Addiction has become almost trendy in our North American culture; not to make light of it. But it has become a dominant component of our lexicon and how we think about destructive issues, culturally. For the rest of this short post I will briefly reflect upon ‘addiction’ and how it fits with God.
I have struggled with certain ‘addictions’ to certain patterns of behavior etc., as I am sure we all as fleshy human beings have. But what I have come to notice is that the concept of ‘addiction’ has come to take on an idolatrous kind of altitude in the way we think. We have come to identify certain behaviors and our sometimes lock-step with said patterns (whatever that might be) to a special extra-ordinary level; and then with other patterns of behavior (culturally) things that used to be considered destructive ‘addictions’ have become normalized and normative patterns of human reality and day to day existence.
My concern though, as I alluded to above, is that ‘addiction’ has been given much too much power for its own good. Do we as human beings get stuck in ‘ruts’ and enslaved to pet and particular patterns of behavior that are destructive? Yes! But when we start giving into this culturally conceived notion of ‘addiction’ I think that we kind of start taking on a victim mentality, and we attribute special statuses to certain types of addiction that are seen as addictions in our society (or at least behaviors that are evidently destructive in our lives, personally, and in the lives of others). I think that when we fall prey to this in uncritical ways we end up elevating these ‘addictions’ to levels that can become greater than God and his power to intervene, subvert, and reverse such behavior. We end up short changing the relevance and power of who God is and what he has done for us, and is doing for us through the cross and currently in High Priestly session at the right hand of the Father. In other words, I think we have created (culturally) a category (i.e. “addiction”) that annexes God from the picture, and leaves us to ourselves (and so we seek out means of overcoming our addiction that requires something more special than appeal to God’s intervention in our lives – so idolatry).
I do believe that there are patterns of behavior (sinful ones) that when cultivated and engaged in over time can actually begin to impact our physiological make-up. But, and to the point, what Jesus did at the cross is not some abstract nether-worldly reality that has no concrete or bodily impact upon our thoughts and behaviors physiologically; to the contrary! As Christians we believe in an actualized, physicalized, and bodily death, burial and resurrection of Jesus; not only that, we believe in a bodily ascension, priestly session (currently at the right hand of God), and second coming of Jesus for us. So there aren’t, then, patterns of sinful addictive behavior that are outside the bounds of his domain and control; he is Lord, and his life has so deeply penetrated our lives, that by the Spirit, this can and should have concrete and bodily impact upon us, even in our deepest and most wanton (i.e. ‘addicted’) ways.
My basic point in this post is simply to identify that there is nothing greater than God in Christ. As Christians we don’t worship a Platonic deity who lives in some perfect, mystically spiritual world that has remained untouched by our waywardness. Instead we worship a God who became flesh, took our dark, destructive hearts with him to the cross, put that to death (Rom. 8.3), and recreated us with himself in his resurrection and ascension (Rom. 6–8). This isn’t only a hope and reality for the future, but it is this future reality and hope that breaks in on us moment from moment in bodily and real life ways from moment to moment, day to day. There is no addiction greater than God in Christ; that is my point!
4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. I John 4.4