What Does The Bible Say About Addiction?
Any addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs, prescription medicines, pornography, gambling, cigarettes, or even food, is a form of idolatry. The first commandment is, “You shall not have any other gods before Me.” The second commandment is, “You shall not bow down to them or serve them” (Exodus 20). When a person is addicted, they bow down and serve that addiction as their god. It is a sin of idolatry.
They become a slave to it, and they are held in bondage. What does the bible say about addiction? Jesus said, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Adam had perfect liberty in the garden. He had the freedom to eat any tree in the garden that he pleased, but God warned him, “Don’t eat of that tree! That will bring you into bondage. That will bring you into death.” God didn’t tie him up in the corner of the garden, nor did God build a high wall around that tree.
He had the freedom to eat of it. But Adam exercised that freedom in such a way that led to death and bondage to sin and the flesh. Obeying the desires of the flesh rather than the Word of God made him a victim to his flesh. So many people are dying a slow death because their addiction has a hold on them, almost as if it were demonic, and the only thing that can free a person from this hold is the power of Jesus Christ.
“Jesus came to open the eyes of the blind, heal the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1). “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:30).
What Does The Bible Say About Addiction And Overcoming ?
An addict is mentally and physically dependent on something like alcohol or drugs. When an addict cuts off from his medication, he does not think, “It would be kind of fun to get high [under the effects of drugs] again.” His body and mind are screaming, “You have to get high again! You need your drug! It is not just people who get high that have an addiction problem. Jesus said, “Everyone who sins is a slave of sin” (John 8:34). Things like hatred or pride or lust or worry will hook you just as surely as crack cocaine [a drug].
When you use sin to meet your needs, you are not using sin; sin is using you. God does not want anybody to be a slave of an addiction. What does the bible say about addiction? The Bible has much to say about God’s plan and his power to free you from addiction’s slavery. Jesus said, “If the Son of Man [Jesus] sets you free, you will be free” (John 8:36).
What Does The Bible Say About Addiction? 10 Types
Addiction#1: ALCOHOL- Drinking alcohol has been debated within the church for years. Many Christians feel at liberty to drink wine, and to be frank, I cannot make an airtight scriptural case against it. However, Paul said, “All things are lawful for me,” but he declared, “I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). I feel that it is unwise to take anything into your system that can bring you under its power or “under the influence.” It alters a person’s thinking and thus their judgment.
In addition, alcohol has been proven to damage a person physically and mentally. The spirit has a thirst that can’t be satisfied with material or emotional things. Only a meaningful relationship with God can satisfy that yearning within. Sometimes people seek to drown this thirst with alcohol. Ironically, all they’re doing is creating a fuzzy mind so they won’t have to think about it.
But when they sober up, the thirst is still there. An alcoholic only creates new problems greater than the first by turning to the bottle.What does the bible say about addiction? If you turn your life over to Jesus, He will set you free from that which is destroying you. More than that, He’ll satisfy you; He’ll fill your thirsty soul. Be filled with the Spirit of God, and you will find that which your soul and spirit are longing after.
Though it may be lawful, I believe you’re better off not to drink or ingest anything that can bring you under its influence. Live a life that’s wholly consecrated and committed to God. The Bible says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1 KJV).
Addiction#2: DRUGS- The word “sorcery” stems from the root word pharmakeia, also translated as witchcraft. When we find sorcery or witchcraft in the Bible, it refers to using drugs for hallucinogenic or mind-altering purposes, like narcotics. God’s law strictly prohibits drug abuse because it will ultimately destroy you when you constantly misuse narcotics. Narcotics are very insidious. The first thing a narcotic will do is attack a person’s willpower to resist.
People can become hooked so quickly. Narcotic abuse then destroys good judgment and sensitivity to right and wrong, and people soon find themselves doing things they would have been appalled and shocked at before. One of the most devastating effects of drug abuse is becoming enslaved to drugs. Satan loves to take a person captive, holding them as a hostage against their will. Paul wrote to Timothy, “that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26).
What does the bible say about addiction? Satan does not fight pretty or by the rules. But thank God, Jesus Christ came to set at liberty those who were captive and open the prison doors to those who are bound. The power of Jesus Christ can break the hold that Satan has upon someone bound by drug addiction. “To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus” (Acts 26:18). That’s what the gospel is all about, freeing people from the power of darkness.
Addiction#3: FOOD- Jesus warns us concerning the last days before His return, that we should be careful not to be caught unaware or by surprise as the result of surfeiting, which is eating and drinking too much (Luke 12:45-46). Eating and drinking too much can cloud our judgment. Solomon warned, “It’ll bring you to poverty, son.” In the book of Leviticus, God gave extensive instructions to the children of Israel concerning what they could and could not eat. I don’t think we can load ourselves up with junk food and ask God to give us a healthy body.
That’s inconsistent. Don’t ask God to bless what you know isn’t good for you. Paul wrote, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). What a great bottom line principle this is! If we do not grasp anything else, God helps us to learn this truth. The purpose of our existence is to live for His glory.
