My dad had been a very heavy smoker, enjoying his use of pipes, cigars, and cigarettes. When he reached the age of 50, his older and younger brothers began to die because of different kinds of cancer related to their smoking. My dad rightly concluded that if he was not to stop smoking immediately, he might very well be the next dead member of the Link family, but it was not easy. Without perhaps realizing it, my dad had become addicted to smoking. He decided, however, that he would smoke his very last cigarette at noon of a particular set day, and he did. He has never smoked since. This month, he will turn 94. He was able to overcome his addiction, because he saw the absolute need to do so, if he wanted to stay alive.
Addiction can come in various forms and shapes. People might be addicted to smoking, or to alcohol, food, drugs, sex, money and material wealth, movies and television, gambling, sports, certain hobbies, various forms of entertainment, video games, computers, the telephone, including cell phones, or the company of their peers or friends. Some have become work “addicts,” while others have become “addicted” to their present or future mates, their parents or children, or even to someone married to someone else.
Whatever the type of addiction, it must be overcome. First, though, we must admit to ourselves that we have indeed become addicts, if this is the case. The denial that we might have a problem prevents us from overcoming the problem. Most addicts refuse to acknowledge their addiction. They might realize that they may drink too much alcohol at times, but they don’t see that they have become addicted to alcohol. When it comes to smoking, they might deny their addiction, by saying, “I could stop smoking at any time, if I wanted to.” Denial of addiction leads to the feeling that nothing is wrong — to the “searing of our conscience” (1 Timothy 4:2). Note how the way of the adulterous woman — we might say, of a sex addict — is described in Proverbs 30:20, “She eats and wipes her mouth, And says, ‘I have done no wickedness.'”
We are told to seek first God and His righteousness. This means, for instance, that we cannot seek and serve God and “mammon” — wealth and riches — at the same time (compare Matthew 6:24). If we are addicted to wealth, we are not seeking God first. Rather, we are to be bond-servants or slaves of God and Christ (1 Peter 2:16; 1 Corinthians 7:22-23), bringing even our thoughts “into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). Nothing — and no one — must take a place in our lives that is more important to us than God and His Will for us.
To be addicted to some worldly thing means that we have lost our clear focus of right priorities. If we want to know whether we have become addicted to something, so that we “need” and “depend” on it in order to feel happy or “fulfilled,” let us make a test. Can we do without it for a while — whatever it is? If we cannot, we have indeed become addicted to it.
Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 6:12, even in relationship to things not contrary to God’s way of life, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful [or, profitable]. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Let’s examine ourselves, whether we have become addicts. If we are, we need to overcome our addiction. Without perhaps realizing it, we have been violating the very first of the Ten Commandments, telling us not to have other gods — whatever they may be — before the true God (Exodus 20:2-3). With God’s help, we can overcome every addiction. And we must do so. In some cases, our physical life might depend on it. More importantly, addiction stands in our way to obtaining eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Notice Christ’s words in Luke 14:26,33, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less by comparison] his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” 

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