How to Conquer an Addiction

How to Conquer an Addiction

There is so much teaching on how to conquer an addiction, yet so many people cannot conquer their addiction. What I am going to tell you will surprise you and will contradict what many people teach regarding addictions.

The average Christian is taught that you win the battle over sin in your mind. I do not believe you can win the battle in your mind until you have committed your body to the Lord. All sin is of the flesh. It may come from the mind, but it is of the flesh. Romans 12:1-2 says, "I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice." In other words we are to make our bodies sacred to the Lord. Often times we want the body to follow the mind. But in this passage the mind follows the body. The reason why some people have problems with moral sins is because they have not set aside or sanctified their bodies as holy and acceptable to God. The first thing you must do is say, "Dear God, my body belongs to you; it is yours and not my own." You must see your body as the Temple. The carelessness with which we treat our bodies is the reason we have no control over our bodies. Paul did not say "I buffet my mind daily." He said, "I buffet my body daily." Your mind will not make your body strong. You can think exercise all day long and you won't be in better shape. Your body must be committed to exercise and eventually your mind will be transformed to desire to be in shape.

That leads me to the role the mind plays in overcoming addiction. The Bible says to "be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind". (Romans 12:2) The word conform means to take on the form of. Whatever things the world does we are not to do. The way we are reformed or transformed or transfigured takes place in the mind. However your mind cannot have a victory until your body has submitted. Let me give you an example.

A man does not become a soldier in his mind. He commits his body to becoming a soldier. In other words he sets his body aside to serve his country. Once he has done so he has submitted himself to become a soldier. The victories that he will gain come as a result of the original decision to submit his body to be a soldier. He cannot think his way to being a soldier. He must commit his body to be a soldier.

Humanism says it's all in the mind. Buddha says it's all in the mind. Christians are wrong when they say it's all in the mind. The mind is not what changes your life. What changes your life is when you commit your body. The reason you have an addiction is because you have not set your body aside. You see, you are not your own. That means your body is not yours. Your body was purchased with a price. Jesus became flesh before he fulfilled the law. Interesting. He took on the body in order that he might fulfill all righteousness. This idea of the battle being in the mind is humanism. We end up continuing to feed the flesh because we are convinced that our minds can win the battle that our bodies have not been committed to. If you want to conquer an addiction you must begin by sanctifying your body. A sanctified body cannot sin. Don't misunderstand me. You will sin. But it is when we sanctify or set apart our bodies that we begin to have victory over sin.

Do you want to win the victory over pornography? Commit your body a living sacrifice to God. You are not your own. You are bought with a price. Get up every morning, look in the mirror, and say, "Body you are not mine. I cannot do with you what I choose. I can only do with you what brings honor and glory to that one who owns you. I am his soldier." Then you begin the process of being reformed, transfigured or transformed. The reformation in the mind takes place by the renewing of your mind. The renewing of your mind means that now your mind follows your body. In other words the body doesn't follow the mind. The sinful wants of my flesh will not go away unless I sanctify my body. My mind struggles with pride my flesh struggles with sinful lust.

Paul said, "I die daily." What did he mean? He was saying, "I give my body to Christ daily."

So how do you begin the process of gaining victory. You must daily give your body to Christ. You must look at your body as not being your body. That means you cannot do with your body what pleases you. You must do with your body what pleases Him. The battle is not your mind. The battle is lust. It's your body and you want to do with it what pleases you. But if it's not your body, you can't do what pleases you.

Let me give you another example. If I buy a car from you, you do not give me the engine. You give me the body. The engine comes with the body. An engine without a body is not a car. So when I purchased the car I purchased the body and the engine came with it.

I am sorry, but this new age religion that teaches that we can think our way to holiness is absolutely satanic. You cannot think your way to victory. You must give your body to Christ so that your body does only what He would have it to do. If you want to have victory over that sin you must present your body first. I daresay that 90% of Christians have never presented their body as a living and sacred sacrifice. No matter what sin you're coming out of, the first step of victory is presenting your body holy and acceptable to God. Holy means it's been set apart. Acceptable means it will only be used for its intended purpose. What is its intended purpose? To bring glory to God.

