Awhile ago I was listening to a sermon that actually made me angry. Everything the Pastor said seemed to push all of my buttons. I was tempted to stop listening to him, but something made me sit quietly absorbing his words.
His sermon was about addictions with his primary focus being Alcoholism. He spoke of how our society has embraced Alcoholism as a disease which he feels is inaccurate. Personally, he said that he has a hard time putting Alcoholism in the same category as a disease such as Cancer. He went on to say that even if a person is genetically predisposed to Alcoholism a choice to drink is still involved. On the other hand, when a person is diagnosed with Cancer there is normally not a choice of whether the person will get Cancer or not. (He did acknowledge that Cancer may sometimes be a consequence of a choice – e.g. smoking might lead to Lung Cancer.)
As a recovering Alcoholic (drug addict and food addict) I felt like he was rubbing sandpaper over all of my senses. Especially, when he said that categorizing Alcoholism as a disease takes accountability off of the shoulders of an Alcoholic. It was much easier to blame my genetic heritage for a disease than it was to hear that every time I took a drink I was making a choice.
As I continued to listen to his sermon a sense of truth began to invade my heart. Then he made the following statement, “We were all created to worship. God created us to worship Him, but we’ve chosen to worship things and other people instead of God.”
The Biblical word for addictions is…idol. Anything/anyone that takes God’s place as our object of worship is an idol. Worshiping idols creates in us a “worship disorder” that ends up imprisoning us in its clutches and lies to us telling us that our idol is our savior.
My addiction to alcohol was my attempt to worship a short-term functional savior – something that would temporarily set me free from my inner turmoil and pain. The thing about worship disorders (addictions/idols) is that they make promises that they can’t deliver.
The reason I drank was to drown my sorrows. I remember on numerous occasions thinking, “If I just have a drink I’ll feel better. I won’t hurt as much. The pain will go away if I’m drunk.” Sure, that was true for a brief moment, but it was simply a bandaid that only worked for the short-term. In truth all that drinking did was keep me enslaved to the alcohol. As long as I continued to worship alcohol as my savior I would never know true freedom.
For years I jumped from one worship disorder to another. I never dealt with the root of the problem that was driving me to participate in the addictive behaviors. Our culture tends to try to change the behavior of a person (e.g. An alcoholic just needs to stop drinking to no longer be an alcoholic) instead of seeking the root that births the behavior. Whereas Jesus, helps a person uncover the root of the problem which results in a healed person followed by a change in their behaviors.
Because we were created to worship we will all worship someone or something…it is in our spiritual DNA. It is only when we choose to worship Jesus that we can be made whole – body, mind, and spirit. Once we do that He will set us free from all our worship disorders!