We whisper about it in church hallways. We turn our head away from it at the parks and we hide it in our homes. We warn our kids about it and hate it in ourselves.
It’s nothing new. From tobacco to technology. From crack to caffeine. From over-working to binge-watching. From generation to generation, we’ve traded one addiction for another.
It’s an effect of the fall, we say. We shake our fists at the devil and hang our heads. Come, Lord Jesus, we say, and dream of the day when we can be free.
But the more I learn about Jesus, the more I see that He loved addicts. He sought them out and called them by name. He chose twelve men who were addicted to tradition, religion, and power to be His best friends. He called a man who was addicted to wealth down from a tree and dined with him. He sat with a woman at a well who was addicted to love and security and invited her into grace and hope. He spoke truthfully but gently to people who were addicted to work, pleasure, security, and comfort… and loved them all.
And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2
The more I learn about the gospel and addiction, the more I realize the two might be connected.
Addicts are deep feelers. They know personally what’s wrong with the world ’cause they feel it living inside of them. Addicts are driven by the deep ache within that gets worse when ignored.
Addicts know they must out-source. The world preaches internal fortitude, self-help, and peace within, but addicts know intuitively of their emptiness. They know they can’t dull the pain on their own, and they won’t stop until they find what or who can.
Therefore, addicts – in any generation – are ripe for the gospel of Christ, aren’t they? When we 1. face our sin and 2. admit our need of help -aren’t we halfway down glory road?
The world shames glory road and the addicts on it. I feel the shame. Do you?
Though I’m not, by the grace of God, addicted to anything illegal or seriously destructive, I feel like a loser for having to restart the sugar detox again. I hide my addiction to social media and beat myself up for craving attention. And to keep with the theme, I over work, over rest, and over criticize – all to deaden the ache that I can’t reach. All in search of a solution to the problem within.
But with Jesus, I’m sitting with the woman at the well of grace. I hear him calling me down from my habits and into His mercy.
With Jesus, hope replaces shame when I remember that Jesus doesn’t want to change my addictive personality, He wants to redeem it.
And friend, He isn’t turned off by your trembling hands or bloodshot eyes. He’s prepared for your broken promises and repeating rehabs. He’s not repulsed by your overeating, your cutting, or your second-hand smoke.
He sees your behavior as a broken sign of how you were created. You are bearing His image when you feel deeply and grieve brokenness. You were created to long for, crave, and seek healing for the pain.
Turn to the only One who can help. He knows the struggle is real. He also knows the end of your story.
When you will finally raise your hands in pure worship. When you’ll be desperate only for the One who created you. When your desires will be stronger than ever, but perfectly met in Him.
Hi. I’m Karen. I’m an addict-aholic. And I’ll be there, too.
“But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.” John 4: 23