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Addicted to love

Date: 
Sunday, 6 July 2003

People sometimes fall into unworthy addictions. We can be addicted to drugs, food, power, acceptance, wealth, beauty, work, wealth, sex, the internet and many other things. Some of these things are bad in themselves, and the addiction just makes things worse. Others are good in themselves, but the addiction is the problem.

The essence of an addiction is that it takes control. We must have this thing and will do almost anything to get it. An addiction means that we lose self-control and come under the mastery of our worst appetites (Rom 7:5; 1 Cor 6:12). Paul’s description of a person trapped in sin fits the addict well: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do. … What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? (Rom 7:15&24).

Addictions bring problems. They damage health, wealth, family ties and character. Consider someone with an expensive addiction. They spend disproportionately to feed the addiction and then borrow or steal to keep feeding it. They then start lying to those around them: hiding the problem and trying to cover the desperate measures they have taken to feed it. The trail of damage to themselves and others goes far and wide. The addiction becomes a monstrous idol that devours all in its path.

How can an addict break free? Paul asks and answers his own question: Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God, through Christ Jesus our Lord! (Rom 7:24&25).

Scripture describes how Christ enables a person to be free from whatever masters him. (Take a few minutes to read Rom 6; Gal 6:13-26; 1 Cor 6:19-20). Christ's Cross frees believers from the binding penalty of sin that separates us from God. Christ’s resurrection and work of his Holy Spirit frees us from the power of sin. Through this, we are freed to be servants of God’s good.

Please do not hesitate our church leaders for help if you are struggling with an addiction. Alongside spiritual processes, the addict can also be helped by behaviour modification and counselling programmes.

Once freed, we are ready to be what God meant us to be in his creation: devoted in love to him and in love to our neighbour (Mk 12:29-31). This is a worthy addiction.

Lord, please free me from all that controls my life. Work for me by your Son and in me by your Spirit, so that loving you and my neighbour are my only addiction.