Addictions are running rampant in the U.S. today. You can’t pick up a paper or turn on the TV without hearing about the epidemic of heroin overdose deaths. Did you know that the #3 killer in America is prescription painkillers? You see alcoholism, cigarette smoking, overeating, gambling, pornography and many other addictions causing damage to peoples’ lives. But it’s not just these addictions that can affect us. Smart phones, computer games, sugar, exercise, sports and any number of others can also become a problem in your life when taken to extremes.
The dictionary defines addiction as “the state of being enslaved to a habit, practice or substance.” At Restoring Lives International we like the definition “anything that you cannot put down by your own free will”. By either definition, addiction controls you and rules you. It becomes the master of your life and if the addiction is the master, then God is NOT the master of your life. Anything that comes between you and God is a sin and that is what the spirit of addiction strives for – to separate you from God.
All addictions have their root in our need to be loved. Two basic human needs that we all seek to fulfill are: 1) the need to be loved; 2) the need to love. When you don’t have the need to be loved satisfied, you go looking for it in other places. You seek your comfort and fulfillment in substances, practices and habits. You are looking for ways to distract yourself or numb the pain of not feeling loved or not feeling lovable.
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV)
When you don’t love yourself, it is hard for you to receive love from God or others. That’s when you start looking for love and comfort in all the wrong places. We have all had rejection in our lives from parents, teachers, friends, boyfriends, girlfriends and coworkers that opens up the door to the unloving spirit. There is a gang of spirits who all work together and conspire to keep you in bondage to your addiction. The spirits of rejection, unloving, fear and occult conspire to steal your life.
The first step to finding freedom is to recognize the addictions in your life. How do you recognize when addiction has become your master? Is there something you are doing in secret, that you keep hidden from others, that you are doing in the dark and you are ashamed of? Have you lost control or lost the ability to stay away from a substance or behavior? Have you been drifting away from socialization, like abandoning commitments or ignoring relationships? Have you felt yourself drifting further and further away from God? These could all be signs that you have another master holding the steering wheel of your life.
Electronics are becoming an extremely powerful addiction and influence in people’s lives. Do you find yourself immediately grabbing your phone when you hear the incoming message tone? Even when driving? Do you interrupt face-to-face conversations with someone to answer a call on your phone or read a text? Have you been spending more and more time on Facebook or Instagram? Maybe you have become a slave to your phone’s demands.
Look for changes in personality and behavior. Have you lost interest in hobbies or activities that used to be important? Are you engaged in risk taking behaviors and ignoring the negative consequences of your actions?
The real root of any addiction is not the specific addictive behavior. Your problem is not the drugs, gambling, food, internet, electronic device or other substance. The root of your addiction probably lies in the unloving spirit and the gang of spirits it runs with. You must go to that root of unloving, dig it up and throw it out.
And here’s the good news. You have hope and you have help! By the definition above, these are problems that you cannot put down of your own will. But you have a helper – our almighty, all powerful God! When God commanded Gideon to save Israel from the Midianites, He sent the angel of the Lord to encourage Gideon and remind him that he had the hand of the Lord at his side….
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12 NIV)
The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:16 NIV)
Are you ready to face up to your addictions – to tear them down and burn them up like Gideon did? Take authority over them instead of giving them authority over you!
As you are going through this process of recognizing addictions in your life, be sure to consider your generations. Look at your mother and your father. Look at your grandfathers and grandmothers. Are there patterns of addictive behavior through your generations? In the ministry we often see generational addictions of alcoholism, infidelity and other addictive behaviors.
Take some time right now to take a good, hard look at yourself, your habits and your behaviors. Look for indications of addictions in your life and then think about the root of those addictions. That is where your freedom can be found! We recommend that you attend a Restore Your Life conference if you are ready to start on that journey to freedom!
In the meantime, make this declaration every day. “Temptation, you will not steal my life or my family! Addiction, you will not steal my life or my family! Spirits of unloving, rejection, fear and occult you will not steal my future and my destiny!