Breaking the Power of Addiction

Romans 7:14-19

In Christ we have been released from what once kept us enslaved. People who have experienced this liberation testify with passion to the power of Christ that freed them from bondage. That which once enslaved them is now rendered powerless.

Addiction has been the curse of our age. In reality, however, the enslaving power of sin has always been part of the human predicament. It was in recognition of this that Paul wrote: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do… the evil I do not want to do—this I keep doing” (Romans 7:15-19).

The addictive capacity that we each have is powerful. Recognizing our inability to suppress or escape the enslaving power of sin propels us with abandon to the grace of Jesus Christ.

Addiction is defined as any compulsive, habitual behavior that limits the freedom of human desire. We attach our desires to specific objects and become completely consumed by the habitual behavior. It controls us. We want to break away from the object of our craving desires, but we cannot. It rules us. It torments us.

The cruelest dimension to addictive behavior is found in those substances that cause personal physical destruction or injury to other people. For the lives of innocent people—so often children or spouse—to become shattered because of addiction is similarly wicked.

Abstaining from harmful substances and behaviors is not only a decision of principle, it is also sheer common sense. A lament of the addict is the regret that they experimented in the first place.

“I will abstain from alcoholic drink, tobacco, the non-medical use of addictive drugs, gambling, pornography, the occult and all else that could enslave the body or spirit.” In making this commitment, Salvation Army soldiers strengthen themselves in a very tangible way for spiritual warfare. They engage in the action unfettered and alert.

Richard Munn, The War Cry

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