I know that few like to admit this, but Christians often struggle with addiction issues.

I know that few like to admit this, but Christians often struggle with addiction issues. Much can be said about this but I would simply like to outline a basic framework that can provide guidance for every day living for those believers who also happen to be addicted to something. You could say that this is the daily list of priorities for disciples who are addicts.

1. Faithfulness

Faithfulness has to be the first priority because it is the necessary state that guarantees eternal life and access to the Holy Spirit's power to resist the corrupting influence of the world, as well as insight into the mind of God that reveals His will and on going purpose for your life.

2. Sobriety

For whatever reason, addiction has become the element that defines your life here on earth. Some have natural genius, others wealth, others still may have amazing "Outlier" opportunities that have set them apart from society (e.g. Bill Gates, Tiger Woods etc.).

Other people are born blind, poor, in countries that have been at war, and these conditions define the kind of life that they have.

Then there are those whose greatest achievement and testing comes from a lifelong struggle with addiction. There are no medals or cash rewards, only the knowledge that you have been placed in a lifelong war for the control of your sobriety.
This takes priority over any other achievement or career path. This is why it is number two on the priority list.

Without recognizing that this will be the cross that you have to bear, (no matter how or when or whose fault it is..it just is), you will not be able to achieve any of the the other objectives in the remaining life priorities unless you actively pursue this one.
Without sobriety nothing else will be realized!

3. Family

Having and nurturing a family is the God given purpose of every person on earth. It is why we are here. To marry, have children, establish a home and a legacy are the things that we have been given to do by God while we are here on this earth.

It is the activity that best suits our human nature and the society we live in.

4. Career

Our work not only supports our families, it is the vehicle by which we give honor to God with the fruit of our labor, and find the greatest personal satisfaction while we live on this earth.

5. Edification

Edification refers to those things we are involved in for the sheer pleasure they bring us. Sports, music, travel, hobbies, friends...all those things that bless our souls and expand our appreciation for the life and world that God has created for our use and pleasure.

If the Christian who carries the cross of addiction maintains these priorities he will have God's help to bear the load that he carries and, hopefully, overcome the addiction in time. However, if he/she puts these into a different order or neglects one, especially the effort to proactively deal with addiction, the others will always be jeopardized and harder to achieve.

Discussion Questions

  1. Can a person be an addict and a Christian too? Why yes or no?
  2. Why do you think sobriety comes before family in the priority list?
  3. Share an addiction story from your own life experience (self, family or friends).
  4. In your opinion, should a person who has an addiction problem be baptized before overcoming this sin? Why - why not?
  5. How would you reconcile the passage in I John 1:7-9 with a believer who struggles with an addiction?