to take control of a life and restore it to God’s
original purpose: a life full of love, meaning, and hope.
Dictionary.com describes an addict as “a person who is dependent on an activity, habit, or substance.” If you look up the verb addicted, it takes on a more sinister meaning: “to habituate or abandon (oneself) to something compulsively or obsessively.”
In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, he mentioned how the
household of Stephanas had “devoted themselves to the ministry of the
saints” (1 Cor. 16:15). In the King James, “devoted” was translated as
“addicted.” The Greek word is tássō, meaning to place in a certain
order. The idea is that their priorities were God's priorities; they
were addicted to doing His will—filling the God-shaped hole with God.
It's easy to see how the modern meaning of the word—which is largely
negative—shows how so many in our world have become addicted to the
1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken
you except such as is common to man; but God isfaithful, who will not
allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to
2 Corinthians 12:9: “'My grace is sufficient for
you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly
I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may
rest upon me.”
1 John 3:8: “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is
of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The
reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
James 4:7: “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
1 Corinthians 6:12: “You say, 'I am allowed to do
anything'—but not everything is good for you. And even though 'I am
allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything. (NLT)
Romans 12:9: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” (NIV)
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
As Pastor Skip writes in his forthcoming booklet entitled Jesus Loves Addicts,
“Given the surprisingly broad range of addictions out there, it's
likely that you will either know or be an addict. If you depend on
anything more than you do on God, that's at best addiction and at worst
idolatry. Think about how God loves you and has better plans for you
than you can even imagine, commit to Him, and seek help.”
If you are reaching out to a person with an addiction, whether it is
someone you know or someone you have yet to meet, use the acronym LOVE as a guide:
L—Listen to people. Make a sincere effort to get to
know them and their situation. In the case of those affected by
addiction, don't make assumptions. Ask questions to clarify and listen
well. Bear in mind that most addictions make easy liars of even the most
believable person; your compassion is valuable but could make you an
easy mark, so pray for discernment as you listen.
O—Observe their life. Where are they coming
from—emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually? Ask yourself, again
with a blend of discernment and compassion, How can I assist them?
V—Voice God’s truth. What does the Bible teach
concerning a lack of honesty, contentment and trust, and God's love for
those in need?
E—Embrace them with the love of God in Christ. You
may or may not have shared experience, but keep Jesus the focus of your
conversation and outreach.
Jesus loves addicts—will you?
To learn more about the Jesus Loves People series, click here: www.jesuslovespeople.com
 http://brainz.org/10-most-common-addictions/, 1/20/15.
 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/05/cell-phone-addiction_n_5769730.html, 1/20/15.
 addict. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/addict (accessed: January 5, 2015).
 addicted. Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/addicted (accessed: December 21, 2014).
Photo caption: Logo
the writer: Brian Nixon is a writer, musician, and minister. He’s a
graduate of California State University, Stanislaus (BA) and is a Fellow
at Oxford Graduate School (D.Phil.). As a published author, editor,
radio host, recording artist, and visual artist, Brian spends his free
time with his three children and wife, painting, writing music, reading,
and visiting art museums. To learn more, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Nixon.
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