When Jesus Meets the Addict

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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

Linked up with Purposeful Faith and Testimony Tuesday


26 thoughts on “When Jesus Meets the Addict

  1. Beth Willis Miller May 19, 2015 / 7:02 am

    WOW!!! What a powerful post…so true…such good examples…love these two quotes especially…”But with Jesus, I’m sitting with the woman at the well of grace”…and…”Turn to the only One who can help. He knows the struggle is real. He also knows the end of your story.” Many blessings to you for this more than helpful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 8:01 am

      Beth- Thank you so much for this encouragement. Blessings to you!


  2. Christan Perona May 19, 2015 / 7:22 am

    This, Karen. This is is my favorite of all your posts. You wrote it for me. Every paragraph, every sentence. You touched on such intimate details of the yearner’s and striver’s heart, yet you immersed it all in the big picture and the deeper story that belongs to us. Many thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 8:02 am

      Christan- Coming from you, this means so much. Thank you for your encouragement. You, friend, are one of my many addictions.


  3. Rachel May 19, 2015 / 8:14 am

    I really love this… I don’t even know what more I can say that that… just love! Thank you for writing. I hope many are touched by this truth you shared, I know I have been!! Visiting from Testimony Tuesday

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 8:38 am

      Rachel- Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your encouraging words.


  4. loisflowers May 19, 2015 / 10:09 am

    Karen, I’m so glad I stopped by from Purposeful Faith today. I’m like you, with addictions that are not illegal or seriously self-destructive. But they are there, and Jesus is the only one who can satisfy them. Thank you for sharing this powerful post!


  5. asheritah May 19, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Karen, I just love that verse you quoted: Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy. And aren’t we all sick? Too often I feel pressured to look healthy, to pretend everything’s ok, when it’s in admitting my sickness, my addictions (to food, social media, and yes, attention) that I recognize my weakness and my need for God’s grace. Don’t shun the weakness. Embrace it as a way to receive more grace, strength, and power from the One who loves and cares. I’m right there with you. (Visiting from Purposeful Faith)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 10:30 am

      Asheritah- Thank you for stopping by. Your words encourage me. Blessings~


  6. Abby May 19, 2015 / 10:31 am

    Karen, this is such a thought provoking post and there is much truth here. My brother has been an addict for over twenty years and I know God loves him despite his addiction. He has been through rehab many times and is actually doing really well now after finding a loving church home, and I pray he continues to follow God’s path for his life. It’s so hard to see someone you love go down a road of self-destruction, but you are right. We all have our own addictions, whether legal or illegal. Thank you for sharing your heart here today. I will certainly remember this one.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 1:48 pm

      Abby- I just said a prayer for your brother. Thanks for stopping by to read and encourage me.


  7. Ceil May 19, 2015 / 10:51 am

    Hi Karen! (This greeting also is a response to your “I’m Karen”) I can really relate to addicts. I have had experience with addiction to coffee, food…and many more I’m sure. I think of St. Paul too, and how addicted he was to his Jewish faith. God used that addiction and flipped it to use it in a powerful way for His church. Being too involved in ‘things’ isn’t good, but God can use it for good. That’s something to be joyful about 🙂
    From #RaRa Linkup,

    Liked by 2 people

    • Karen Brown May 19, 2015 / 1:49 pm

      Ceil- Yes! Paul was a reformed addict! Thanks so much for stopping by!


  8. IntentionallyPursuing.com May 19, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Karen, I love this message of God’s redemptive power for our addictions and how our needs for ______ (filling in my own blank here …. social media, striving, comfort) point to a need only God can fill.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Joanna Sormunen May 19, 2015 / 6:20 pm

    Usually it is the broken people that can admit the need to be saved. And thus that they need a savior, the Savior. Sadly when we have been saved, we are so quick to forget that. May we all remember that we are recovering addicts. That is what the church is for. It is a meeting place for the recovering addicts.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jeanne Takenaka May 19, 2015 / 7:17 pm

    Karen, wow. What a beautiful post. We are all addicts to something. And yeah, my addiction has been to love, security and I would add to acceptance. And I’m so grateful He invites me (and each of us) into grace and hope. He doesn’t leave us where we are right now, but draws us into deeper intimacy with Himself. I’m truly grateful He meets our desperate need with Himself. Truly profound post, my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. amypboyd May 20, 2015 / 9:45 am

    Such a beautiful reminder of how deep His grace and how wide His love is for each and everyone of us. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 20, 2015 / 10:12 am

      Amy- Thanks so much for your kind words. They mean a lot coming from such a great writer like you. 🙂


  12. Kelly Balarie May 20, 2015 / 9:51 am

    Karen, your words are AWESOME! You know what is beyond amazing? Your posts are growing more and more touching. I am seeing this on so many #RaRa blogs. I think God is growing us all! I see it. Wow, you spoke here. I love your humility. This is powerful. Cheering you on from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 20, 2015 / 10:13 am

      Kelly- Thank you so much for that encouragement. Yes- God is at work!


  13. Anita Ojeda May 21, 2015 / 6:18 pm

    Hi, I’m Anita, and I’m addicted to control (and social media, and self-promotion and my comfort zone). I’m so very glad we met and can share this journey together and seek out other addicts–even if their addictions look completely different from mine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen Brown May 21, 2015 / 7:09 pm

      I’m glad we have each other, Anita! Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂


  14. Tara May 21, 2015 / 7:31 pm

    Karen, this is so so good! Immediately I thought of a friend who was a pastor but no longer is because he realized he had an addiction. I agree that we all have some kind of addiction. I love how you pointed out who Jesus was and is!


  15. Pirkko Rytkonen May 25, 2015 / 11:59 am

    Reblogged this on Pirkko Rytkonen and commented:
    Addiction is a topic we Christians would rather not mention in our circles as it brings on the shame and the stigma associated with it. But are we immune to it? The truth about addiction revealed in this article will have us on our knees seeking for mercy. Who among us is without sin?

    Liked by 1 person

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