Let this one question be uppermost in our minds whether or not we should or shouldn’t do something: Can I do it for the glory of God? Maybe you are in the bondage of surfeiting, which has a hold on your life. You can see it is destroying you, and you’re somehow unable to get free. What does the bible say about addiction? “All things are lawful for me,” Paul said, “but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12).
People often foolishly exercise their liberty in doing things that bring them into bondage. Don’t use your liberty as an occasion for the flesh because it’ll destroy you if you do. Surrender your life over to Jesus, and He will set you free from that which is killing you. More than that, He’ll satisfy your hungry and thirsty soul.
Addiction#4: FORNICATION- Fornication is having sexual relations outside of marriage. The world terms it “making love.” However, it’s not an act of love at all; it’s an act of lust. A person who entices someone else into the act of fornication is selfish since they are not considering the other person but only thinking about satisfying their desire. Fornication is a very unloving act, and it is only by Satan’s deception that a person would think of it as an act of love.
To the Christian who commits the sin of fornication, Paul writes, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!” (1 Corinthians 6:15).
What does the bible say about addiction? Jesus took it a step further, “You’ve heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28). Jesus looks at the heart—you’re guilty even if you haven’t committed fornication. If a person goes around lusting in his mind but never actually gives in, that man would be self-righteous.’
“I’ve never committed adultery. I’ve never committed fornication.” But in his heart, he has. Now, if he were to say, “Oh God, I have impure thoughts. God, I’m an unclean man.
Help me, God,” he then casts himself on the mercy of God. And in so doing, that man will attain the righteousness imputed to Jesus Christ by his faith to overcome those lustful thoughts and live a Christlike life.
Addiction#5: LUST- Lust can never be satisfied. It will always demand more. The only cure for lust is to starve it to death. If you feed it, it will go into a feeding frenzy and draw you deeper and deeper into it. The sin of lust began in the garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve.
So wouldn’t it have been better had God not placed the tree there, averting the temptation to lust? But then, how would God know you truly loved Him and wanted to obey Him unless you had a choice? Choices are necessary. Man was made in the image of God, self-governing, but there had to be something to choose from—something attractive and desirable. If it was ugly, bitter, or sour, all the temptation in the world couldn’t get you to choose it.
John summed it up, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). What does the bible say about addiction? If you are a child of God, you are called to live a life separated from the defilement of the things in the world. So, therefore, we are to separate ourselves from living after the lust of our flesh. We are not to be controlled, governed, or following after our fleshly desires.
If you fulfill the lust of your flesh, it is a one-way road.
You can’t retreat. Your flesh will always demand more and more and more. The Bible says, “Everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). God said, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). So we need to live a life of holiness and separation from the world.
Addiction#6: PORNOGRAPHY- When a person gives himself over to lust, he loses all sense of balance and decency and, as such, is a person who has given himself over to pornography. He has to keep going deeper and deeper into that realm to find a sense of satisfaction. But he’s never satisfied. It’s an appetite that doesn’t quit—until it has taken over and controls his life. He becomes enslaved and addicted.
But there is hope for the one who wants to be free from the addiction and slavery of pornography. Psalm 119:9-12 promises, “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Also, a healthy respect for God and the awareness that He is always with us helps us purify ourselves and live in such a way that we do not offend Him. It’s tragic to see a person who is given over to lust because their life becomes so unbalanced.
There’s no moderation at all. They go hog wild. But the tragic thing is that they never find a place of satisfaction. With this ugly scene in mind, the psalmist wrote, “And God gave them their request [or the lust of their heart], but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:15). And that’s always the tragic consequence of giving yourself over to pornography.
You suffer spiritually. You see, there is the world of the flesh, and there is the world of the spirit, and they are mutually exclusive in that no person can serve two masters. You’re either going to be mastered by your flesh or the Spirit. And these two are warring against each other. Paul said, “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things you wish” (Galatians 5:17).
What does the bible say about addiction? There is a battle going on for the control of your life. If you give yourself over to the flesh to be controlled by the flesh, then it brings you into the bondage of corruption. It brings you into this desire that cannot be satisfied but only grows. Paul, the apostle, said, “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” And you will find that there’s such a total satisfaction in walking in the Spirit.
The problem is that people will not make a genuine and honest commitment to God. They will either make provisions or compromise. But the only cure is to commit your life entirely to the things of the Spirit. And when you do, you’ll find that you can’t do two things. You cannot be walking after the Spirit and still living after the flesh.
Walking with the Spirit puts the flesh in its proper place and under control. Now, we still live in a fleshly body—and there are still those body appetites. But thank God they don’t rule me anymore. I’m not a slave to them, and they take their proper place. What does the bible say about addiction? God never intended that any of us should be a servant to our flesh, a slave to the desires of our flesh.
God intended that we should have victory over the flesh. And that victory comes when the spirit is supreme, and we’re walking with the Holy Spirit. There you do not fulfill the desires of your flesh. You live a rich and whole life, and you’re free from those things that were destroying you.
Addiction#7: LOVE OF MONEY- There’s nothing wrong with money. It’s a means by which we exchange commodities and goods. The Bible doesn’t say that money is evil––it says “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). If getting rich is the most important thing to you, and you are obsessed with wanting to get more and more money or possessions—that’s when it becomes evil. When your love for money exceeds your love for the true and the living God, you are worshiping the god mammon, and you will then find yourself “straying from the faith in greediness, and pierced through with many sorrows.”
