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What Does the Bible Say About Addiction?
While the Bible may not specifically use the word “addiction,” that doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of biblical wisdom on addiction and related topics. Just as wine and other addictive substances have existed almost since the dawn of time, so has the human tendency to seek idols and ways of worshipping and depending upon any number of people, items or substances that aren’t God.
Addiction as Idolatry
God, when He put down the Ten Commandments, declared that, above all, we should have no gods before Him. Yet God’s people quickly diverted their trust and dependence away from God and onto false idols—to their great detriment.
And we do the same. Rather than asking God to guide us through the challenges and trials of life, we often reach out for a substance or anything that can get us high or distract us from reality. Yes, life in this world is hard, but God intended that in the trial we would worship and trust Him, not drugs, alcohol or other addictive coping mechanisms.
Which Scripture says addiction is idolatry? Again, the Bible does not always draw an explicit connection between the words “idolatry” and “addiction,” but the meaning and intent is there. When we take God’s Word in full, we see the kind of God He is and the intentions He has for the humans that He has lovingly created.
We often look at our ancestors of many generations past and see how God was angered by their worship of false gods of gold, silver or wood. We’re tempted to laugh at this, wondering how anyone could worship these inert objects. Yet we have our own idols: food, drink, drugs, porn, sex or the Internet. When we are honest about our own temptation and desires, we see that our modern idols are not so different from the idols of the past. Either way, we are worshipping and giving our lives to something that is not God and cannot save. In the end it is slavery.
Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. Galatians 4:8
Addiction as a Lack of Wisdom
Addiction not only takes us away from God, but also shows a lack of wisdom and character. The book of Proverbs speaks frequently of the snare that drunkenness can be. The Bible does not prohibit alcohol, but it does prohibit the kind of drunkenness that leads to sin and the bondage of addiction.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. Proverbs 20:1
Addiction and Temptation
The Bible demonstrates that temptation is a natural part of life. We need not worry that we are experiencing some sort of insurmountable circumstance. There will be temptation, but there will also be the power that overcomes for those who cling to God.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13
Addiction and the Christian Life
To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6
If addiction is compromising your walk with God, don’t delay in getting the help you need. Your faith is too valuable to lose it to false gods like drugs or alcohol. Christian drug rehab or alcohol treatment can be your chance to recover and live the abundant life God has for you in Christ.