It doesn’t seem hard for us to get addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, money, etc. It’s easy to grab a beer (then another and another) without much thought, get wasted and end up making bad decisions.
So why is it so hard to be “addicted” to the word of God? Why do we find it so difficult to get drunk off the Spirit? It can seem nearly impossible to read page after page of the Bible, pray and crave a spiritual connection with God. And even if we do, it’s not the same feeling as addiction.
Why can’t we be addicted to the Bible? We find it so hard because addictions are of the flesh, not of the Spirit. (I will say I believe in infatuation or obsession with communion or relationship with God, but I am speaking solely about addictions.)
Addictions can cause disease and harm to the body; it can cause a downward spiral and stunted growth of the mind and body. Addictions kill, addictions murder, addictions hold back. Think of it: Sex addicts feed their flesh’s craving for sex. Drug addicts feed their flesh’s craving for drugs. It’s not their spirits that desire heroin; it’s their bodies. When they go to rehab break their addiction, their bodies have the repercussions from weaning off the drugs.
The majority of the things our spirit wants wage war with what our flesh wants—and sometimes it’s so much easier for us to hear and tend to the cry of our flesh.
Why do we find ourselves tending to the flesh more than the spirit? We, as humans, don’t take the time to think about what we are doing. This may be occasional, but that’s still far too often. We want something, so we go out and get it. ASAP. No stopping, no detours, no long way there or helping others along the way. We just go for what we want, and nothing can stop us. In those moments, we are driven by our selfish needs and those needs consume us. Our spirit is left high and dry.
Because the Spirit works in patience, seasons of trials and tests. It grows through ways that oppose our flesh. Our spirit grows in prayer and in commitment, in selflessness, in expressing and listening.
In stark contrast, our addictions are all temporary satisfactions. Drinking every day is not only a form of idolatry in your life, but it consumes and paves the pathway to alcoholism. Drinking and drugs imitate a life with glorious feelings, fun times and high emotions—but the aftermath is a hurting body, mind and spirit. Sex and porn are similar; in the moment, those emotions are overwhelming, yet the aftermath is devastating.
I look back at my life and see the addictions I had were chaining me down to the very ground I was trying to get up from. My addictions enabled me to continue an idolatrous lifestyle, temporarily filling the hole in my heart. At the time I thought my addictions were the way to love, that love was temporary and that you had to search for it again and again. I thought it came with an expiration date and had no stability—all things I came to find out were very untrue of love later on. My addiction detoured me from my path and from what truth is. Addictions are just fleeting satisfactions trying to fill the holes in an eternal heart.
The only way to fill hearts for the long term is with the love of God. This is what our spirits long for and why they will forever be opposed to the flesh.
Will your happiness be short-term or forever? It’s up to you.
Jacob Luhrs is a member of the band August Burns Red and heads up the online community Heartsupport.com.