So what is an addiction? Mr. Webster says that an addiction is an "enthusiastic devotion", a "strong inclination", a "frequent indulgence."
Most people think of drugs and/or alcohol when someone uses the "addict" word. All of that is true, but what about our addictions to; food, work, reading, television, religion (more on that later), sex, pornography, shopping, collecting stuff, clothes, one's appearance, vehicles, boats, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, gossip, talking on the phone...you finish the list if you think it can be finished.
I see myself in here; some from the past and some from the present. Just because you and I are not alcoholics or haven't been arrested for drug use doesn't mean we're not addicted...to something. Most of us are addicted but either we are unaware or we ignore it because it's acceptable both in the church and by society at large.
As of 2007 only one state had an obesity rate less than 20%. The rest had obesity rates ranging from 20-30% with the highest rates in the deep south. Talking about obesity is about as popular as asking someone how much money they have in their bank accounts. It doesn't work to walk up to someone and ask, "Excuse me sir/madam; how much do you weigh?
I need some data on Adventists and pornography so everyone who secretly views porno online please raise their hand. Nope; that won't work either. Our addictions are mostly secret except in the eyes of God.
I guess I need to take some steps; maybe twelve of them. For alcoholics and drug addicts there is the Twelve Step program and to read it is like listening to a sermon. Here they are:
1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the Care of God as we understood Him.
4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him. praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts, and to practice these principles in all our efforts.
Try this experiment; substitute the word "sinner" for "addict" and think about it in terms of carrying the gospel to a sick and dying world.
All of us are sinners. Most of us are addicted...to something, and we could do a lot worse than to follow these twelve steps in Christ, just as His twelve disciples followed Him.
I have attended AA and NA meetings and a lot of them were more inspiring than many church services I've attended. One thing is certain: There is more palpable, perceivable love and caring in an NA or AA meeting than in many, many churches. Why else would Christ say what He does to the last church? the church of Laodicea; that they are neither hot nor cold but only lukewarm; enough so that it makes Him want to vomit them out of His mouth. [See Revelation 3:15, 16]
People who are addicted to religion are empty of spirituality and wear a thin cloak of religiosity. They look good but their hypocrisy makes them miserable. The essence of spirituality (which is greatly preferred to mere religion or religiosity) is actually very simple: 1. humility, 2. faith, 3. service to others.
Here is the challenge for the rest of our days: To be committed, enthusiastically devoted, and addicted to our Lord Jesus, the Christ.
Go share what you know.
God Bless. e.c.