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July 2012

 

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Away With Addictions
By Pastor Lew Pizzala

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. Psalm 73:25

Addictions come in all different sizes, shapes forms and colors. There are people addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, work, sex, and there are even some who are addicted to “perfection.” It comes in all forms. Even though these addictions may be ruining your health, wiping out your finances, destroying your marriage or causing you to fail in the employment world you are unable to curb the cravings that keep you in bondage! You know that you have an addiction when you can’t stop problem behavior. Addictions can be somewhat unpredictable, in that with some people they happen very fast, while with others they happen gradually and over a period of time but have this in common….no control! Addictions will basically present themselves in two forms:
The first is an addiction to substances. (ie. Alcohol, drugs, prescription pills, cigarettes, coffee, etc.)
The second is an addiction to activities. (ie. Gambling, eating, sex, exercise, shopping, etc.)

Addictions happen when a feeble attempt is made to fill up a hole in your life. This process reduces an addiction to nothing more than: “a failed search for spirituality.” When a person’s emotional needs aren’t met by maybe a wife whose husband never holds her hand, compliments the meal or helps her with her house work or a son who was never given approval by a dad it leaves them with an “emotional hole”. The problem is people try to fill that hole or emptiness with wrong things and because it is only Jesus that will truly fill and satisfy the hole it just gets deeper and deeper and the addiction gets stronger and stronger. A failed search for spirituality that leaves you looking for a new peak performance!
A “Peak performance” is the temporary feeling of euphoria or escapism you get when you indulge an addictive behavior. Nobody enjoys being down in the dumps, fearful or worried so addictive substances or behaviors are depended upon in order that a person can “alter their mood”. If you don’t fill this need for “peak performance” with the Lord as our text says your wrong behavior will become repetitious until you are mentally obsessed with that addiction. You will see yourself as “one” with that addiction to the point that you will either “defend” it or “deny” it to others.
If you stay in an addiction for any length of time, in which you keep repeating that “peak performance” something physical takes place in your body. Let’s say your addiction is alcohol and you have become dependant upon the bottle. As you keep indulging your dependency upon the bottle the nerve cells become less sensitive and responsive to repeated stimuli so that an increase of alcohol is required in order to produce a similar level of satisfaction. The longer the addiction continues the more bizarre the behavior becomes in an effort to stimulate those insensitive nerve cells. You need self control!
God’s answer to self control is “delighting in Him and “living for the eternal”! Look at 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 – “And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified”
You must deny yourselves of earthily pleasures because we know what awaits us in heaven? It was “for the joy set before Him, that Jesus endured the cross.” An athlete lives for the game. That’s why he disciplines his body; does his exercises, eats right and denies himself certain things that could disqualify him from the game. If you have a hard time with self control then read books about heaven, listen to worship songs about heaven, talk about heaven and think about heaven!

God is for you; your addictions are against you – self control will cast the vote to determine who wins over your life.
To destroy an addiction you must turn from created things to the creator himself. This is a hard thing for people who are sense driven or those who have “exaggerated emotions”! Sense driven people are much more aware of what they can see rather than what they cannot see. Creation can be seen, the Creator cannot be seen, so they look to events or substances to give them “peak performance.” And on the other hand, sense driven people respond to things they can touch, taste and handle. Both groups look to creation rather than Creator.
When “real salvation” is in your life it will be evident by a conversion that causes “old things to pass away and all things made new.” Real conversions are bent on ridding the land or their world of all the enemies of God. (including addictions). Sometimes it takes someone pointing out your addictions to clean up the land. Pushing them away may also be pushing away the Holy Spirit who may be speaking to you through those people to set you free. You will avoid being free when you refuse relationship with those God sends and instead hang out with those of like kind…the addicted! The Bible talks about “the blind leading the blind and they both fall into a ditch.” Your best friend in all of life is the person who will, with grace, speak the truth into your life. That’s the person who is most like Jesus, because Jesus is “full of grace and truth.” The “buddy system” only works in those who love you so much they will tell you what you need to hear, and not what you want to hear. Confess your addictions today, ask God for help and be free!
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