Should I Even Try To Overcome An Addiction?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hi J____,
Thank you for sharing your story with me and thank you for your questions.
You say:

You are right about one thing. There is no difference, as far as one’s physical health is concerned, between your smoking and your husband’s candy addiction, if indeed he is addicted to chocolates. But believe me, as a non smoker, I can tell you that even light smoking stinks up your hair and clothes and your car and everything it touches. Many people like me are literally allergic to cigarette smoke. Eating chocolates on the other hand, does not immediately affect those around you.
But the fact that one still smokes does not mean that God and His spirit is not in that person. Smoking is not spiritual fornication or the spreading of false doctrines. Like any addiction, whether it is food or drink or smoking or gambling or any other form of addiction, we have to struggle to overcome every sin that does so easily beset us. But while that struggle is taking place, the strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not judge or condemn them for where they themselves we only yesterday.
It is God who has you where you are. He is slowly showing you that it is He who is working all things after the counsel of His own will. No one in whom Christ dwells condemns those who he feels is not where we all need to be, because all in whom Christ truly dwells, know that salvation is a life long process that requires that we struggle against this flesh and continue to do so till the day we physically die.

1Co 15:31 I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

I do not want to come across as in any way condoning even the smallest of sins, but we are all far more likely to self righteously condemn a weak brother, than we are to condone sin. Neither are acceptable with God, and in time He will burn our weaknesses out of us. When that day arrives, it is all His Work and it is none of ours.

Eph 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

“All things” includes both our weaknesses and our strengths. They are all of God, and are not of us. That may seem like passing the buck, but it is not. It is simply acknowledging God’s sovereignty:

Rom 7:15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
Rom 7:16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that [ it is] good.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [ how] to perform that which is good I find not.
Rom 7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [“That is in my flesh”]
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Twice we are told that God, through our flesh which was “marred in His hand” is causing sin to “dwell in me (that is in my flesh), and it is “no more I that do it but sin that dwells in me.”
Just like you and me, this untenable condition drives us all to sooner or later cry out:

Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
Rom 7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

But so very many ministers read Rom 7 as if there were no chapter 6 or chapter 8:

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Rom 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
Rom 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

So the whole of chapter 7 is based upon this premise:

Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.

Coming out from under the domination of the flesh is a life- long process, which requires “enduring to the end.” But the old man dies daily and the new man grows stronger in us daily. There are time when we slip backwards as Peter did in Antioch. God will bring us all to see and to know deep down that we “can of our own selves do nothing.” But those who, like King David, are “after God’s own heart” will always rise up to fight through another day. This is all revealed in the Biblical phase “seven times.”

Lev 4:6 And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary.
Pro 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

So we are told in the very first verses of chapter 8 or Romans:

Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh[Rom 7:5], but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

You will come to hate your desire for cigarettes “at the time appointed of the Father.” As hard as it is for the natural man to accept, this is the truth of God’s Word:

Psa 139:16 Thine eyes did see mine unformed substance; And in thy book they were all written, Even the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was none of them.

Every thing we do each day was written in God’s book, long before you or I were even born. We are not taken in to God’s confidence to the extent of being told the details of tomorrow, but we are told what is the outcome and what is the end. I lived for many years as a virtual slave to my own “Egyptian taskmasters.” What I did not want to do is what I did. I can honestly say that I am not that same old slave any longer, and it was none of my own doing, but it was definitely done, and sin no longer dominates my life. You too will have this experience, and when you do you too will rejoice in the peace of mind that comes with that step of growth of “Christ in you.” He must increase and you must decrease.”

2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;

Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

I hope this helps you to see that even your sins are “not you that do them, but sin that dwells in your marred flesh.” But I also hope that you see that Christ is in your “earthen vessel and will give you the exceeding greatness of power” to overcome and “condemn sin in the flesh.”

Rom 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

This is not speaking only of Christ when He was in the flesh, it is speaking specifically of Him living in our flesh:

2Co 5:16 Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more.
2Co 5:17 Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new.

The very reason we are told “we know Him no more… after the flesh” is because we, in Christ “are a new creature.” That make these verses become much more significant:

1Jn 4:2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1Jn 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

I hope this helps you to see that God, through Christ is truly “working all things… even the days of your life, before there were any of them… after the counsel of His own will.”
When He is ready to deliver you from your addiction to cigarettes He will give you the desire to quit and He will give you the strength to fulfill that desire. Those are His own words through His apostle:

Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

You can do all things though Christ and you are more than a conqueror through Him.

Php 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Rom 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Rom 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Rom 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

You ask:

The answer is, yes, definitely, that is exactly what God would have you and me to “affirm constantly.” “Be careful to maintain good works.” But as you make that effort, realize that even the will and the doing are Christ working in you “to will and do His good pleasure.”

Tit 3:8 [ This is] a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

You really do have nothing to fear. Christ is on your side, and in His time, He will deliver you. It will be a fiery and trying experience, but it will be done.

1Pe 4:12  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:13  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Your brother in Christ.

Other related posts