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Addiction is a massive issue for Christians – James 1:13-15

December 14, 2009

James 1:13-15 : Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Yesterday I published a post about how to deal with addictions including internet pornography addiction, and the response has been interesting.  The post set a record in terms of the number of visitors to my blog in one day, and the number and nature of the comments and messages I have received have been very moving.  It would be fair to say, that based on this response there are lots of Christians (male and female) battling with an addiction.

I was also alerted to some amazing resources, organisations and websites that can help someone out with an addiction.  Many of these are listed in the comments which can be read at:  click here.

Though I don’t have a pornography addiction, my addiction is the internet, specifically Facebook.  I simply spend way too much time on Facebook.  In part it is a product of the pages I have started, the friendships I have made, but I can see it is affecting my family life, my relaxation time and so on.  So recently I put in place some self imposed guidelines to attempt to reduce the amount of time I spend online.  Within every addiction is a series of temptations, and the amazing James 1: 13-15 has some very interesting ideas about temptation.

The first realisation is that temptation is my problem, I choose to be tempted, no one is forcing me.  The greek behind the word temptation can also mean to attempt, test or try, so in being tempted I act, I test, I try something.  It is my choice alone to be on Facebook when I should be asleep!

And this aspect of choice is actually key, I can choose not to engage in the behaviour, and though I might be tempted, I can choose not to follow through.  The temptation is present, but I choose not to act.  For it isn’t the presence of temptation that causes sin, it is my choice to give in to the temptation that causes sin.

So my prayer is that those who are struggling with addiction make wise choices, excellent choices, so as to loosen the bonds of addiction.  Me included.

God bless,

Rev Mark

http://www.facebook.com/MarkBrown.page

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44 Comments
  1. jenni permalink

    Hello, i recently viewed your post about addiction, and i must say this message could not have came at a better time. I have had an addiction to, well, everything. I have an addictive personallity, and it is taking control of my life, and destroying me!! I see myself making abrupt decisions that cause me heartache and emberassment in the end. I then go crawling to God, asking for his forgiveness and grace to help me through this situation. I feel really awful, it seems like i engage in whatever seems fun at the time, then when i deal with the after math i come crying to God. I want to live the life God has planned for me, i am at the crossroads in my life and don’t know how to make my mind and body line up with the word of God.. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I am afraid my realationship with God and my boyfriend are in grave danger… I love the passage that speaks of paul (i believe) saying, ” I don’t mean to do the things i do, although i do them anyway” .. I don’t know it word for word, but that is what came to mind lastnight as i laid in bed crying out to God for forgiveness and help…

  2. Sarah permalink

    To get rid of my Facebook addiction, I had to delete my Facebook.

  3. Celebrate Recovery is a Christian twelve step group to deal with addictions. It was started in Saddle Back Church in Texas and is now available in many churches to include mine, Community Bible Church, McDonough, Ga. For more information go to http://www.communitybiblechurch.com . Go to the tab that says ministries and select Celebrate Recovery. All are welcome, believers, unbelievers, whomever would like help.

    Thanks,

  4. Linda permalink

    God has blessed you with the ability to explain the meaning of His word with simplicity and understanding. Thank you
    Blessings and Peace to you!

  5. Paul Griffin permalink

    Dear Brother,

    1 Corinthians 10:13 is a reminder to me of the fact that – as Augustine noted – it is posse non pecarre: possible not to sin. Romans 6:17 and 18 also help me know the truth about God and about myself. Sad that I should choose otherwise sometimes, when I do not have to do so.

    Thank you for your labor for Jesus Christ. It is not in vain. (1 Cor. 15:58)

    In light of your desire to spend less time on Facebook/the internet, please do not feel any need to reply.

    Will pray.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Paul Griffin

  6. Nancy permalink

    I too have a fb passion that has become time consuming.. feel that I minimized time on the site and am working deligently on cutting that in half as well. My prayer goes out to those with any addictions!

    Peace

  7. Angela permalink

    Another amazing devotional! Thanks! Have you seen the movie “Fireproof”. That us about a man addicted to internet porn and was so selfish to the pint that he and his wife were about to divorse. His dad ives him a book called the “love dare” and the power of God’s love transforms him. There is one scene that is bothe funny and serious where he takes his computer system outside and beats it with a base ball bat while his neighbor watches with great concern. It’s an amazing Spirit fill movie by Sherwood films.

