Christians and Addiction

From Grace to Victory

By Barry Huddleston

There isn't any sin that wasn't settled at the cross. And when a person comes to Jesus and realizes just how perfect the sacrifice of Jesus was in showing us how much God loves us and how completely forgiven we are, then God sets us on a path of freedom from all our fears, guilt, and addictions. As you take your eyes off yourself you will begin to see that Jesus is the end of all your struggles. This is because God's perfect love is the answer to overcoming the addiction in your life. But the devil is doing everything he can to alienate and cut you off from this love.

Let me just say that the emphasis of the new covenant of grace, that Jesus gave us, is about God's love for you. And when you know and believe how abundantly God loves and has forgiven you, you will end up loving God, and then your addictions will fall away. But the key is to occupy your mind with Jesus. You see the more forgiveness-conscious you are, the more easily you will experience freedom from every form of addiction and destructive habit. Your new life in Jesus, who is within you, will push out the addiction, but you must get into His Word and feed on Jesus' forgiveness and the fact that you are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). Fellowship — hang out with other believers who are putting Jesus first in their lives and have a sincere desire to serve the Savior.

You need not be defeated by anything unless you consent to be. Jesus says in John 16:33, "In the world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Every enemy you face is a defeated one. Nothing can touch you that hasn't touched Jesus and that hasn't been defeated by Him, and if you open your life to His power and love every sin can be defeated again by and through His grace.

Each time we fall into sin, God wants us to remember the cross and say, "Lord Jesus, you were sentenced for this sin I committed. You bore the judgment, so God will not judge me for this sin. You were condemned for this sin, so God will not condemn me for it." If you don't look to the cross, you will become your own judge and condemn yourself because of your sin-consciousness. Expecting judgment for the addiction will give the devil a chance to get you thinking that God has something against you because of your sin. You must come to the place where you know and believe that all your sins are forgiven, that there is no sin that will ever disqualify you from God's blessings — there is no sin that will ever send you to hell — because you are forgiven and saved eternally. Hebrews 10:17 tells us that God will remember our sins no more. God did remember all our sins 2000 years ago at the cross. Every sin which we have committed or will commit has been punished to the full in the body of Jesus Christ at the cross. That is why today God remembers our sins no more. We should, therefore, not be focused on the power and bondage of sin.

The blood of Jesus shed at the cross has redeemed you from all curses, including the curse of serving sin. Because you belong to Jesus, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:2-9; 2 Corinthians 5:15, 17).

It takes God's grace to destroy sin and when you are under His grace then sin has no dominion over you (Romans 6:14). It is Jesus' life that brings victory over the devil and all his works and He put that life in you — the life of Christ is in you! When Jesus went to the cross He put an end to everything that was natural of the Adamic race. Jesus took the power of sin and replaced it with the Holy Spirit that indwells you (John 16:7), so that you will live life with His Spirit in you and walk in His overcoming power. Romans 6:6-11 says:
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider ourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
The Bible says that we overcome the devil, the accuser of our brethren, by the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 12:11). First John 1:7 says, "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." Some Christians that are involved in addictive behavior (sin) would rather hold on to their past and condemn themselves instead of claiming the truth that Jesus' blood continuously cleanses them and releases the power and salvation of God into that situation.

God will change your heart, and as you get into the Word of God He will also change your mind. Watch what you are thinking about. The ancestor of every action is a thought. Saturate yourself with the Word of God. Go to a good Bible-believing church on a regular basis that has a recovery group. Don't put yourself close to the fire and then wonder why you are burnt. We all have straw tails. One last thought; You can get rid of one desire only by a higher desire. Let the love of Christ be the fire that eats up these lesser loves. The love of Christ must be at the center.

Romans 12:2 says, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect." The mind is the key. The renewed mind can renew your nature. The mind decides what shall or shall not be the nature of your nature. A lot of Christians refuse to settle down in God and have a quiet time, but instead they keep their troubles and thoughts in their own hands and are frustrated. There can never be complete peace unless that peace rests ultimately in the love and goodness of God. The only way to escape from yourself is to make God and His will the center of your consciousness and your life plans. I'll explain how this is done in a minute.

