I was recently asked how I overcame the addictions in my life. I felt the response is well worth a share - in fact - I challenge people to read and share the next study. I believe it will be very eye-opening to those who read it.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation
(2 Corinthians 5:18-19 NKJV)

The purpose of Christ’s death was not for our sins, nor for us to go to Heaven. The Purpose of Christ’s death was to reconcile a relationship with God. Yes, the Bible says that Christ died for sins but to say that is the purpose is like saying I drive a truck to deliver loads. Yes, I drive a truck to deliver loads but that is not the purpose of my driving truck; and sin was not the purpose of Christ’s death. God wants a relationship with us (which is mind-blowing), but sin is in the way of that relationship (Isaiah 59:2). Sin needed to be removed from our lives and we need to walk in a newness of Christ, as the example, He gave so that we can have a relationship with God.

Someone once told me he had a relationship with God and I asked him what his relationship with his wife looked like. He explained, in detail, what that relationship looked like. Then I asked him what his relationship with God looked like. Now, before you continue on in this writing, I want you to stop and think about what your relationship with God looks like. In your own words, describe your relationship with God like you would the relationship with your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? When I broke down and examined my life in what I thought was a relationship with God, and I put it in a form of my relationship with my wife, it looked more like this:

I get up in the morning and tell my wife good morning. I start running around the house getting ready for work and never say another word to her. I work all day and come home. I don’t ask her how her day was but I thank her for dinner and sit down in front of the TV, play video games, and hang out with friends; never saying anything to her, never paying her any attention. I get ready for bed and say good night. This goes on day after day then the weekend comes. I go fishing with the buddies, work on the vehicle, mow the yard, watch the game and my favorite TV shows, go to the movies and go to bed. Oh, but now it’s Sunday: honey, I’ve got two hours I can spend with you this morning but it can’t run over because the church will be letting out and the restaurants will get crowded and I’ll have to wait in line. After eating I go out with the friends, watch the game, play some cards.

Is that a relationship with my wife? How long do you think the marriage will last? The Bible describes us as having a relationship with one of two entities: Christ or the world. We can not be engaged to both, we will forsake the one and love the other (Matt 6:24). Think about that statement. That means the one in which a person spends more time in is the one they actually love. Since we are either loving the world or loving Christ; and we are supposed to be, even saying we are, engaged to Christ, what does the relationship look like according to God?

I get up in the morning and say good morning to my wife. I run around the house getting ready for work, never saying another word to her. I go to work and I come home with my girlfriend. My wife prepared dinner and I thank her while I eat and talk to my girlfriend about her day and what’s going on in her life. It’s time for bed and my girlfriend goes home. I say goodnight to my wife and go to sleep. Hey, don’t worry, I’ve got two hours scheduled to spend with my wife on Sunday.

In explaining to a person who asked me how I got rid of the addictions in my life, I entered into the facts of how the purpose of Christ's death was not for sin but for a relationship with God that was divided by sin. I then painted a very convicting picture of what our lives look like in this supposed relationship with God. If you have not read the first two parts of this study, I would encourage you to do so.

How is all this relating to getting rid of an addiction? Think about the passage -
" We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).

I use to be an alcoholic and smoked. I was dating my wife at the time and one evening we were on our way home and I was wasted. A friend was driving my pickup and I had my head laying on my girlfriend (wife) shoulder. She never nagged me, she never asked me to quit, but she gently rubbed my head and ran her fingers through my hair. That evening, while laying in bed, I thought about that moment and I knew, if I did not quit my actions, I would lose that relationship. I quit alcohol on the spot with virtually no withdrawals. A month later I stopped smoking with virtually no withdrawals. It was not because Christ magically took it away - it was because of love. I’ll come back to this…

Dating is interesting. Before I started dating, I spent my money on ME, I spend my time on things I wanted to do. But, all of a sudden, when a girl would catch my interest, the way that I spent my money and the way that I spent my time changed. I no longer focused on me but I spent my money on THEM and spent my time with THEM. Think about that a minute and we’ll come back to it.

