Share This Episode
Running to Win Erwin Lutzer Logo

Paths To Addiction Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
January 21, 2021 1:00 am

Paths To Addiction Part 1

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

On-Demand NEW!

This broadcaster has 294 show archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

January 21, 2021 1:00 am

Like those stuck in quicksand, runners in life’s race cannot win if they’re caught up in addictions of any kind. In this message, we’ll trace the roots of addiction, then point the way toward freedom—freedom to live the abundant life God intended for His children.

 Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)

COVERED TOPICS / TAGS (Click to Search)
Dr Erwin W Lutzer Lutzer Pastor Lutzer Christianity gospel sermons running
The Urban Alternative
Tony Evans, PhD
Finding Purpose
Russ Andrews
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts
The Christian Worldview
David Wheaton
The Daily Platform
Bob Jones University

Looking to Jesus and those stuck in quicksand. Renters and whites, race, and addictions of any kind will trace the roots of addiction, then points the way toward freedom.

Freedom to live the abundant life God intended for his children.

The church in Chicago. This is when Sir was clear teaching helps us make it across the pasture loser organized crime capitalizes on one form of addiction to drugs, but addiction takes many forms. Today will be talking about the pathways to addiction, Dave. That certainly is true and there's so many different forms of addiction. As you mentioned, we won't list them all except to say this, and I love the way you described it as runners in quicksand. They just can't make progress because they always keep being pulled back. That's why this message is so incredibly important. And of course our hope is that we might be able to point people to the cure the past does not have to control your future on ask you something.

Did you know that the great preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon struggled with deep depression. CS Lewis writes of seasons of intense grief. Christians know that God gave us emotions now as a farm boy. I remember when we would have what was called a runaway. The horses would take over and no matter what the driver did the horses kept going where they wanted to go.

That's the way our emotions are at times it seems as if we just can't control them, and if we don't they're going to lead us astray. I've written a book entitled managing your emotions. God's good gifts gone wrong very important book for a gift of any amount.

It can be yours. Here is what you do go to RTW that's RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 now I'm going to be giving you that contact information at the end of this message. For now, let us concentrate on the terrible problem of addiction and the hope that God offers when we are in New York we heard that during the days when heroin was big on the streets of New York City.

Alex crack in some other kinds of drugs.

There was a heroin addict two is absolutely determined to break the habit and he wondered how he could do it they was going to lock himself in his room, but he realized that that wouldn't work because of you lock yourself in. Somehow you can find your way out. So he changed it one of his hands to the radiator thinking that this would do it. He would have to stay there. He could not go out onto the street but with one free hand he eventually was able to to take care of that radiator, perhaps with a wrench that was nearby and unscrew it and he walked down the steps and onto the street carrying the radiator so that he could get another fix and he explained it this way. He said heroin has a voice and when it calls you have to go some of you have heard that voice, haven't you, it may not be the voice of heroin, but it may be the voice of alcoholism, the voice of sexual addiction.

The voice of pornography. The voice of gambling for some of you it is the voice of cigarettes when it calls you must go curse it a thousand times and it returns with his greater force is ever what you know that this is a series of messages titled why good people do bad thing is we talked about such issues as our desires because we are desire driven, as we shall see. Also in this mess we've spoken of Shane. We talked about the impact of the family.

We've talked about anger.

Today we are going to talk about addictions and if you think that this doesn't apply to you because you don't think of yourself as an addict in a sense, it applies to all of us because an addiction is nothing more than the blinding self absorption of sin and even those of us who don't consider ourselves addicts. We've all been there were all on some kind of a continuum. So what we'd like to do today is to begin by talking about how the human race. God where it is and then of course we are going to leave you in darkness, we are going to leave you changed it to that radiator were going to set you free.

We won't, Christ is able to. As we talk about our great deliverer. That's the agenda for the next few moments. Romans chapter 1 take your Bibles and turn we shall be there, at least briefly, because I want you to understand how we got where we are as a human race. The apostle Paul outlines basically the human race and how it fell from God, but in a sense this is the story of every one of us.

I shall read a few verses from chapter 1 verse 21 for although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claim to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal men and to birds and animals and reptiles. How did we get the way we are as a human race will first of all, it says that the human race exchanged light for darkness. We just read it and what you need to understand is that people who are walking in darkness think it is light. That's the part that so deceiving about sin. If you were to talk to people who are practicing what this chapter is about. They would never say no I'm walking in darkness. Some of them might, but most of them would say this is liberation. This is a light so notice the exchange light for darkness. They exchange the creature for the creator and they began to worship the creation.

