Dundalk is filled with the fear and the fact of addiction. Our church family has been touched more than once with the pain that comes from addiction to various practices and substances. But do you know what addiction is? At its root, every addiction is an issue of worship.

STOP! I did not say addicts are ungodly, problem people. They are no more so than everybody else in the world. In fact, what this little paper is saying is that EVERYBODY has an addiction problem at some level, because we all have a worship problem.

You see, worship is “worth-ship,” and exists on two levels: both as an activity and as an attitude. As an activity, worship is showing and telling God what He’s worth – that He is supremely valuable to you. (The two sides of that coin can be seen nicely in Hebrews 13:15-16) As an attitude, worship is thinking that, or feeling like, or behaving as though, a particular person or thing is supremely valuable to you. (Which is just to say that the actions have to flow from and reach back into the deepest corners of the heart.)

At root, then, addiction is an enslavement to worshiping some substance, or activity, or behavior – to treating it like it’s the most important thing in your life. Addiction is being held captive to the lying promises of a false god. That false god is something or someone that you keep believing is going to make you happy, even though you know good and well it won’t. But you love it so much – you worship it so completely – that you keep going back to it, hoping maybe this time its promises will turn out not to be lies. But they never do.

Still, the satisfaction that those lying promises so seductively hint of looks so sweet, so delicious, that you willingly believe what you know to be a lie. You’re hooked. When an addiction has sunk its talons most deeply into you, there’s no longer any satisfaction or even hope of satisfaction in the false god. All that’s left is the hope of some relief from the punishing pain that grips you whenever you go very long without worshiping at that sick altar. And this is true no matter whether we are talking about “physical” or “psychological” addiction. “Withdrawal” is a very real thing, sometimes so real it can kill you. Getting clean does take a detox experience, and sometimes that experience can be so violent it really does take medical supervision. And learning how to live after detox is something almost nobody can do alone. But in the end, staying clean does all come down to hope and faith and worship — like life itself.

Freedom is found in faith – believing the promises of God more than you believe the
promises of Whatever. It’s in seeing the sweetness of God’s smile as far more alluring than the saccharine of sin. How do you do that? Know God through Jesus, and keep knowing him better as you know his written Word, the Bible.

  • Pastor Chris