  8. Michelle Meyer permalink

    Thank you Rev. Mark for sharing your heart. Even all good things need moderation. We do not need to abandon our facebook account or stop ministries because we get too involved, but like Rev. Mark stated “boundaries.” I am trying really hard to stay off of facebook the past few days and the coming week due to finals in school— it is so difficult to stay away because I enjoy connecting, shareing and caring. Thank you Rev. Mark for reminding me that I need to place my priorities before God.
    -Michelle Meyer

  9. Bob Webster permalink

    Fireproof is great…….WE bought it.

    We do need help with temptation. I struggle with it my self. Actually for longer than I thought. Reading Don Dickerman’s book has been a eye opener for me.
    see Don here….(20 worthwile minutes)…The buy the book…even better. The short story is I have bought 6 copies so far, I still have 2. I am buying more to give away.

    Watch here.. From sid Roth…It’s Supernatural…see the man, trust the man, read the book.

    The book really made me appreciate what Jesus did …even more and taught me how to be more effective in helping people.

    http://www.sidroth.org/site/News2?abbr=tv_&page=NewsArticle&id=8579&security=1041&news_iv_ctrl=-1

    Bob Webster

  10. Juli permalink

    Thank you so much for your honesty. Indeed, we all deal with different struggles and addictions. The first, and hardest, step is admitting that it is a choice that we make. As a parent, I see God’s Word like the instructions of a caring, loving father. He knows that we will fall prey to the temptations of this world and He is trying to save us from the painful consequences that will eventually follow. That said, we need to be reading His word in order to ‘hear’ those loving instructions. Many of us struggle with that as well. Thank you for providing a quick, meaningful opportunity to be more connected to our Lord and Savior.

  11. Lupe meza permalink

    Thank u! Although not addicted to facebook yet I do enjoy it. Lord bless u!

  12. Serving God more by getting involved with ministries at your local church and in your area is a great way to counter addictions. You’ll feel better for doing so when you can just turn this little box off for a while and get out with the real people in and around your life.

    When the Internet first became popular with folks, it became an addiction to many who would NEVER leave their homes for any reason whatsoever, and I believe many attempted ways that they would never have to leave their homes whatsoever. In doing this, many people become disconnected with reality and their loved ones and friends they have in life. All they begin to see is the little electronic signal that resembles what seems to be “their friend.”

    Now that this has been said, our greatest friend is Jesus, who will never leave us or forsake us at any time during our walk with Him, even if we choose to sin in our lives. But why would we when we have the greatest friend we could ever have in a lifetime?

    I too am not really addicted to fb or this computer anymore, but I do enjoy it from time to time. It keeps me busy when other things in my life have settled down and have been taken care of; perspective is the key to overcoming addictions; as is prioritizing our lives with the most important to the least important. Let your conscience (the Holy Spirit for Christians) be your guide and your priorities will be in order, and your paths straight.

    • Ali Van Arsdall permalink

      Well said. Often God leads us away from the crowd, business, or chaotic life, or the distractions to get us alone with Him. He did it with Jesus, Moses, Abraham and many more, just read the Old Testament. How can we here God if our communication output (or should I say computer input) is so busy. So saying that, stepping aside from these things and allowing God to speak into us through His word and in prayer will increase our life in Him. He must increase but I must decrease,Jn. 3:30

  13. Patsy Bond permalink

    17 years clean and sober, by the grace of God………and the help of many, many others who loved me until I could love myself…….Thank you.

    • Wow… I hope I get there someday. But not just me, I pary for everyone to get there someday. Thats great!

  14. Jodi permalink

    Thank you for that explanation. I’ll admit I was lost reading that verse. Thanks also for sharing your addiction. It shows that addictions can really be about anything. God just pointed mine out!

  15. Susan permalink

    I really like ur reflection on addiction.N its true all we have to do, is not act on the impulses that come when we r tempted. Which is exactly what i intend to apply in my life. Thanks n God bless!