That's what the Bible speaks about and certainly we see this no more clearly than in addiction were that particular substance or that particular experience is worship as the centripetal force of somebody's life is the hub into which all other spokes come together than notice. Also, they changed the truth of God into the live I'm there in verse 25 where it says that expressly they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the creator was God blessed forever. Amen. And lying at the heart of that worship is the worship of self. I am my own God. I have a right to fulfill my own desires. I have a right to call my own shots, and as a result of that, we find that here in this chapter, you have the deepest and darkest and clearest picture of addiction imaginable. Notice what the Bible says three times God gave them over verse 24 therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts. Notice verse 26. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Verse 28. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind. Can you find anyone more addicted to sin than someone from whom God has removed his hand and simply say let them do whatever he wants to do what bondage I'd like us to look at these verses and make some observations on what we just read first of all I want you to notice that this is the history of the human race. But as I pointed out, it's the history of all of us because we've all been there. We were all in some kind of a continuum and later on the apostle Paul lists all the sins, many of which we may struggle with. We think first of homosexuality, which is the focus of some of these verses. This past week we heard a marvelous story of a man who came through a terrible, terrible experience because his wife left the marriage for a lesbian lifestyle. Any kept crying out to God, saying God I want you to show me how this could have happened. 15 years later she came back and explained how it happened, a high school teacher had seduced her into the lifestyle you know the Bible says here in verse 32 that those who do these things not only approve of them. The things that they do, but also approve we could add seduce those who do them. What a lifestyle is not just homosexuality. You'll notice that he lists 21 different sins this morning. I debated whether I should read them all and II think I will still notice it says in verse 29. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed, depravity, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful. They invent ways of doing evil they disobey their parents. They are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. I read this and I think God how can you know the human heart, so well.

He lists it old to see.

So even though this is the discussion of the human race in a sense, were all a part of it.

Secondly notice that all sins listed replace God we've already emphasized that sin always makes the same promises that God does. That's why so attractive Jesus that I am come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.

Alcohol says if you really want a life it's here in the bottle. The Scripture says that God is the one who is never going to leave us nor forsake us.

Sin comes along and says that I will be here to give you that euphoric experience. I will be here if you gamble money will be with you until the day you die, you can depend upon it. It's not like God who is invisible. I can give you something that's visible in a bottle or a needle or in a bank account.

I can give you something that actually work at the deception of sin. It replaces God. Notice that in each instance the sin becomes the master and that the person who commits the sin becomes the slave people say well how do these addictions develop well the answer is all that you need to do is to commit little sins and harden your heart against them, and keep those little sins in your heart and then in increments continue to sin more greatly, always believing the illusion that you are in charge.

Alexander Pope was right when he wrote device is a monster of so frightful and meanness to be hated needs, but to be seen yet seen to off, familiar her face. We first endure, then pity, then embrace and I think of the number of people I have met in my pastoral ministry who have said there was something in life.

I said I would never do. And now I've done it, the deceitfulness of sin and of course all God's demand sacrifice.

The true God demands a sacrifice. And, believe me. Sin demands a sacrifice. People say of an alcoholic. Does he not care about his family. The answer is no, he doesn't disc family has to be sacrificed upon the altar of his drink, because all that matters is that precious bottle and as a result of that, all kinds of sacrifices are made in order to fulfill these desires. You'll notice also that sin therefore can zoom easily out of control. Could I say that in verse 32. Also, I think you have a hint of the transformation of the personality.

You'll notice that the Bible says they know better. Down deep, although they know and actually yes it is. Verse 32 although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things, but approve of those who practice them. You know there is such a thing as an addictive personality. The addictive personality is driven by the sense of euphoria and the trance that is created by the addiction member talking to a sex addict. He said that on Wednesday on Tuesday and Wednesday when I was working in the factory. All that I was thinking about is what I was already planning on Friday and he said the very act of thinking about it brought such a sense of ecstasy to my heart. I became weak inside from the top of my head to the soles of my feet. There was this sensation that seem to overcome me.

It was almost as if I was in a trance and all that.

I thought about. I could not think about the consequences. My mind was blinded to that.

All that mattered was that experience and then each time as he did whatever it was that he was doing.

He'd have to involve himself in more risk. The next time to get the same sense of ecstasy on and on it goes until you live in this trance world over here and then you live in the real world over here you go from one world to another, of folks I'm describing something that is terrible that all of you and myself included, are capable when a diagnosis of the human hearts of the alcoholic drinks in order to solve problems that his drinking created the gambler continues to gamble hoping that he'll be able to win back the money that he squandered the last time he was gambling and the sex addict goes for another experience in order to cover the deadness of the pain and the emptiness that was left behind after his last experience and on and on it goes to listen to what the Bible says about sin you sable can't they get out of that. Well I'm reading from the book of Proverbs for a man's ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all of his paths. The evil deeds of the wicked man ensnares him the cords of his sin to hold him fast. He will die for lack of discipline and be led astray because of his own great folly.

The cords of sin hold him fast where some of those cords. One is denial. Denial.

