The Gospel Can Defeat Addiction!
By Alan Wright — February 21, 2019
Addiction is deep rooted, complex, and certain to destroy; but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ there is the power of God unto freedom.
Today’s Text: “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15, ESV)
In C.S. Lewis’ opening Narnia chronicle, a white witch has placed a spell on the kingdom causing it always to be winter but never Christmas. The skeptical, braggadocios, bratty Edmund not only stumbled into Narnia but also into the white witch herself. When the witch realized that Edmund was a human (of which many ancient prophecies had been told), she sought to pry information from the lad. She spoke to him ever so kindly: You look so cold there standing in the snow. Why don’t you come up here in my sleigh?
The naïve brat climbed into the sleigh, and she put her fur mantle around him. Wouldn’t you want something hot to drink? she asked, and Edmund said he would very much like that. The witch poured a drop of magic potion into the snow and in a moment there was a beautiful, shimmering cup of hot, foamy, creamy drink. The witch further lured in the boy: “It is dull, Son of Adam, to drink without eating. What would you like best to eat?”
“Turkish Delight, please, your Majesty,” said Edmund.
And so the queen let another drop of the magic potion fall into the snow and there appeared a round box, beautifully decorated, filled with the most delicious treat that Edmund had ever eaten. Every piece was sweet, all the way to the very core.
Once he’d tasted the Turkish Delight, all he could think of was having more. Leveraging the lad’s love of the treat, she convinced him to bring his siblings to her. Folly, betrayal and destruction became the fruit of Edmund’s obsession with Turkish Delight. In the end, of course, the witch fulfilled no promise to the boy – she only used him.
What a clever picture of addiction.
Here’s how I define it: Addiction is a preoccupation that enslaves a person by misdirecting his or her desire for God to a desire for lesser things. At the root of most addiction is deep-seated shame – a lie from hell that tells me I don’t measure up and, therefore, the pressure is on me to make myself acceptable. Desperate to escape the gnawing anxiety that accompanies shame, addictive persons are drawn to anything that momentarily relieves the weighty cloud of shame. The Gospel heals addiction by healing shame. Simply put, when you discover grace, you discover acceptance. When you discover acceptance, addictive forces lighten and freedom is at hand. And that’s the Gospel!