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What does the Bible say about addiction?

Updated: Feb 23, 2019

Addiction is typically a label given to someone with a dependency on certain aggressive substances or sexual lifestyle. But there are many who suffer from life controlling behaviors and patterns that is not limited to just drugs, alcohol and sex but can include eating habits, workaholism, shopping and even video games.


The Bible is clear that addictions were relevant and common even in the days of its writings. King David (who God called “a man after my own heart”) struggled with constant sexual sin and emotional instability. The prodigal son, a parable given by Jesus, describes a boy who hit rock bottom after losing everything to frivolous and uncontrolled living. All throughout Scripture, we find that uncontrolled behaviors and addictions have been around since the fall of man.


You are not alone.


The apostle Paul, in a letter to a church in Corinth, Greece, wrote that everything we face is common and we have the power to overcome it through Jesus. The Message translation says, “no test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it” [I Corinthians 10:13].


Paul goes on to admit to having his own constant and recurring struggles. Like many of those who struggle with addiction, he begged God to remove it.


“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh . . . Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”


II Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)


The Bible is clear about finding help for addictions.


As we seek after God, we are motivated through the Spirit to remove sin and old destructive behaviors. Colossians 3:8-10 says, “But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”


We were never meant to fight our battles alone. One main purpose of the Church is for community. And part of that community is found in faith-based organizations like San Francisco Adult and Teen Challenge.


Others can help in your addiction.


We are called to bear our brother’s burdens. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2 (ESV)

Whether it’s a rehabilitation program or even consistent therapy and counseling, there is power in vulnerably sharing your struggles with those who are spiritually strong and can handle the weight. You can’t do this alone.


The Holy Spirit is our greatest helper.


“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Psalm 51:10-11 (ESV)

Addiction doesn’t have to be your identity. Remember, hope is a reality. Our organization is designed to equip you with appropriate resources, intentional structure and God-given purpose for freedom, so you can live life to the fullest.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you or a loved one suffer from addiction or life-controlling issues, San Francisco Adult & Teen Challenge may be an option for you. Call us today at 415-285-1353 for more information.

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