What does the bible say about addiction? There were many people in the Bible whom God blessed with great riches, but when their wealth became more important than God, it became sinful. Such was the case for the young man written about in Matthew 19:20-22. His riches stood in the way of his following Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Riches are not wrong in and of themselves. But if your material wealth is a master over your life, and you are ruled by it, and it has precedence over your relationship with God, then that is wrong. That’s the essence; that’s the heart of it. Do you want eternal life? Follow Jesus.
Addiction#8: ANGER- Are you quick-tempered or quick to “fly off the handle” when something doesn’t go right? The only thing some people will know about Jesus Christ is what they see in you. How do you represent Jesus? Do you represent Him by being upset, mad, or angry over minor annoyances? The only way we can be His representative is through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We can spend our lives thinking about all of the things that make us upset, or we can spend our lives thinking of God’s lovingkindness, goodness, mercy, and grace—and extending that to others. Proverbs 19:11 reads, “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression.” It’s the discretion of a man to put off his anger, and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
What does the bible say about addiction? Love covers a multitude of sins. Don’t respond or react in anger to a situation. Defer that action until your anger has subsided. Then, many times, once it’s subsided, you’ll say, “Well, what difference does it make? Nobody was hurt.” This is a good rule for driving the freeways.
Overlook someone’s transgression rather than get frustrated and stew over the matter. The next time something upsets you, don’t react. Instead, I would urge you to count your blessings and be thankful for what God has done. And then let your heart rejoice in His goodness. A hot temper is like the sea wave that has no rest, driven by the winds of passion.
It is like a volcano waiting to erupt. So often, a person will try to strategize a bad temper by saying, “Well, I’ve learned to count to ten before I react.” They try to figure out how to keep from losing their temper, but then they lose control and say horrible, ugly things. And then they hate themselves for doing it. And yet when faced with a provocation again, they explode.
God has a better way. The person who has yielded his life to follow Jesus Christ is at peace with the circumstances of his life. He has more remarkable patience; he is more gentle. There is temperance knowing that God rules one’s life.
As a person sees God working through their anger, it’s like they can’t believe it. It’s inspiring to see God doing this work within a person what they could not do for themselves. It’s God’s work; it’s His battle. Give your hot temper over to God and let the Holy Spirit help you overcome your anger.
Addiction#9: SMOKING- “As a Christian, can I smoke cigarettes? I find that it just sort of calms me down.” Let me ask you this: Can it get a hold on your life so that you’ve just got to have another one? Is that calming you down? God never intended that man should be ruled by his flesh; God intended that the Spirit should lead you. These things will hinder your progress as you walk with the Lord.
You’re a born-again Christian—so why does it seem impossible to stop smoking? Second, Timothy 3:5 says, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power.” ” That is an accurate description of much of the church today. They observe rituals by going to church every Sunday and have a form of godliness, but they lack power. Jesus said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
What does the bible say about addiction? When you come to Christ and understand the cross, you realize not only was Jesus crucified for your sins but you are crucified with Christ. I no longer am held by the power of sin, but I am dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ. Sin no longer rules over me. So this is the principle: As a believer, I am now crucified with Christ. I have reckoned my old life and nature to be dead.
Now, that doesn’t mean I completely lose the desires of the flesh, but they no longer rule over me. I no longer have to obey them. I’m no longer a slave to my fleshly desires, but I’m a slave of Jesus Christ. My passion is to obey Him and to please Him. And because of this, I can overcome sin through Him.
God has given us pure air with oxygen to breathe. But when you breathe in chemical substances, such as nicotine, it will affect your brain and give an altered state of consciousness. It will give you a feeling of euphoria or excitement. But the truth is, that isn’t why God created your breathing. By smoking cigarettes or anything else, you twist the use that God had initially intended.
And what happens? You soon become addicted, and then you become enslaved. Now your body is ruling over you. You’re no longer in control. What does the bible say about addiction? God never intended that man should be ruled by his flesh; God intended that the Spirit should lead you.
Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12). The book of Hebrews says, “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).
And so we need to deny those things that would hinder us that stand in the way of following Jesus. We need to use wisdom in the exercise of our liberty in Christ. Don’t use your liberty as an occasion for the flesh because it’ll bring you into bondage if you do.
Addiction#10: GAMBLING- Gambling has an addictive capacity. A man can find himself under the dominion of this addiction and its power so quickly. A person involved in sinful practices, such as gambling, yields himself as a servant unto sin. What does the bible say about addiction? The Bible says, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves, slaves, to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16).
A person who has a gambling addiction is a servant of Satan. The moment he gives himself over to this sin, he comes under the power of Satan. And once he is under Satan’s power, he will not let go. The power of Satan is greater than a man’s power to resist.
Only Jesus Christ can free a man from sin. The psalmist wisely prayed, “Lord, do not let any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 19:13). If there is anything that has the capacity of bringing you under its influence or its power, it is wise to exercise your liberty to avoid it.