  16. Lydia Reyes permalink

    Being addicted to FB is a problem, but coming to this page everyday and finding a word from God and many lovely people commenting on his word as best as they can, is a blessing. We help to encourage each other in our walk with God. We have to prioritize our life . Before this site came on to FB, I was ready to close FB from my computer. Now the main reason I stay connected is because it is just another way God is guiding me in the knowledge and wisdom I’ve been praying for. Thank you Pastor Mark. I pray that God will help you to continue in this journey and at the same time give you rest. Remember , With GOD all things are Possible. God Bless you and yours. My brothers and sisters in Christ, Hang on to the Cross and don’t let Go. God is bigger than any addiction

  17. Chris permalink

    I am a christian and have been for a while. I have also been a smoker. I recently (about 2 months ago) gave up smoking after smoking since i was about 11 years old (17 years ago). A few days ago I started back up again and now its back to day 1. This is affecting my wife and daughter terribly and i feel really bad but i have asked the pastor of my church (and a few of the elders) if we could have a get-to-gether in a couple of days so im hoping they can help me. This scripture is definatly what i was meant to see and I thank the good LORD for Rev. Mark for starting this page, because recently i havent had the motivation to read the bible like i should. It is alot easier reading it on here.

    • Cory permalink

      Yhour body is the Lords temple.I don’t remember which verse that was but I know its a verse.Take care of your body and mind is the basic message of that verse.Also their is Philippians 4:3 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.You can do it with help from Jesus.Pray about it every night.A useful way to stop addictions is to beat other worldly things.For me that was choosing to fast once a week to prove to myself that I can resist temptations.You don’t have to tackle that one issue of smoking first,build yourself up with things that are easy first to raise your confidence.I still battle the temptation of adultery myself but pray to God every day and night for the strength to get that kind of thoughts out of my mind.The road is long and hard,but the race goes to the one who sticks to it in the end no matter what happens to them on the way their.
      God Bless and make you realize YOU CAN quit smoking if God is guiding you through it the whole way through

  18. I have an addiction to alcohol, and I have no shame in admitting it. It runs in my family, and I met someone who has the same problem and we’ve both been going to AA together and I I’m not sure if it’s helping though. I don’t feel like the Lord is with me on this. I feel like my male companion is the only one with me, but none the less, I can over come it. Addiction is like cancer. which I have also… I think thats why I started drinking… to prove I wouldn’t die from cancer. I can only hope the Lord is right by my side with everything. But I know Aaron is. Is that worng of me?!

  19. I agree we need to limit use it gets overwhelming. I DO ENJOY YOUR POSTS!! I See the problems it causes even if its work or play if your on the computer its not quality time with your family.

  20. Pastor Mark, I can relate to this. My time spent on FB has been a major problem for me as well in the past and still is sometimes though I now use only 2 GB per month on FB instead of the 5GB or more that I used too. I were totally hooked on a game I used to play till the Holy Spirit showed me that my prayer and bible study time has decreased from 2 hours in the morning to 1 hour per day. I prayed and pondered on it and I now rarely visit fairyland anymore. I still enjoy playing it but not as I used too. God IS bigger than ANY addiction we may or may not have and CAN we enjoy making christians friends from all over the world and enjoy FB on a daily or weekly basis without putting it FIRST in our lives, I believe. I find encouraging words and uplifting messages from my fellow christians which I enjoy and appreciate very much! I also think that the knowledge you share with us is a blessing from above for all of us and I do pray that God will keep you on FB and it shall be for His glory! Please excuse any grammar faults, I am actually Afrikaans speaking. God bless and keep you!

  21. shemuel permalink

    thank you so much, i was just asking god for forgivness because i get addicted to so many stuff and its hurting me n the ppl them that i love, and am praying so hard for my regular life back, so can y’ll please pray for me i need it.

    thank you

    god bless we all.

  22. Thanks for the posting on addictions. I am a recovery addict – internet pornography and other habits – and am in a 12 Step recovery program (Celebrate Recovery) in my local church.

    I do appreciate the comments being left but am a little concerned about the possible misconceptions and misunderstandings I seem to hear. An addiction is, by definition, something over which I am powerless. There was a time when I did it because I wanted to do it, but when I became a Christian and continued to “act out” I became very concerned about my salvation, commitment to Jesus, etc. I eventually sought help through (professional and otherwise) and was diagnosed as having a sex addiction. Over the past few years I have continued to “act out” at various times and have discovered the diagnosis of addiction to be true: I do it not because I want to do it, but because I’m addicted to doing it. I do not want to do it, yet I do it anyway. Paul’s passage in Romans 7 is entirely true; reading it through the eyes of addiction is powerful.

