Brethren, kindly allow me to mention something very briefly to you. When I write the messages the Lord gives me to share, I do so under a deep conviction and gratitude to the Lord. So then, if I add my own testimony, I do so to win those who are going through similar struggles. Like the apostle Paul, I am not ashamed to refer to my past failures to show the great Power of Christ Jesus and His Faithful love for sinners “of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15 NIV). When we did these wrong things we were not ashamed; in fact we practiced them openly for everyone to see. Why would I be ashamed to tell others of the wickedness that the Lord saved me from? The Lord has subsequently used this ministry to teach you His will through our mistakes, and to display His great Mercy and Patience towards humanity.
As a general observation, when we were growing up and as children, we had limited choices. Our parents or guardians exercised authority of choice over us. They exercised these choices for our well-being. However, as we reach the age of accountability, which the Lord confirmed to Charis to be eight (8) years of age, we have the freedom to make some choices ourselves from this stage onwards. We choose what we want for lunch or breakfast; we choose whom we want to play with and when we want to do certain things. This is true, and unless parents intervene, children from this age group and higher exercise their own will, even to the extent of lying to hide some of the activities they engage in. They hide or lie because they don’t want parents or adults to interfere with what gives them enjoyment. The point we are making is this: as children make choices, they should also be accountable for those choices (Proverbs 22:6). The direction a person would take in life is largely dependent on how strongly they practiced and emphasized Godly conduct. In my observation and experience, in the absence of a strong Godly fear in the house, children feed on wickedness that they see from others. They are enticed by the ‘pleasure’ they see portrayed. Little do they know that this pleasure can eventually lead to addiction, and addiction can take control of their lives.
Today, children and adults alike are in greater danger of addictions than ever before. While we welcome technological advancement to make life a little easier for us, this has unfortunately created new addictions as well. This is not to lay blame on these things; what we blame is the weak human character. As it stands, what we were set up to be in life in our early childhood serves only as a guide, but how we stand up against pressures and demands as adults depends on us. Furthermore, as we steadily progress in age so do our choices and responsibilities. How wisely and carefully we make our choices is seen through our attitude and fear for God. A well-lived life has always been characterised by a submission and obedient attitude towards God (Genesis 25:8).
Scriptural Approach to Addictions
The church and many other secular institutions are flooded with cases of addictions of various kinds, and it seems this war is just never won. As a church of the Living God, we have a duty to point man to God and what He demands of us (Jeremiah 7:23-24). Without being insensitive to addicts, the choices they made in pursuit of their pleasures have resulted in their addiction. God requires a conscious choice from us to obey Him and experience His deliverance. If we are to be free from addictions we are requested to obey the Scriptures.
The Bible says: “Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourself to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:12-13 NRSV). When we exercise our sovereign choice do we take into account that ‘not all things are beneficial’ and that yielding to some passions result in their dominion of us? (1 Corinthians 6:12).
As further evidence of Scriptural warning, the apostle Peter teaches, “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wager war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
Last year (2012) December, my family and I visited my parents who live about 300 miles away from us. I seized every opportunity to minister the word of God to my peers and the youth. I used my former way of living as a testimony, of which many of you may recall, and point them to a living hope in Christ Jesus and His awesome POWER of deliverance. I shared with them how addiction to cigarette smoking, drugs and alcohol has taken them control over them. To their amazement, many of them agreed that they no longer exercised full control over their lives, but that they go about daily chasing the gratification of their cravings (1 John 2:16). While many of them agreed with me and felt the power of God through the ministry of God’s word, they were unable to break free from the dominion of the cravings (Romans 6:12-13). It was clear to me that many of them were not prepared to come clean and accept freedom in Christ (John 8:36). They wanted help then, but they still hoped for another day (2 Corinthians 6:2, Hebrews 3:7-8). Brethren, I am ministering deliverance from addictions to you and I will use my own testimony to show you how God set me free.
