Sin Addiction

Sin Addiction

What are some of the more common addictions? Alcohol, Anger, Drugs (illegal and prescription), Food, Gambling, Gaming, Gossiping, Hobbies, Internet, Lying, Nicotine, Pornography, Power, Self-pity, Sex, Sin, Sleeping pills, Sports, Stealing, Swearing, Television, and Work.

We all are or have been addicted, and most of us with several addictions. None of us therefore can be aloof, judgmental, and without compassion for those plagued by the more obvious addictions just because ours happen to be of the more secret kind or even legal.

Nice names for addictions are controlling habits or “pet sins”. They are difficult to break. We want to change, we are convicted that we need to change, but we seem to be caught in a cycle of giving in to temptation, to guilt, to promises not to do it again, to doing it again. These are the sins in our life that we ask God to forgive and then go right back to them again for some reason. Once we have allowed a sin to control us, it breaks us down to the point where we don’t even try to resist, because we feel like we can’t break free. The attitude becomes…Why should I try to quit, I always go back to doing it again. That is an addiction. These sins separate and distance our relationship with God. No, we don’t lose our salvation, but the joy we once had in Christ is not there. We grieve the Holy Spirit. Paul understood the sin cycle and the addictive nature of sin.

Romans 7:15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Have you ever been caught in the sin cycle? Just one more drink; just one more bite; one more drag; just one more look on the internet; or this bet will win; it’s just a simple shopping trip; it’s the last time I’ll do this. And before we know it, we are caught in a temptation brought on by sin. We repeat things over and over again hoping for; longing for; or even expecting a different result. How do we break this sin cycle and this sin addiction?

First, we must recognize a principle of Truth: Sin will function at its highest efficiency when it operates in isolation or secrecy.

We falsely believe that we can manage sin better by covering it up or tackling it on our own. We do not want the sin to be discovered because then we will be seen as less spiritual. So we hide it. We cover it up.

But the reality is this: Sin that is covered up and self-managed will quickly grow. Freedom from the sin addiction cannot come through individual effort alone. Why?--because sin functions at its highest efficiency when it operates in isolation or secrecy.

 

In the sin addiction, we believe we can cover our sin and not hurt anyone else. However, sin is NEVER a private matter. It ALWAYS has an impact on other people. Everyone around us is affected by the sin in our life, because it affects our personality and actions. Hidden sin will always have more impact than we imagine.

There is one other lie that we believe in the sin addiction: No one has to know. When we think we have covered it up; when we think we have limited the scope of the damage; when we think we have gotten away with it and buried it; the truth is this: Sin cannot be hidden from God.

David thought he could cover up his sin of adultery by having Bathsheba’s husband killed and taking her for his wife. But God saw everything David did and the motive of his heart.

2 Samuel 11:27 After the time of mourning was over, David had her brought to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.

What happens next shows God’s love and mercy and the way to break the sin addiction.

2 Samuel 12:1-13 The LORD sent Nathan to David…

Nathan exposes David’s sin to the light. He makes David personally accountable for his actions. This is the first step in breaking the sin addiction. Before healing can take place, our sin must be confessed and exposed to the Light. We have to stop trying to hide our sin. I say it again: Sin operates at its highest efficiency when it operates in isolation and secrecy. That’s why this step is often the most difficult, because sin hates to be exposed.

John 3:19-21 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."

If we have habitual sin in our lives, it must be exposed to the Light. Without taking this painful first step, we cannot begin to break the addictive sin cycle and insanity of repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

Secondly, we must intentionally look at God’s blessings in our lives. Sin is focused on our desires and what we DON’T have. God wants us to see what we do have and be thankful. God told David to look at what he had: Safety from Saul; the kingdom; wives; a palace. If David had considered all he had and given God thanks and praise, he wouldn’t have been focused on what he didn’t have.

Phil 4:6-8 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.

If you have a sin addiction, expose it, and list the blessings that God has given you and thank Him for them. These two steps will change your thoughts and perspective. From this perspective, we will see sin for what it really is.

And that is the third step out of the sin cycle: Call sin what it really is – sin. Call it by its real name. God doesn’t give sin a politically correct name. “You, David, are a murderer, you committed adultery, and stole someone else’s wife to be your own.”

Folks, call it what God calls it. It’s not an affair; it’s adultery. Men, it’s not enjoying some harmless pornography; it’s full blown lust. Women, it is not attractive and cute; it’s sensual and immodest. It’s not having too many drinks; it’s drunkenness. Abortion not a choice, it’s murder. It’s not borrowing; it’s stealing. It’s not living together, it’s fornication. It’s not a gay lifestyle, it’s homosexuality, it’s sodomy, it’s perverted, and it’s evil! These things will send you to Hell!

Yes, sin brings terrible consequences regardless of what name we call it or how we rationalize it! To get free from the addictive sin, we must confess our sin and call it what God calls it.

So we have to confess and expose our sin to the Light. That will remove its efficiency. We need to count our blessings. We have to call sin what it really is, sin. It’s ugly and hideous. And we must admit we are too weak to overcome it on our own. We have tried and tried to quit, but we keep getting the same result. So we are to confess our sin to God—and to one another—that we may be healed.

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

When David’s sin is exposed to the light and he confesses his sin as sin. Then, Nathan replies, “The LORD has taken away your sin. There will be consequences, but you are not going to die.”

