How should a Christian view addiction?Question: "How should a Christian view addiction?"
Answer: The word addiction has two basic meanings. The first definition, and the one most of us are familiar with, is “to cause to become physiologically or psychologically dependent on a habit-forming substance.” Those who are addicted or “given to much wine” (Titus 1:7; 2:3), “drunkards” (1 Timothy 3:3) or “heavy drinkers” (1 Timothy 3:8) are disqualified from teaching or holding a position of authority in the church. It’s clear that church leadership needs to be sober and self-controlled so that, by their example, they can teach others to be the same, for we know that “drunkards . . . shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:10). Believers must not be dependent upon alcohol, and it stands to reason that this would also apply to addiction to any other substance, i.e. drugs, pornography, gambling, gluttony, tobacco, etc.
The second definition of addiction is “to occupy (oneself) with or involve (oneself) in something habitually or compulsively.” This speaks of an unnatural (for the Christian, at least) obsession with anything other than God: sports, work, shopping and/or acquiring “stuff,” even family or children. We are to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), which is, according to Jesus, the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-38). We can conclude, then, that an addiction to anything other than God Himself is wrong. God is the only thing we can (and should) occupy ourselves with habitually. To do so with anything else draws us away from Him and displeases Him. He alone is worthy of our complete attention, love, and service. To offer these things to anything or anyone else is idolatry.
Recommended Resource: Freedom from Addiction: Breaking the Bondage of Addiction and Finding Freedom in Christ by Neil Anderson
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