Proverbs 23:29-35; Matthew 25:15-30; Mark 10:17-27; John 3:36; 1 Corinthians 7:2-5; 1 Peter 3:3, 4
In a moment of weakness, we may (against our better judgment) try something only to discover that it becomes a destructive way of life. Fortunately God offers freedom from addictions.
Local phonebook, copies of “7 Signs of Addiction” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barb-rogers/seven-signs-of-addiction_b_519194.html)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Brainstorm a list of addictions. Discuss each addiction, asking questions such as: “What appeal does this addiction have? What are some possible consequences of this addiction? What steps could a person take to be healed of this addiction?”
- Read and discuss the article “7 Signs of Addiction.” Do you agree or disagree this article? Why or why not?
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- Addictions are powerful. If we are battling an addiction, what help can we find both from God and from fellow Christians?
- Thought Questions
Read Proverbs 23:29-35. What does this text tell us about the effects of drinking alcohol?
- This text is talking only about getting drunk, not about drinking in moderation.
- Alcohol is often used to ease emotional pain. Shouldn’t we be taking that pain to God for healing?
- Although alcohol tastes good, it is actually a poison to our bodies.
- Alcohol blurs the mind and impairs the thought processes.
- When the alcohol “buzz” is gone, we crave it more and more.
Read 1 Corinthians 7:2-5. Considering that God created Adam and Eve as sexual beings, what does this text tell us about our sexuality?
- Sexual expression in a committed relationship is something created and encouraged by God.
- God wants us to experience monogamous intimacy, not to be physically lonely.
- God wants us to love our spouse freely instead of living selfishly.
- We should be intimate even when we don’t feel like it or even if we have unresolved issues.
- Sex with your partner should only be stopped for a time, by mutual consent and for good reason.
Read Mark 10:17-27. What harmful things can happen when we’re addicted to money and possessions?
- We begin to rely on ourselves rather than on God.
- We start to feel invincible and believe that we can buy our happiness or security.
- We become more selfish and turn inward, never feeling that we have enough.
- We begin to think we have a higher status than others and feel no remorse when oppressing the poor.
- Wanting a lot of money isn’t bad, as long as we’re returning tithe and giving to others.
Read Matthew 6:19-21 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. We can become so obsessed with our looks that keeping a certain look becomes an addiction. What truths do these texts teach us about beauty?
- True beauty doesn’t come from how our hair looks or how fancy our clothes are.
- True beauty comes from within, and inner beauty is precious to God.
- We can obtain inner beauty only by striving to have a heart like God’s.
- The material things of this earth will someday disappear.
- The only things that will last are the things we store up in heaven: our relationships with Jesus and others.
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: Create a skit with three characters: an addict, a concerned friend, and an observer. The friend discusses with the addict his or her concerns about the addiction. The observer calls time and reflects on what he or she liked about the approach taken by the friend and what would make the encounter more productive next time. Trade roles and role-play again.
- Option 2: Look through your local phonebook or use online services to find names and numbers of credible agencies that deal with addictions. Rough out a sketch of a bulletin insert that lists these resources. Ask your pastor if he or she would help to include this information in the bulletin next week.
- Option 3: Invite your community to come and hear a Christian specialist speak at your church about addictive behaviors and how to overcome them. Work with your pastor and fellow members to advertise, invite friends, etc.
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- Be honest with yourself and ask, “Do I have an addiction?” If the answer is “Yes,” read John 8:36. Jesus promises that you can be free, but you have to take the first step. Go to someone you trust and ask that person to help you find the help you need.
- If you’re suffering guilt from past mistakes (whether they’re addictions or not), Jesus wants to free you from that guilt. Read 1 John 1:9. Confess your sin. Believe that you’re forgiven! Spend daily time with Jesus asking that your old habits be replaced with healthy new ones that are not addictive.
Next Week’s Scripture Focus:
Genesis 1:27–2:25; 3; Psalm 19:1-7; 104; Jeremiah 10:12, 13; Matthew 6:25-34