We are continuing our Foundations series, where we examine how our foundation of faith impacts the details of our living. If this devotional has had an impact on you, we would love for you to share it with your friends.
The Beginning of the End
For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. Romans 7:20
Addiction involves craving for something intensely, the loss of control, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure, and then, corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation. It really just hijacks the brain.
One never knows the depth and strength of addiction until it’s resisted. Here, in this verse, Paul describes his ongoing conflict between two natures raging on. He finds himself failing to do the good he wants to do and instead, doing the evil he deeply despises. He’s not making excuses or rejecting responsibility for the struggle, and neither should we. He’s honestly admitting his need to be delivered from indwelling struggle.
Two indicators of any addiction are the gradual loss of identity and the progressive violation of one’s own values. The struggle is in contradiction to His new nature. Anyone who’s battled for freedom from addiction has felt the turmoil within, of the lure of the craving, while feeling the presence of God’s way to life.
The universal warning sign of addictions is the recognition that I have begun to do what I will not to do. This recognition is the beginning of the awareness of powerlessness and can be used by God as the beginning of the end of the addiction.
It is human nature to want to be in complete control of our circumstances and our lives, but the fortunate people are those who come to a point in their lives when they realize this is not possible. It is important to let go of the things that cause us misery. The first step is to pray as David did, “Lord, my longings are in plain sight, . . . my heart’s about to break; . . . I’m a burned out case . . . but I wait for you my Lord, my answer.” Psalms 38:9. God knows our struggles and will give us the power to look to Him for help.
Find a quiet place, open your Bible to Psalm 38 and read the whole chapter out loud; use it as your prayer for the beginning of the end.