Overcoming Addiction to Sin

I recently read an older article about addiction, a problem the author (and others before her) called “the spiritual disease of our time.”[i] A few quotes about addiction capture the author’s thinking:

  • “One of the hallmarks of addiction is ‘tolerance’—the experience of requiring an ever-increasing amount of a particular substance or behavior in order for it to satiate us.”
  • “Yesterday’s thrill is today’s old news. We always need more.
  • “We are obsessed by unworthy masters who can never truly satisfy.”

Replace the words “addiction,” “thrill,” and “masters” with the word “sin” or “sins” in these sentences, and this article speaks to all of us.  We drink from the well of sin, thinking that our choices will somehow bring fulfillment – only to discover that sin leaves us thirstier in the long run.     

So, how do we begin to break this pattern?  

  1. Believe and share the gospel. No unbeliever can win this battle. Thus, the starting point is to assure that people — beginning with us — have heard the gospel and responded to Christ in repentance and faith.
  2. Point to the beauty of Christ. Regrettably, churches often teach Christ as Savior, but neglect to present Him as the priest who prays for us (Heb. 7:25) and the king who is above every power (Eph. 1:20-23).  Only when we truly see Christ for who He is will sin lose its attraction.
  3. Teach about standards of holiness and the seriousness of sin. Let’s be honest: some believers struggle because we have never taught them about sin, the Enemy, and the armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17).  We should not be surprised when those we have not taught don’t live up to standards they don’t know. 
  4. Build confession into discipleship. In the context of healthy discipling relationships, encourage careful, God-honoring confession (James 5:16).  Then, offer restoration and forgiveness (Gal. 6:1); let godly love overcome the power of sin. 
  5. Pray for others before they fall. If we don’t pray for each other until after we’ve fallen, it’s no wonder so many of us do fall. If you want to read more about this topic, see “Strange Ways We Pray.”

The goal, of course, is to long for Jesus, meet him, long for more of Him, grow in His grace, long for more still . . . and just keep longing for and loving Him more.  Ask God today to cure your sin addictions by making you addicted to Him – and then teach others how to live in that victory.   

[i] http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/december/15.60.html?start=2




  • Larry Black says:

    Powerful blog post, thank you.

  • Andy says:

    When Christians talk about sin, we seem to have our own list of things that ought not be done. But 1 Jn 3:4 says sin is lawlessness (anomia) where nomos almost always means Law/Torah of Moses in the NT — not the law of North Carolina or federal law of the US, obviously. But if sin is Law-lessness (pun not intended) then it very likely means that sin is Torah-lessness. Yet we break Torah every week when we don’t keep the sabbath or everyday when we eat unclean food, according to the Torah. Is the argument that we now have the Law of Christ sufficient to overcome this definition of sin? Christ said not to even think He came to destroy the Law. Could it be that we are sinning in ways that the church never talks about while the sinning that it focuses on is something that emerges out of the culture, not scripture, that we share with non-believers in the same culture?

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