    Overcoming addiction is not about avoiding temptation because temptation is always there and we are human – frail and sinful, despite our “best” efforts. Overcoming addiction is about being connected to others who struggle in a way that is mutually helpful in establishing and maintaining sobriety; it’s about a deep, abiding relationship with God; it’s about finding meaning, comfort, hope (or whatever else you’re looking for) in Jesus and NOT in an image, behavior, status, etc. Overcoming addiction is probably a life-long, ongoing journey of becoming more and more conformed to the image of Jesus.

    that’s all… and thanks!

    • jenni permalink

      Wow, in reference to jim’s post. You are so right, i honestly understand what you are saying, but with another/several addictions. It is truly hard though to find people whom understand and won’t judge you or try to “fix” you by their own means instead of God’s.. This website has been incredibly helpful and uplifting. I feel like there are others who are where i am and want to reach out for help. I want to say God bless, and i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I feel God is showing me that I am not alone and there is hope through all of you who are posting on here…

  23. thanks mark for bringing this topic up. it is a very real problem in our society today. i had the alcohol and drug addition, but by GOD’S GRACE, one day at a time i have been sober 30yrs. now adays people don’t have time for the thing sin life that are really important; GOD, OUR SALVATION, . family time gets bumped for some other trivial thing and may be part of why this world is in the shape it is. thank you for your insight, GOD has a mighty warrior in you, mark brown. GOD BLESS 🙂

  24. Brother Mark,
    I greatly enjoy your reflections and appreciate your honesty and transparency. I also have struggled with the pull of facebook, among other things. God has called me to a ministry which is focused specifically on finding deliverance from any addiction through His power. If you’d like to read about it you can visit my ministry website at http://www.transformationministry.net. I welcome anyone else to check it out also!
    In the name of our Jesus,
    Joy

  25. Mary Beck permalink

    That was an interesting insight on addiction but in fact there is a lot about your addiction that will not always resonate with sinners, just as there is a lot about each of us that does not resonant with others. Although addictions have things in common, they are not all life destroying devastating habits such as internet porn, drug addiction, gambling, alcoholism, etc.

    Yes, all habitual actions are hard to change but not all of them produce heart wrenching damage.

    Facebook, and other social networks when used to do good may be addictive but that kind of addiction does not shred one’s character or destroy morality nor does it leave the horror of guilt, shame, and abasement that shreds a persons self worth, just my two cents.

  26. Overcoming temptation is one of the toughest and most rewardingaspects of the Christian walk.I’m amazed and humbled at how much God loves me and helps me up when I stumble and brings me back stronger when I;
    ‘m truly repentant. I am living a single celibate life and trying to to be faithful to the Lover of my soul! To keep a mind un-cluttered with pornographic desires,worldliness,materialism,etc…. I find that starting the day in prayer and especially His Word is the “grounding” I need, then , there are the self disciplines;it really helped me just to lock out certain content on the t.v. ;stuff I don’t expose myself to while surfing around,the same with Quitting drugs and alcohol; I just don’t go places I wouldn’t want to be when Christ returns, anyhow, God BlessXXXOOO-Brenda

  27. Wow,
    This is the first time I have actually loged on here. I usually read through the heading of your post on Facebook.
    I recive your messages in my email and this is also the first time I read through…….Wow.Been short changing myself.
    I am a recovering alcoholic…but……….have been in and out of sobriety for 20 years now. Though SAVED as a child I was only truly reborn about 7 years ago.
    The stuggle I have in my addiction seems only to rear it’s ugly head once I get to the point of depression….Thanking God that I have , by HIS STRENGTH and the prayes of others…am coming out of a pretty bad one this time.
    Alcohol and smoking are my vices………I will gladly accept any prayers offered for the smoking…. I have again put the alcohol away……..not the smoking..yet. But I really think my biggest addiction is SELF.
    If I can take SELF out of the way and put God First………..My life is good.

  28. Beverly permalink

    Totally being addressed in my life as well. God shows me where I am out of balance. The computer has so many benefits to simplify our lives, but I believe the TEMPTATION and the need for self control comes into play with it. It is very easy to NOT moderate things in our lives. The task really is moderation. Moderate our exercise, our eating, drinking. etc. However, there are things that are good in moderation and harmful in excess. Then there are those things we should abstain from always. Wisdom is knowing how much is too much and determing what is to be moderated and what is to be avoided.

