The reason I give into temptation is that I want to!
In these five articles, I’m talking with you about addiction. We’re not focused on any particular addiction but rather I’m sharing a biblical perspective on addiction along with the sure hope that we have in Jesus. If you or someone you love struggles with addiction to alcohol, drugs, sugar, gambling, pornography, or any other habitual behavior that’s captured the heart in mind I hope you’ll be encouraged.
In this article we’re going to talk about temptation- why am I tempted and what do we do to overcome it?
Let’s begin with the why question, “Why am I tempted the way I am and Why doesn’t everyone else struggle in this way?” Am I defective somehow because I struggle like this? First, let me say that you’re not defective, just broken by sin like the rest of us.
If you read the previous article, “Your heart is your greatest enemy!” you might have picked up on the reason why each of us is tempted in the way that we are. I talked about Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” James 4:1 also adds to our understanding of this, “What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members?”
At Community Baptist Church in Bunnell, we have a ministry on Thursdays at 7:00 PM called Overcoming Addiction in Christ. Each week we recite our Change Principle and that Change Principle is the foundational biblical summary of how, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, we help people overcome addiction.
The first line of the Change Principle is “I do what I do because I do what I want to do.” Now, that’s a significant statement and it’s also a truth that will give you hope that things can be different. The addiction you struggle with isn’t a disease that’s out of your control. Our addictions flow straight out of our hearts. Because of that, empowered by the Holy Spirit, as you learn, believe, and apply the practical Word of God your behavior will change, and the temptation becomes less intense.
It’s important to understand that I’m not minimizing the overwhelming feelings that come with the temptation of addiction. But what I’m saying is that “No temptation has overtaken you, but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1Co 10:13
I’m tempted by what my heart desires. As I habitually go to the thing, I’m tempted by to provide me pleasure, happiness, and relieve my pain, I begin to trust more and more in that thing.
Just like a pro golfer who practices swinging a club hundreds of times a day to develop the perfect shot I also become proficient at trusting in and relying on the thing I’m addicted to.
In time, my response to my addiction becomes automatic. This is why people describe addiction as feeling like a disease or feeling like it’s a genetic disorder because it’s practice so many times that it becomes automatic. Almost as if it’s not under my control.
I want to ask you, as you’re considering what I’m saying to remember there’s no way to take a deep dive into addiction in a brief article. We’re not touching on the physiological effect that some drugs and alcohol have. For some people, addiction can happen very quickly and it’s a topic for another time.
What I’m focused on here today is a much deeper issue than the capability of the human body to become physically dependent on drugs and alcohol. If that’s the case, you need to see a doctor to help with that part. However, a person can stop using drugs and alcohol and continue to have a heart gripped by addiction.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction I want to invite you to come to our Overcoming Addictions in Christ ministry at Community Baptist Church in Bunnell.