A BORN-AGAIN BELIEVER

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ADDICTED TO GOD

Everything good in your life comes from God.

It might come THROUGH people or nature or something else, but it originates in God.

God and God alone is the source of all goodness.

I mention this, because people (including born-again believers) sometimes have a tendency to take credit for good things when they happen, or to attribute good things to other people or to anything other than God. We must be careful not to do that. We must be careful always to thank God for blessings, understanding that he’s behind all of them.

God doesn’t get offended when we misdirect our thank-you’s, but we miss out on the blessings that come with thanking him. When you leave God out of the thank-you equation, you lose. Go ahead and thank people, by all means (lest they get hurt or offended), but don’t forget to thank God.

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Bad habits that keep you from being on target with God’s will are not something that you can break on your own or in isolation (that is, one at a time). For instance, wanting to quit smoking without understanding why you smoke in the first place will only lead to your failure. I have spoken with dozens of people (including Christians) over the past few years who are desperate to quit smoking but find they simply cannot do it. Their desire to inhale nicotine-laced smoke is stronger than their desire to quit.

Addictions are sensory- and memory-based. Even the thought of smoking gives addicted smokers the same sensation as actual inhalation of nicotine smoke. In fact, for some addicts, thinking about the addicted behavior is more satisfying than actually doing it. That’s because the thought of the desired addicted behavior releases the same chemical in the addict’s brain (dopamine) as is released during the the execution of the addicted behavior. Which is also why it’s so difficult to quit addictions like smoking, as you’re fighting not only the physical desire for nicotine, but also the strong memory of how it satisfies you, which is accompanied by a dopamine rush. Such a powerful force cannot be overcome just by wanting it to be overcome.

The day I was born-again, I went from drinking 6 to 8 drinks a day to drinking none. I had no desire to drink alcohol in the months following my rebirth. I did start to drink again later, but only sparingly and socially (one drink a few times a week). And then I stopped altogether.

I mention this because I’d been an alcoholic since I was a teenager. I’d been drinking heavily almost daily for 20 years before I was reborn. I never thought about quitting and would likely still be drinking heavily had I not turned to God. I’m not against alcohol per se (Jesus drank socially, and his first public miracle was turning water into wine), I’m just against alcohol for me.

But I know I could never have quit on my own or through any kind of a program or buddy/mentor system. Alcohol was my “medicine” that I legitimately thought I had the right to take. It was my default when things got stressful or hectic, or when I was feeling down or in the mood for a party. I used any excuse to drink, so that over the years nearly every activity I did was memory-stamped with alcohol and the initial euphoria it induced in me.

Such a pervasive addiction would have been almost impossible for me to escape on my own. I’m strong-willed, but not that strong-willed. I thank God that he sprang me from alcohol addiction not because I asked him to, but because whatever alcohol gave me, God then gave me instead. The reliance on alcohol was turned into a reliance on God, so that whenever I felt stressed or depressed, I turned to God. If I was unhappy with something, I turned to God. God rather than alcohol became my default, but this change I could not have arranged on my own. It came through submission to God and only through submission to God and was ultimately effected by God, not by me. First came my submission to God, then came my healing from addiction.

There is no other way to be fully healed from addiction than through divine intervention (in other words, a miracle). But it first requires full submission to God. Prayer – however fervent – without full submission to God will not stop the addiction.

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Do you have an addiction that you’re trying to quit? Stop thinking about your efforts to overcome it and focus instead on submitting yourself, body and soul, to God. The more you submit to God, the less power your addiction has over you. The more you submit to God, the more dependent you become on him and the more you will turn to him for all your needs rather than to drugs or to people. Fully submitting yourself to God will not only solve all your problems, it will give you the best ongoing high you’ve ever had, without any hangover or other nasty withdrawal symptoms.

If you have only one addiction during the rest of your time on Earth, let it be to God. We’re made to be addicted to him. Let your dopamine rush come from thinking about God and spending time with God. Let it come from just thinking about spending time with God. Let your focus be on him and him only, and he will get rid of everything that doesn’t belong in your life. You won’t have to do a thing. That’s a scriptural guarantee:

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness,

and everything you need will be given to you.”

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All good things come from God. He is the originator and source of all goodness. Goodness can come through people and things, yes, but it originates in God. He sets it in motion. He sends it to you.

May your addiction be only and always to God.