COUNSELING ADDICTIONS: THE THREE DEATHS

The Biblical Foundation for Hating Addictions

Sometimes we can begin to see “sin” as more theoretical than it is experiential. Definitely something to avoid but more in the category of not eating a donut because it’s “bad” for you. That is until we come across someone who has been taken down by it. When we see the consequences of sin vividly portrayed in a life of addiction the true horrific nature of sin makes us shudder.

I was recently speaking to a client who has been caught in the grips of a pornography addiction for the past two years. We began recounting the true effects of what it had done to him, but we really needn’t look any farther than the first three chapters of Genius. We all know the story so let me cut to the chase.

Adam and Eve had the whole garden and an incredibly intimate relationship with God completely available to them … but that wasn’t enough. When the forbidden fruit was craftily displayed it obscured all that they were given and became an obsession; a tidbit wrapped in a lie. Something that was supposed to bring life really brought death. Sadly, the same story is repeated over and over again but with different tidbits. It could be sex, alcohol, gambling, power, possessions, romance … the list is endless. But the consequences are always the same … death.

The first death that occurred was the death in their relationship with the Heavenly Father. This was illustrated by the fact that Adam and Eve hid from God’s presence. We also cut ourselves off from a nurturing and nourishing relationship with God when we choose something over him. Sin is not just something that separates us from God it actually puts us on the wrong side of the cosmic battle. This is the reason Jesus came; to turn his enemies into his beloved children.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior
— Colossians 1:21 NIV

When we allow an addiction to rule us we are acting like enemies of God rather than God’s redeemed and cutting ourselves off from his abundant blessings!

The second death occurs in our relationships with one another. Adam and Eve’s relationship was never the same after they sinned and this was passed on to the next generation, Cain and Able. If we think the sinful tidbits in our lives will not affect our relationships we are very, very mistaken. The further we go into the sin the more isolated we become and the farther we wonder away from true intimacy. Look around and ask this question. How much of true intimate fellowship is lost because there are secret sins being covered up? If we are hiding from God due to our shame we will also hide from our brothers and sisters. This isolation can best be described as a slow, cold and painful death.

The third death Adam and Eve experienced was a death in their relationship with their environment.  Don’t worry I’m not going to get “all Greenpeace” on you but there is definitely a correlation between sin and what happened to the world that God originally created. Physical death came into the world in all its forms; sickness, pain, fear, pollution, war, etc. When we accept the lie that something other than God will bring us the joy our hearts crave we are choosing to heap upon ourselves greater forms of death. Numerous studies have demonstrated physical damage caused by addictions with equal bodily damage brought on through the inevitable consequences of broken relationships, poverty, stress and much more.

If we are ever to stop falling for the lie we need to saturate ourselves with the truth. And the truth is there is nothing on earth that can fill the void in our lives. We really must see this and recognize the pit of sin if we are ever to escape it. That is the core issue in addiction. The inability to quit even when there is clear evidence that the addiction is causing nothing but death.

There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus
— Blaise Pascal

Next week … how to help someone quit an addiction.