Invitation to Exchange Addictions

"Take captive every thought..."

Here’s a brief “addiction survey.”  If you want to know what you’re addicted to, take a moment and consider the following questions:

What thoughts tend to occupy your mind most of the time?  When you aren’t focused on solving a problem, working on a project, or actively engaging in some kind of activity, where do you find your mind drifting to?  When you’re in a conversation, what thoughts tend to run through your mind in the background while you’re listening to the other person?  When you’re praying, what topics tend to come up over and over between you and God?

It’s very likely that the primary subject of your thought-life is related to an addiction.  Let me illustrate.

One of my addictions is food.  Yes, I’m a “foodie.”  I love to cook it, eat it, create recipes for it, eat it, share it with friends, and of course, eat it!  When I’m not eating food, I’m often thinking about what I would like to eat, where I will eat next, what groceries I need to buy to make a particular meal, etc.

Unfortunately, food occupies an inordinate amount of space in my thought-life.  As a result, my thought-life spills over into my real life and is lived out as an addiction (and carried on my body as extra weight).

Another way I recognize this addiction is the fact that when I’m not thinking about food, I’m thinking about losing weight, or whether I should try my friend’s new diet because it really seems to be working for her, or how many clothes I can’t wear because they no longer fit.  I know that food and weight issues are too important to me.  I wish that weren’t the case, but I’m just being real.  This is where my mind often goes.

Perhaps you can’t relate to this particular addiction.  So let’s look at another possible scenario.  Someone who is addicted to money or control, for example, might have an inner thought-life that goes something like this:

“Our money is so tight!  And now I’ve got a kid getting ready for college, and my spouse needs a small medical procedure, and the family reunion is coming up and I don’t know how I’m going to afford plane tickets, and I feel guilty for not tithing to the church.  How are we going to pay for everything?  It feels so overwhelming!  How can I keep everyone happy?  How will we be able to keep the house if I lose my job?  Why doesn’t God show me what to do or how to fix things?  I can’t even sleep well anymore because of my acid stomach and churning thoughts.  I’m just going to have to work harder and hang on tighter to what we’ve got.”

Addictions come in all shapes and sizes.  Slowly read the following list and consider if any of these things might be addictions in your life:  food, money, sex, approval, perfectionism, the internet, relationships, dieting, achievements, possessions, caffeine, success, exercise, alcohol, control, adrenaline, narcotics, television, status quo, chocolate, or busyness. (The list could go on and on.)

Did you happen to notice that most of the things on this list are actually good things?  But they become addictions when they’re pushed out of balance.  An addiction is anything we are compulsively drawn to, often becoming a habit.  It’s anything that controls us, anything that takes center stage in our heart and mind, squeezing God out to the edge.  My guess is that if we’re honest, most of us have at least one area of our life where a thing, person, or activity is out of balance and is doing damage.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there.

Today, God invites us to surrender our addictions to things, people, or activities and exchange them with an “addiction” to Him.  God is the only “addiction” that is good for us.  We can never have too much of God.  No matter how much God you currently have in your life, there is always room for more.  There is always more of God to be discovered and experienced, because He is infinite.

He wants to take center stage in our lives, starting with our thought-life.  2 Corinthians 10:5 encourages us to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”  As we examine our thoughts and seek to fill our mind with God’s thoughts, we begin to change from the inside-out.  We experience the reality that “those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”  (Romans 8:5)

I’m making a commitment to more closely monitor my thought-life in the coming days and seek to put thoughts of God and the truth of His Word on center stage.  My desire is to have my mind so engrossed with the things of God that food is what gets pushed to the edge of my life.  As I take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ, I look forward to watching food have less control over me and God have more control.

If you’re open to attempting this “thought-life” experiment, please let me know how it goes.  Take a moment and write a comment below this blog and share your story.  It will encourage me and others as we seek to “exchange addictions.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: