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Dec 18

Addictions and the Fall of the Mighty

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Every day the news gives us more salacious allegations of malfeasance by high profile individuals. We shake our heads, wonder why, and act judgmental as we call for their heads. Frequently the issue is one of addiction.

We pass an alcoholic on the street and wonder how somebody ends up in that circumstance. Addiction starts with one step. Perhaps a 14-year-old snuck a few drinks from their parent’s liquor cabinet or engaged in underage drinking with friends at some social event. They became addicted to alcohol before they realized what they had experimented with. They probably can’t tell you the day it happened. Addictions are sneaky and can destroy anyone.


We easily judge the alcoholic and say just stop drinking; however, it’s not that easy to stop and often requires professional intervention.  This is one reason why I advise young people to abstain from alcohol entirely. No one can tell for certain if you will become addicted to alcohol until you’re on the hook. Like a fish, the longer you’re on the hook; the more difficulty you’re going to have to break free. While many people drink socially without serious consequence, the devastation of alcoholism ruins many lives.

King David, a man after God’s own heart, committed adultery and murder. (See 2 Samuel 11.) We read, “The LORD became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.” (1 Kings 11:9, NIV) Both men were blessed beyond measure by the Lord and accomplished great things.  However, I have seen how success breeds arrogance and opens the door to becoming addicted to money, power and/or sex.

Solomon “had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.” (1 Kings 11:3, NIV) Any person with 1000 women demonstrates an addiction to sex.

Power also addicts. In the extreme we see this power addiction in historic figures like Adolf Hitler, Mao Tse-tung, Joseph Stalin and many others. They murdered, pillaged and invaded countries simply because they could.

The accumulation of money can also be addictive.  Those with very large amounts of money have the ability to purchase whatever they lay their eyes upon. We see this in Charles Dickens’ illustration of Scrooge before his conversion.

The only way to avoid addictions is to seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit every day and to discipline ourselves by avoiding taking the first step toward any addicting appetite. When we decline the first drink, marijuana joint, or refuse to exercise inappropriate power over others; the Lord will give the strength to keep saying “no.”

At times, I confess, I have started to use power inappropriately because I could. In one situation I allowed my emotions to dictate firing a vendor. Granted I had some cause, but in this instance I needed to communicate more effectively rather than getting ticked off and ending a relationship I should have worked harder to resolve. In this instance the Lord showed me I was wrong.  I called the vendor to apologize and we worked out a plan to go forward. If I failed to listen to the Lord, my sinful behavior would have grown and become cancerous. For me it was an example of stopping sin in its tracks.

I understand, but do not condone how a movie producer could call a gorgeous young lady to his hotel room to discuss a potential movie contract. When the producer starts putting a move on the prospective star she knows that if she refuses his advance; then any possibility of a movie contract is gone. The temptations that the producer and actress succumb to are intense.  It’s not easy to say no.

When I encountered issues of workplace harassment and inappropriate relationships, I usually could see that the problem started with a small misstep. It is always easier to repent after the first sinful choice or avoid it completely than to allow sin to fester.

In business, it is easy to be tempted to sin, by cheating customers, telling untruths, inappropriately using power or money, or becoming arrogant. Only by embracing the empowerment of the Holy Spirit are we able to avoid these kinds of actions that will consume us as an addiction.

I have also witnessed the deliverance of individuals from alcoholism, drugs, sexual addiction as well as those who have stepped back from the addicting lure of money and power. Only through God’s grace are we able to avoid or walk away from the sin traps that are everywhere.  Pray for that empowerment and God will always answer yes.

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