Now, I thought I loved my soon to be wife; I thought I had a relationship with her. We went through all the motions of getting married and the rituals of marriage and being married. We had the typical problems of a marriage but got along for the most part. A few years later my eyes started to wander. From “looking at the menu”, to porn mags, to porn videos, to cheating. I kept moving on as one was no longer satisfying my addiction. The very fact that I would play with another woman was proof that I did not love my wife (think about the example of our relationship with God). I went through all the motions, I followed all the rituals, but I did not really love her and our marriage did not look very good.

In 2007, I said my little sinner's prayer and asked Jesus into my heart. I did the rituals and went through all the motions of what the church says one must do to be “saved”; but I didn’t really love God and it was proving by my refusal to put down a sinful act that separated us in our relationship. In 2008 I almost got arrested and I lost everything I owned except for my car and my wife. I turned to the Bible. I was completely confused by what was written in the pages. Everything seemed to be contradictory to what is taught by the church. This was not about a prayer, it was not about asking Jesus in my heart, it was not about going to Heaven or not going to hell, it was about a relationship with God. I began to see Scripture after Scripture that said if I continue in the sin that I knew about, I would not be able to have that relationship. I knew I had to put down that sin - I wanted that relationship. THAT is how one overcomes sin (1 John 3:9; Eph 4:22-24; Gal 5:16…).

To be downright honest and blunt, the reason most people can not drop the sin is that they are missing the truth behind the purpose of Christ’s death and all the passages that say we will miss out on the relationship when we choose to continue in sin. The reason most people can not kick the addiction is that they have fallen for a false doctrine of say a prayer and ask Jesus in your heart (no passage because it’s not in the Bible) and they are magically and immediately saved and it does not really matter what they do. They miss that Christ said that many will think they are engaged but still not make it because they continued in sin (Matt 7:22-23) - sin divides our relationship. The reason they can not describe their relationship with God is that the way they spend their money never changed and the way they spend their time never changed. Yeah, sure, they may sacrifice a couple hours a week, and a few dollars in the plate; but the motivation is typically (not always) for themselves. In their motives, their money is still spent for THEIR desires and THEIR comforts; and their time is spent for THEIR pleasures and THEIR desires, and they’ve never really seen the need to change for that wonderful relationship. If we can’t describe our relationship with God, then we are missing out on a relationship with God.

It’s because of the failure by the church teachers on the focus of a relationship with God rather than a mere dying for salvation, or sin, or so we can go to Heaven, that we have the most recent statistics: 84% of Americans believe Christ is the Son of God, 77% of Americans believe they are going to Heaven, and 65% of Americans say they are born again. First question, if 65% say they are born again, how do we get 77% who think they are going to Heaven when Christ said one must be born again (John 3:3)? More disturbing still, only 4% say they live according to Biblical standards. How is it that almost 65% of Americans are fooled into thinking they are Born Again when they have not converted their life to a life following Biblical (God’s) standards?

But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph 4:20-24)

Now, once I came to this truth, I realized, like with my wife, if I continue I could lose my relationship with God. So, I quit; and after I quit, I discovered love like I’d never known. My relationship with my wife has exploded and people think we are delusional when we say that, in the past 4 plus years, we have not had a squabble, fight, or major disagreement. I could never imagine how strong a union could be. Once one has a true relationship with God, marriage is no longer a job or something to work at; it just happens. Yes, I am human and not perfect. I stumble on a very rare occasion. Those occasions are far and few between. I don’t make excuses for them and I don’t use modern cliche’s to make me feel better or to justify what I’ve done. When those stumbles come, I examine myself and often find it’s when my relationship with God, by my time and money, has been hindered by my own desires. The best marriage is made when the one loves and does for the other more than themselves. If all the husband did was to focus on the comfort and desires of his wife, he would not miss out on anything. Besides the pleasure of seeing his wife so happy and in complete love, she would be focusing all herself on the comfort of her husband and his desires. Neither one loses - in fact - both gain. This is what the relationship with God should look like. He says, put Him first and He will put you first (Matt 6:33).

I pray this study has challenged you in some way.

God Bless