Addictive substances and habits have always existed, and people have fallen into their traps, Christians included. The Bible mentions, several times, yielding to sinful behaviors and temptations, and that’s what exactly addiction is, and typically many addicts are always left feeling powerless and alone. So, what does the Bible say about addiction?
The Bible provides numerous verses that offer insight, guidance, and encouragement to people struggling with addiction and trying to embark on the recovery journey. Regardless of the root of the addiction, the Bible, in 2nd Timothy 1:7, implies that an addict can overcome the illness and recover. The Bible also encourages people to run to God for help during difficult times in Psalm 50:15, and He will deliver them.
If you’re struggling with an addiction or anyone you know is, this post is meant to encourage you and guide you by revealing what the Bible, the church, and God say about addictions. So, how does God deal with addiction? How does the church view addiction? How can Christians overcome addiction? What Bible verses talk about addiction? To answer all the questions and learn much more, keep reading.
How does God deal with addiction?
God is loving, compassionate, and caring to those suffering from addictions. While the disease might make the addict feel worthless and unloved, God still loves and cares for them, as the Bible suggests. The Bible also implies that God sees past the mistakes and faults of His children and is ready to forgive and heal when you run to Him for help. In Psalm 46:1, the Bible suggests that God provides strength and healing to everyone, including addicts, and He is always present during difficult moments to help and guide them.
According to the Bible and many preachers, God does not expect anyone to be perfect and sinless. He is aware that we face temptations and yield to them at times, but He is always ready to forgive and heal us. In James 1:2-4, the Bible suggests that during trying times, like fighting addictions, believers should be confident and strong as this is the time when their faith is tested, and they have the opportunity to mature and grow in their faith.
According to theologians, God does not promise a smooth path without any temptations, but He promises to guide and protect you during those dark hours. This is also implied in 2nd Corinthians 12:7, Psalm 91:1-2, and John 15:4-5.
How does the church view addiction?
The church views addiction as a sin, but a sin that God can forgive. The church is clear, however, that addicts of any kind, including alcohol addicts, cannot be leaders in the church. This belief is supported by several Bible scriptures that imply the same, like Titus 1:7, Titus 2:3, 1st Timothy 3:3, and 1st Timothy 3:8. This does not apply to alcohol addiction only; it also applies to pornography addiction, gluttony, tobacco addiction, and gambling, to name a few. It is crucial to note that although the church doesn’t allow addicts to lead, it is still compassionate and welcoming of them into the community and willing to help them recover.
The church also condemns addictions to habits like shopping, sports, or even work. Being obsessed with anything else that isn’t God is considered a sin in the church. The Bible also considers this a sin, as Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37-38 suggest. The church views anything that draws your attention away from God and His kingdom as a sin and is considered idolatry. According to the Bible, God is also displeased with addictions, but it is clear that He still forgives if the addict goes to Him for forgiveness and help.
How can Christians overcome addiction?
A crucial step to overcoming addiction is first admitting you are an addict. Admitting is the first step to accepting God’s forgiveness and the church’s support. Proverbs 28:13 encourages Christians to put their pride aside, and they’ll be closer to God, receiving the help they need.
Another important thing a Christian can do to overcome addiction, according to the Bible and theologians, is to pray, confess, repent, and read the Word. Inviting Christ into one’s life through prayer is one of the best ways to deal with addiction. Christians are encouraged to pray regularly, especially during such difficult times, as Philippians 4:6-7 suggests. As the Bible suggests, the weight of addiction lightens when one cultivates a relationship with God.
Also, to overcome addiction, Christians can join with other believers to help them recover. As the Bible suggests in Matthew 18:20, a community in Christ is stronger and can overcome anything, including addiction. Christians are encouraged in 1 Peter 1:3 that they can overcome tribulations, including addiction. God can use people in one’s life to bring healing; therefore, any Christian struggling with addiction can benefit from a community of other believers. Besides other believers, one should seek the help of addiction professionals.
Lastly, to overcome addiction, a Christian should avoid the company of those who trigger or enable the addictive behavior and set boundaries with them. Building a relationship with Christ, as discussed in the second paragraph, also means letting go of the old life and starting a new one.
What Bible verses talk about addiction and recovery?
As mentioned earlier, the Bible provides numerous Scriptures that will encourage and direct anyone struggling with addiction to recovery. Some of the verses are directly quoted below;
Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in this present age.” This verse implies that everyone, including addicts, has been offered salvation through the grace of God and encourages believers to be self-controlled but not self-dependent and not give in to worldly desires.
James 1:12-15 says, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone, but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” This scripture encourages those struggling with addiction to persevere as God has promised to help them. This verse also informs believers that the temptations they face, including addiction, are not from God but from humans’ evil desires.
1st Peter 5:10 says, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” This Bible verse also encourages those on their recovery journey to stay strong, implying that God will reward them and restore their strength and hope.
Romans 5:3-5 which says, “ Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The scripture encourages addicts to persevere, suggesting they’ll mature in faith and grow spiritually during their healing process.
Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” This verse uplifts those struggling with addiction, implying that they can overcome it through Christ.
1st Corinthians 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” This scripture implies that God will always provide any addict with the strength they need to endure and defeat the addiction.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.