Someone once said, "The battle of life is for your mind: the battle of the mind is for focus." Sin begins in the mind and if we nourish it we eventually commit the act. It does matter what we think about, and in 1 Corinthians 3 it is pretty clear that it is possible for a Christian to have a carnal mind. As Christians we are told that a holy life begins with a holy mind. And, just as thinking about Jesus and His finished work on the cross brings about blessings and peace, negative thoughts can bring about negative consequences in our lives. That is why in Second Corinthians 10:4-5 we are told, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations (thoughts), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

The strongholds are addictive thoughts in your mind that feed the imagination. The devil plays mind games with us. He puts these thoughts or lies in your mind and says, "You're not really saved, saved people don't think about things like that." Or, he may put a thought in your mind that you're not really forgiven, that you don't have eternal life, or even that God is angry with you for having such thoughts. Satan even uses the trick that destroys our identity in Christ by calling us stupid, ignorant, or not holy and righteous as Jesus has declared us to be. He is definitely trying to pull you away from God by getting you focused on toxic obsessive thoughts.

Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart (mind) above all else, for it determines the course of your life." In other words watch what mental movies you are playing in your mind.

Many Christians struggle with the consequences of addiction. I believe that the reason they are not growing and remain defeated is because they have never made the shift form self-occupation to Christ occupation. They are defeated because of a lack of knowledge of God's grace and because they do not understand what the finished work of the cross means to them.

I'm going to give you some facts from the Scriptures you need to know, and then five things to help overcome addiction. But understand that God's wants you to be established in His grace, anchored in His love, and secure in His mercy toward you. And as you begin to realize how much God loves you and the price Jesus paid for your deliverance, like the woman at the well, you will go and sin no more.

1. As long as we are in this physical body the flesh is active in us. Your life will go in the direction of your most dominant thought. The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. For a period of time you will have to completely saturate your mind with the Word of God, scripture memory, praise and worship, Bible study, witnessing, prayer and fellowship. Romans 7:18-19 is a struggle we all face when we are occupied with ourselves and fighting with the flesh within us. Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13

2. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. Romans 8:3 says you are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God has placed His robe of righteousness on your shoulders to let you know that you are loved and accepted in His sight. You have received His gift of no condemnation because the blood of Jesus has set you free from sin and death. You are forgiven and no longer a captive of sin. It has no power over you. But what you can tolerate you will never change, and complaining about what you permit will only continue to depress you. This addiction is not who you are, it is not what God sees, it is what Satan wants to use to keep you from growing in grace and being useful to God.

3. All the negative and obsessive thoughts and even the toxic emotions from your flesh have already been judged and punished at the cross. Jesus took all condemnation and now intercedes for you at the Father's right hand.

4. You can experience victory over the flesh through the power of the cross. The Christian life is a battle. It's warfare with an enemy that has control over this world and the flesh. So you must simply learn to fight. Memorize Psalm 119, verses 9, 11. The fact that you are struggling is the proof you have not yet been conquered. But you can't do it on your own. Only Jesus can deliver us from this body of death. Romans 7:24, 25.

5. Set your mind on Christ. In Romans 8:1 we find that we can live in the domain of no condemnation and victory instead of the domain of constant struggle and defeat when we make the shift from self-occupation to Christ-occupation. You see, grace gives you freedom from addictions and the torment of guilt. The more you experience the love and grace of your heavenly Father, the more you will fall in love with Him and out of love with sin.

Here is an acrostic with the word FLESH to help you to have victory in Jesus:
Focus on the cross. Find a church that preaches grace.
Listen and learn from the Word, sermons, and CD's about Jesus
Enter into worship and praise every day. The act of worship unleashes God's power and love into every area of your life. Your belief in Jesus and worship activates God's power to save you in every situation. This is what God created us to do.
Speak your true identity every day. You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Help others to grow in their Christian faith and to understand their power as believers in Christ.

And now, "Go and sin no more."

Published 4-29-15