If you want to have victory over sin you must make a decision to sanctify your body. I promise that when your body is offered up to God, your mind will begin to seek what's right through God reforming it through His Word. Your mind becomes renewed because your mind is now thinking how do I use my body for its intended purpose rather than how do I please my body for the pleasure my own desires.

Many people think that it is their mind that causes them to sin. I believe it is your mind that continues causing you to sin. However the true cause is not the mind. Our minds follow our bodies. It is the bodies lust that leads to the actions that lead to the perversion of the mind. If you are struggling with your thoughts it is because your body has not been committed to Christ. Then your mind becomes a battlefield. The challenge is understanding the fact that the way you conquer the mind is by submitting the body. Many books are written on having success in the Christian life by controlling the mind. Whenever you think your mind is what controls you, you are playing with fire. The Bible says, "For as he thinketh in his heart,so is he." (Proverbs 23:7) But what you think is a result of what your body has allowed you to do. A man (or woman) who looks at pornography is not satisfying his or her mind. He is satisfying his or her flesh. Only when that person presents their body as a living sacrifice will they cease to look at porn. The mind will still crave it, but the body cannot allow it. Eventually the refusal to satisfy the lust of the flesh will remove their conformity to the things of the world which will lead to the reformation of the mind.

Someone with a perverted mind has an uncommitted body. They fight to clean up their mind but will fail. They read their Bibles hoping that somehow the Bible will clean up their mind but it doesn't. Why? Because in the words of St. John the Baptist we have not, "brought forth therefore fruit worthy of repentance". (Matthew 3:8) In other words true repentance will be evidenced in us bringing ourselves, our bodies to God totally surrendered sanctified or set apart for Him,  Jesus gave us his body. In giving us his body he fulfilled the law. In other words the Word of God became flesh and walked among us so that we could be reformed in our flesh.

Let me give you an example. Here is a man or woman who is constantly thinking about eating junk food. They crave junk food. They have a mental desire for junk food. The mental desire for junk food will not just go away. They can think about nutritional food all they want but it will not cure their mind. One day they decide to begin exercising their body. They decide to feed their body the right things. Their body is submitted to be healthy. Eventually they are no longer conformed to the eating habits of this world. Finally their mind no longer craves the foods it once wanted to eat. Their mind is transformed into thinking about nutrition. Thinking about nutrition did not help their bodies. Committing their bodies to a regiment of healthy living changed their minds. You do not change the way you think and live healthy. You live healthy and change the way you think.

The battle is in the body and that leads to a transformation of the mind. Fight the battle in the mind and you will lose it. Submit the body and you will win the battle in the mind. Many are confused about this and it has led to a humanistic, New Age type of Christianity. Many of our Christian teachers today sound like Buddhists. They use Buddhist teachings because they believe the mind can change their lives.

You who are living with a perverted mind stop trying to change your mind. Submit your body as a living sacrifice wholly and acceptable. To do that you will have to stop conforming to the things of this world and then there will be a reformation of the mind.

One last illustration. I love mint chocolate and coffee ice cream. No you don't understand. I LOVE MINT CHOCOLATE AND COFFEE ICE CREAM. I can go into a store and I will be drawn to the frozen section where the ice cream is displayed. Once I have purchased the ice cream my mind draws me to it in the freezer. A couple of years ago I made the decision that I would not put ice cream into my body. I did not mentally talk myself into not liking or wanting ice cream. I still thought about ice cream. I still wanted ice cream. But I refused to buy it. In other words I refuse to conform. For one solid year I ate no ice cream. To this day I don't think about buying ice cream. Occasionally I will have a bowl of ice cream. Occasionally I will buy a half gallon of ice cream. But my mind is not consumed by thoughts of ice cream. I made a physical decision that led to a mental reformation.

If you want to improve your mind stop trying so hard. What is in your mind is in your mind. It was placed there by your actions. Change the actions and God will eventually reform the mind by the work of the Holy Spirit and the washing of the Word of God in your life. Remember when you commit your ways unto the Lord your thoughts will be directed and established. (Proverbs 16:3)