  29. Jason permalink

    Rev Mark,
    Your last 2 posts about addiction have really stuck me down deep. I’ve had addictions and many battles with them. I feel like I am going to stop then something comes up and I do it again. I now feel better prepared for these battles with addiction and feel that next time I get tempted I won’t follow through to sin.

    Before I read your posts I used to think that the temptation is the sin but now I realize that it’s not the temptation but what you choose to do next.

    Thank You

  30. Beth permalink

    Dear GOD our HEAVENLY FATHER we ask YOU to please bless, protect, and help all of your children who are going through any addictions or hard times. Also please help us to stay away from sin and be strong enough to withstand temptation only by your power, light, and love can we achieve this. GOD bless all. In the name of JESUS CHRIST our REDEMER whom we love, we have all pure love for YOU DEAR LORD GOD! Amen.

  31. Lindsey permalink

    Once again you’ve helped me out Mark. I just don’t know what to say… Your amazing! hands down

  32. There is no other cure against addictions than our long overdue, firsthand and personal knowledge of Jesus Christ at his self-revelation as immortal (“Son of the living God”) in his once-and-for-all, perfect and transfigurative death on the cross.

    If serious enough, all one needs to do is to check it out and pray for deliverance. It works for me since 35 years!

  33. Velvet permalink

    Thank you again Rev Mark! You are an extraordinary person and I always look forward to my newsletter every time you send it! I am still new to being a christian! I am trying very hard and notice that my addictions and temptations are my greatest enemies! This one was a great one for me! Thank you! I still have lots of work to do and I really need alot of help! If there is anyone that I can talk to and learn more stuff about God on here, please feel free to e-mail me @velvetdrax@yahoo.com! Thank you so much again Rev Mark! I truly am grateful I came across your page on FB!

  34. hello mark i do a daily blog as well and i love yours it is so good and the comments are wonderful i was wanted to ask you why is it on facebook you can’t respone with out a cell phone i done have one and i can not even put a comment on you post on the page just would like to know why but also thanks for making it in a email as well or i would not be able to put comments as for the internet for my self i don’t stay on it to much i used to bu thank god it’s not anything that i really get into i have face book and i have a little bit of friends on there but i also have 4 or 5 other christians web pages i look on in a day’s time with doing my blog and email it out to my email list and posting it on my web pages i am on line for about maybe 2 1/2 hours in the morning and about 5 hrs on some day’s that’s all day and i think god for that because i use to spend 10 or more hrs a day over a yr ago but now i don’t if it was not for doing my blog i would not get on every day but i feel i need to get out the word of the lord’s soon coming you well i hope that the people that have the trouble with the nasty porn i hope they know there nothing that god can’t fix and the one thing you had on there about putting the computer in a room where it’s not so easy to get stuff like that on there living dinning room you know i had a kid’s who put some not so nice stuff on my computer and i am after christmas i am moving my into my living room well i hope all are blessed in jesus name cecil b

  35. Becki permalink

    Thanks Beth for your prayers – Jesus is the only one who can “fix” us, not any other person. I’m thankful for everyone’s honesty and I don’t feel so alone in my addictions. This Christmas season, let us all remember that Jesus was born to save the weak. – That includes EVERYONE 🙂

    God Bless you all!

  36. justin permalink

    thank u so much

  37. Porn addiction does seem to be common in the church for some reason. It would be interesting to see a study on this.

    http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/2009/11/24/why-are-so-many-christians-addicted-to-porn/

  38. There is huge untapped, supernatural power at the POINT OF CHANGE made accessible in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. (John 3: 1-21; 19: 30-37) You will stand to gain and witness about it if you check it out thoroughly!

  39. If the word order in Christmas stands for “Christ” and [“mas(s)”, critical] the latter part suggests suffering and death as a point of change in the world (John 3: 1-21) and necessary conditions required before acknowledgment of the former as the Christ, i.e., Savior –the hardest lesson to learn even by the first disciples of Jesus! (Luke 24: 25-26)

    MERRY “CHRIST-MASS” ALL!

  40. I was also adivted to Facebook in the begining but then I realized that it is not worth. When someone of my friends did something on Facebook I got a message, when someone send my some test or something like that I got a message and then I found out how to unable those messages. I turned all out, I get only messages from (lil) Green Patch and (Lil) Blue Cove and so I`m staying very litlle on facebook. I recive Journey Deeper Into God`s Word by e-mail.
    God bless you all! Praise God!
    Tammy

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