My Journey to Addictions
When I was 15 years, I was introduced to alcohol by some of my friends. I liked the confidence it gave me since I was a very shy person. This alcohol consumption took place only during school holidays when my friends came over to our house. We secretly stole money or robbed unsuspecting people and we would then go and buy cigarettes and alcohol. Although I hated smoking and was warned about its effects, some of my friends encouraged me to smoke as it would give me a quicker and stronger kick. After a few puffs I gave myself over to smoking. This became my number one habit for more than 10 years. During these years of cigarette smoking I was introduced to marijuana and it also won control of me. This led to multiple personality changes in me. I stopped taking care of myself. This had an effect on my school work and I dropped out of high school in grade 10 (I completed my high school certificate and pursued further studies several years later after my conversion to Christ). I started stealing money and some household items to satisfy my new habits. I lied using guilt to make people succumb just to give me money for my habits. I surrounded myself with like-minded people. We craved worldly things, name brand clothes, etc. In addition, through my excessive alcohol consumption, years later in my marriage life I carried on with the habit of absconding from work and this led to many problems for me. I was simply controlled by these addictions. I would go to church on the invitation of others and after church I would go back to my cravings.
The problem was not that the Word of God failed me, but how my need for deliverance was addressed. Also, while I was in need of deliverance I did not honestly pursue deliverance.
Furthermore, brethren my soul cried for help but the power of cravings possessed me all around. Before coming to the Lord, I tried on my own to break free from these cravings, but within a week or two I would go back. I went to many church services and read many books including Bible books and examining Scriptures, yet without any deliverance from my habits. This is the same thing that is happening to many folks today. Do you want to know how I got free?
My Deliverance from the Dominion of Fleshly Cravings
In our deliverance article, I briefly chronicled how I got saved and delivered. The Bible says, there is no freedom from sin except through Christ (Galatians 5:1; John 8:36). I experienced this grace of deliverance through my choice of abstaining from these habits.
I needed help and I thought to myself if I wanted to be free from this, I must submit and do what God says. This might sound weird to some of you, but I set dates of giving up on certain habits and trusted the Lord in prayer to help me. On the dates I set for myself I actually did give up on alcohol drinking, cigarettes and other cravings and habits. Let me put it this way: although I received countless prayers through my church visits I did not experience any deliverance. My deliverance came through my submission to Christ in my inner room.
My first step into my deliverance was to acknowledge my many mistakes; I did so by confessing to the Lord (1 John 1:9; Psalm 51; Psalm 32:3). Secondly I asked for His help and at the same time I had to accept His help by obeying and abstaining from wrong things (Psalm 50:15; Romans 6:12-13; Genesis 4:7). Thirdly, in my new life, I practiced Godliness through daily Bible reading and prayers which sealed my deliverance (1 Peter 2:2; Joshua 1:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Daniel 6:10).
Lastly, and as a serious warning, if we do not keep ourselves occupied with the things of God we run the risk of being occupied with wrong things for the devil. I have witnessed and seen many distinguished men and women of God being preoccupied with useless worldly things and failing to properly live out their calling. As a born-again believer in Christ Jesus ,your calling is to win souls through your testimony about Christ (Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8); encouraging your brethren to build them up (1 Thessalonians 5:11); bearing fruit through obedience to Christ (John 14:21; 15:1-4) and to minister to God in praise, prayer and worship (John 4:24; Psalm 34:3; Psalm 150:6).
In conclusion, today many believers are caught up in some form of addiction. Some are aware while others consider it as not that serious. My precious fellow believer, these addictions are given to you by the enemy of our souls to create a chasm between us and God to render us lukewarm and ultimately dragging us back into the world of sin and ungodly pleasures, BEWARE!
Are you being controlled by any addictions (such as TV, video games, gadgets, Internet, gossip magazines, and secular music)? Are you being occupied with obeying and serving God, or are you preoccupied with the things of this world? Are you in need of deliverance and are you committedly pursuing deliverance? Here is a
In Christ's Service,