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  • Writer's pictureJimmy Alexander

We Are All Addicts


The title of this blog feels a bit offensive, doesn't it? When you hear the word addiction what comes to mind? I instantly think of drugs, alcohol, gambling, or pornography. This is only natural because these are the major areas where addiction reigns in modern society.


However, when we are confronted with the statement, "We are all addicts"- many of us think, "No, I'm not. I've never been addicted sexually or chemically. I'm not an addict". And for the sake of argument- they are right. A large percentage of humanity is not utterly dependent or feels hopelessly enslaved to a particular substance, thing, or activity. Most people do not wake up every morning in anguish, sweating in withdrawal, with a desperate bodily craving for a substance. According to Our World in Data (https://ourworldindata.org/drug-usearound) around 2% of the global population has a substance use disorder.


However, when we consider the biblical concept of addiction, we cannot escape the reality that we are all addicted. Biblically speaking, we are all addicted to sin. We are enslaved to a nature inside of us that is sinful. Ever since the fall of Adam & Eve in Genesis Chapter 3, we have inherited a heavy sinful nature that dominates and controls us. Every one of us has desires, cravings, thinking patterns, and behaviors, that are not only destructive but opposed to God's will. So, in this sense, the statement holds undeniably true: we are all addicts.


This truth is communicated most clearly in John 8:34, when Jesus says, "Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin". In context, Jesus is disputing with religious leaders who think they are good, moral people who are free from any enslavement (see Verse 33). They are filled with pride and convinced that they have God’s blessing and have no need for deliverance. They do not realize their true condition. They think they are healthy, content, and rich- but they do not realize that they are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17). In love, Jesus tries to reason with them and reveal their need for salvation. So much so, that he boldly says in Verse 44, "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires".


Similarly, like the religious leaders in this passage, we tend to excuse ourselves too quickly from this hard truth, that is, our sin addiction. When we look at the local homeless shelter, witness a loved one in addiction, or see someone walking down the street drunk, we think to ourselves, "Thank God I'm not like them! I'm glad I never got addicted!" But here is the reality: you are just as addicted as they are. Just because your sin looks different, doesn't mean that you are better in any way. As Romans 3 declares, "Everyone has sinned and falls short of the glory of God". Comparing yourself to others is a pointless pursuit according to Scripture. Your sin may not be as external, or obvious, and have immediate detrimental consequences like drug addiction does, but your sin is just as horrific and equally guilty in the eyes of God.


It doesn't matter what your addiction is. Sin manifests itself in endless forms. Maybe it's the love of money, greed, envy, or materialism. Perhaps it's self-image, self-worship, perfectionism, the pride of hard work, or idolizing a career or relationship. It could be that you are obsessively drawn to food, entertainment, or social media. Whatever it may be, we all have desires, thinking patterns, and behaviors that we need set free from. There is no point in trying to delude ourselves here. I don't care how prestigious, moral, or successful you think you are- we are all broken, filthy, addicted sinners who are in desperate need of a great Savior.


You will never be able to see your need for God’s salvation until you recognize the great depths of your own sin. You will never be able to appreciate God’s grace until you realize the horror of your personal crimes against Him. As Jesus reminds us in Luke 5:31, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”. We must grab ahold of this reality if we wish to experience the freedom that Christ offers all people (Galatians 5:1).


Additionally, this mindset helps us to have greater compassion on those who are struggling with a drug, gambling, or sexual addiction. Instead of looking at someone as a filthy scumbag or menace to society, we can look at them empathetically and say, “I get it. I understand. My sin may look different, but I am no better than they are. They need Jesus… just as much as I do...”

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