Speaking the Truth in Love

Speaking the Truth in Love

Overcoming Harmful Addictions

(Note: the author of some of the material below is unknown to me. David Riggs)

   A. In this study, we want to talk about overcoming harmful
      1. Some addictions are not harmful; e.g., addicted to serving
         the Lord.
   B. In our country, many people are addicted to various harmful
      1. Gerald May, in his book "Addictions and Grace," lists 150
         different things to which people can be addicted.
      2. People can easily become addicted to various prescription

   A. "An enslaving, destructive dependency."
      1. Random House Dictionary: "The state of being enslaved to
         a habit, practice, or something that is a psychological or
         physical form of habit, as narcotics, to such an extent that its
         cessation causes severe trauma."
   B.  Identifying marks of harmful addictions:
      1. They are obsessions and preoccupations that demand more
         and more from us.
      2. They consume time, thought, and energy.
      3. They take control of us.
   C. They require increasing tolerance.
      1. People need increasing amounts to maintain the same effect.
         a. Drug addicts need more crack to get the same high.
         b. Alcoholics need more alcohol to maintain the "buzz"
            that came easily at first.
         c. The sex addict moves from soft to hard-core
   D. There is the growing denial.
      1. The addict denies that his addiction is ruining him.
      2. They hide from others the extent of their enslavement.
      3. They convince themselves that they can stop whenever they
      4. They become skilled actors or actresses in front of others
         because of their fear of being found out.
   E. Harmful addictions have very damaging consequences.
      1. They are destructive to ourselves and those we love.
         a. Directly or indirectly, our addictions can destroy us, our
            families and our friendships.
         b. One can lose his job, health, self-respect, and
      2. They destroy one spiritually.
         a. They destroy one's capacity for self-control and ability
            to serve God acceptably.
         b. Often one knows he can fool man, but not God; thus, he
            knowingly and willingly lives out of fellowship with
         c. Consider 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and Rev. 21:8.
            (1)   The word "sorcerer" is from the Greek,
                  "pharmakeus" which means, among other things,
                  "to mix, dispense, or take drugs."

II. HARMFUL ADDICTIONS CAN BE OVERCOME. (Please consider the following steps).
   A. Admit that you have a problem.
      1. We must specifically identify the problem that controls us .
      2. This is the first step in overcoming its power.
      3. There are several passages in the New Testament which
         warn against self-deception. 1 John 1:8; Gal. 6:3; James
      4. Self-deception is the worse kind of deception.
   B. Take full responsibility for the problem.
      1. One must admit: "This is my problem and it is up to me to
         overcome it."
      2. One must learn self-control. 1 Cor. 9:24-27
      3. Strong self-discipline is the key.
      4. Gen. 4:7-8 - Sin was waiting for him; but Cain should have
         ruled over it.
      5. The devil cannot exert any power over us other than what
         we give to him. James 4:7
   C. Turn to God with earnestness and plead for help from Him.
      1. Pray hard, earnestly for help, especially when tempted.
      2. Psalm 40:1-2   God can lift us out of our plights. 
      3. Psalm 40:11-13   Turn to God for deliverance. 
      4. Psalm 116:1-7   We need to call upon the Lord as long as
         we live.
   D. Remove all occasions of temptation.
      1. Proverbs 23:31 - The addiction will "call out" and make
         itself seem appealing.
   E. Allow God's word to be a "lamp to our feet" guiding us away
      from the addiction. 
      1. The word of God is living and powerful. Heb. 4:12
      2. Study of the word, prayer, and worship are essential.
   F. Fill the void with Good things.
      1. Consider the demon that left the house. Luke 11:24-26
         a. It was good to clean the house, but it was not enough,
         b. The house left empty was open for the return of the
            unclean spirit which came back with more.
         c. The point is to clean the house, but also fill it with good
            things leaving no room for the bad.
   G. Seek other Christians who can help.
      1. Fellow Christians can comfort and encourage us. Heb. 3:13;
      2. As members of a local congregation, Christians have a
         strong "support group." 

   A. God has the power and will help us if we will rely on Him.
   B. We must trust Him, pray earnestly, and wait patiently for His
   C. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. Isa. 40:28-