Likewise, this is the deliverance from sin and the salvation that Jesus Christ wants to accomplish in us.

Jeremiah 2:13 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Jesus is the spring of living water. He is the only source of life, refreshment, and nourishment for us. He is always fresh and new, like a spring. To “drink” of Christ is to receive life from His Spirit and be satisfied! This is what He told the Samaritan woman at the well.

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

If we have been trying to find satisfaction in life through anything or anyone besides Jesus Christ, we will always come away thirsty and unsatisfied.

Therefore, replace that sin (the sewer water) with things of Jesus (pure water). That means, whatever that addictive sin we have quit a thousand times and kept going back to, it must be dropped off at the feet of Jesus and left there. Sinful habits are formed through willful behavior. Godly habits can also be formed through willful behavior, but not in isolation or secrecy.

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

In terms of war, a sin addiction is like a stronghold, a territory that the enemy already occupies and controls. Sin will function at its highest efficiency when it operates in isolation or secrecy. This is why the stronghold must be correctly named and exposed. Everything starts with confession, admitting we are guilty and accepting the responsibility that we have a problem. Then we can fight with the power of the Spirit and with the prayers of other’s to recapture that territory in our lives for the glory of Christ.

Many people are in a state of denial, they never admit they have a problem, therefore they never break free. Alcoholics, who never admit they are alcoholics, won’t find freedom. People filled with anger, who won’t admit they have a problem, won’t get freedom. The first step toward deliverance and freedom is recognizing we are bound and admitting we have a problem.

1John 1:9 “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

After confession, depend on God’s power to combat sin addictions. Continue to have a brother or sister to pray for you. When it comes to being set free from sin that binds, Jesus can do more in a moment than doctors can do in a lifetime. Charles Spurgeon said, “There is no form of sinfulness to which you are addicted which Christ cannot remove.”

Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Therefore, start your days off with Christ, and as you follow Him, He will show you a way out of every temptation.

The more we humble ourselves and allow Jesus to be Lord of our life, the more we will see Him working in us.

James 4:6-10 But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

Sinful habits must be replaced by good ones. The Word encourages us to throw away our old way of living and move ahead into our new life of faith in Jesus Christ and obedience to God. Therefore, set your mind on things above instead of the things of the flesh.

Colossians 3:1-8 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

To do this, we need each other’s help to stay focused on Jesus. God says it is absolutely essential for our recovery or healing. Healing begins when we admit our faults to God and to one another. We can put our sinful nature to death by becoming accountable to one another.

In a way, the Christian life is like an AA or NA meeting. We meet daily with Christ, we have His power, we share with others, and the Church (which is made up of sinners in recovery from sin) supports us and provides accountability.

Still we resist confession and ask, “Why do I need to drag another person into this?” We surmise, “If they really knew the truth about me, they would shun me. Why can’t I just admit it to God?” Because the root of our problem is pride and unaccountability, and sin will function at its highest efficiency when it operates in isolation or secrecy.

Part of the sin addiction behavior is: We lie to each other; we deceive each other; we’re dishonest with each other; we wear masks; we pretend we have it together. We deny our true feelings, and we play games. This, too, is sin, and we must repent of this pride and falsehood. Only with humility, do we have grace to repent, to love one another, and to help each other.

Galatians 6:2 Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

If we are seriously an ambassador for Christ, we find it is a joy and an honor to bear one another’s burdens, to be trusted to pray.

If we are a sin addict, the amazing thing is when we risk honesty with someone, all of a sudden, this feeling of freedom comes into our life. We are no longer alone. We realize that everybody has addictions and often they have the same ones we have.

To overcome our sin addiction, we must get God’s strength one day at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow’s temptation. We did not get the sinful habit overnight, so we form new habits one day at a time. Any victory, no matter how minor, thank God for it. Confess each defeat, don’t isolate yourself, refocus, and get victory one day at a time.

The desire to sin will never leave us until Jesus comes. The enemy will continue to entice the lusts of our flesh. However, we have everything we need to live godly lives in this evil day. We have the Blood of Christ to cover our sin after we have exposed it and confessed it. We have power of the Holy Spirit to rebuke the tempter and cause him to leave. We have grace to flee temptation and focus on Jesus instead of our lusts. We have each other to help us be accountable to the Lord and to pray for us. And, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

If you need to confess a sinful habit to someone, Kathy or I would be honored to pray with you privately. Maybe there is someone else you trust—a spouse, a relative, or a friend, who will pray for you and hold you accountable. One word of caution: your confidant, with whom you share intimately, must be someone of the same sex, unless it is your spouse. Don’t delay setting up an appointment with that person or a giving them a phone call. You don’t have to suffer in silence or alone anymore. Jesus wants to set you free.

Sin addictions are serious matters; and overcoming them is serious business. Jesus alone has the power to break addictions and cleanse us of sin. To overcome sin addictions, one must be willing to take whatever steps are necessary to repair all the collateral damage caused by the sin addiction according to the Word of God. Therefore, you may need to confess your sin to those you have hurt and make restitution if possible.

Are you suffering from a sin addiction? If so, ask God for grace to repent and take the necessary steps to be delivered in your outline.

If you have never made Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior, publicly confess Him as the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the cross. Then die to your old life by being baptized. You will be born again of the Holy Spirit, who will empower you to overcome sin and teach you how to follow Jesus.

   April 2019   
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