We talked about this and other messages were a protective shell is developed because remember the truth of God turns into a lie and from now on all that's going to matter is this is the center of a man's life as he begins to think about the sins that he wants to commit and the euphoria that he receives he becomes cunning he becomes devious he becomes one whose word cannot be trusted. He lies even when the truth would serve him as well and you and you reason with him, and there is no possibility of rational reasoning at the think some of you have experience that you so is it as plain as the nose on your face that you're destroying yourself and your family. He simply does not see it because everything is deflected everything is misinterpreted everything comes through the grid of this awesome deadly power of sin and as a result, he builds that protective shell so that he can sink more deeply into his world of trance and so the same time, people are kept at a one of the snares that hold fast the second is shame and guilt if he were to come clean the were to come clean all the price he thinks he would have to pay because he have to finally admit it.

You see there's a part of him that has to remain secret and he does things to make him convince himself that he's not as bad as one part of him thinks he is.

The other day I was at another conference and I was taken to the airport by man whose wife was molested by her grandfather and before he did those things he would always buy her hymnals because she loved to play hymns that she had to play hymns for him before he did it. So, how depraved can a man get both you see in his mind, he's thinking. See, I'm not that bad. I'm a very generous person. In fact I go to church.

In fact I buy hymnals to see the deception of the human heart. And then of course there are those who tell themselves I'm not really addicted.

I'm reminded of the words of Mark Twain. I've smiled over the many many times throughout the years when he said I'm not addict to cigarettes.

He said I can give it up anytime I want. I've given it up 1000 time, we deceive ourselves, so the addict is faced with these increased desires with decreasing satisfaction. The cords of sin hold him fast and he begins to think there is no way out is a word about those of you who may live with addicts of one kind or another.

There is such a thing as being an enabler which is sometimes destructive because you sable what's the answer over getting to the answer. Don't be too will be too anxious here but Jesus did say that the truth sets people free but you see many of these people are insulated from the truth. That's the purpose of the whole shell of denial is to insulate themselves. So if you're an enabler. If you live for him.

If you bail him out of jail. If you're the kind of person who pops up after him after the vomit or whatever, you know what will happen is that you will be enabled to continue that lifestyle would you need to do is to realize that only reality only the truth can set them free and there are many many stories of people who finally were set free. When the truth finally dawned in all of its ugly reality. So there's that part of it.

Also little word of of encouragement here you know there are people who actually have learned that it's possible to help someone to reach the bottom more quickly with family members gathering around and simply simply telling that person what his lifestyle is doing to each of them so that reality somehow sinks in. When people come to Christ and are converted their actual desire eventually leaves them a new heart, I will give you.

I will take out the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh says the Scripture. There is a part of you that hate sin. There is a part of you that loves righteousness.

There's a part of you that wants to please God. Yes, all that is true but, of course, is all of us know the struggle continues. But thank God we can be on the winning side. I'm so thankful for the opportunity of ministering to so many people through the ministry of radio and of course also the Internet and I want to thank the many of you who are a part of this ministry, we hear it running to win always want to offer resources that we think will be of tremendous help to you. I've written a book entitled managing your emotions.

God's good gifts gone wrong.

One of the things about this book is. It also comes at the end of every chapter with questions great opportunity for group discussion now for a gift of any amount. This book can be yours.

Here's what you do go to RTW that's RTW or if you prefer you can call us at 1-888-218-9337 want to thank you in advance for standing with us because together we are making a difference in the messages that you are listening to our going out eventually around the world thanks to technology.

Here's how you can contact us RTW or call us at 1-888-218-9337 it's time again for you to ask Pastor looks or a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Today's question deals with games of chance. Bill emailed us this question gets right to the point is gambling in line with Christian teachings and if not why not.

Well Bill, thank you so much for your email and I'm very very glad to be able to respond to your question, it is true that there is not a commandment in Scripture that says thou shalt not gamble but I certainly agree with Augustine, the great theologian who said that the devil invented gambling and I really do believe it is the devil who invented it.

Let me give you some reasons why think that gambling is sin. First of all because it ridicules work as a means to obtain money. You know here in Chicago there was an ad that people could see as they drove by and he had to said that there are two ways to earn $1 million. One is to work hard and the other is to gamble, so you are a fool. As the saying goes, if you work in order to gain money when all that you need to do is to play the lottery when you and I know that there are tons of people who give money that should be used for their children's clothes and for food and that money is going to gambling. I believe that gambling is legalized, stealing, actually. Now you sable pastor Luther that's too harsh because aren't the people doing this voluntarily there voluntarily giving up their money. Yes, they are but I think it's something like taking money from a drunk, he might give it to you voluntarily but should you take it morally. I don't think so. So I tend to think that gambling really is stealing now. I could go on about gambling and all of its effects. That would be a huge huge answer that I could give, but I want to end with one passage of Scripture that may be speaks to gambling like no other. The Bible says in Proverbs chapter 12 verse 11 he who works with his hands and with his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies, lacks judgment, in my opinion, anyone who gambles is chasing fantasies he's going to lose his families going to lose and he lacks judgment. Thank you Dr. Luther for that clear answer to Bill's question.

If you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our

There you can click on ask Pastor looks or will be able to write your question in or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us run into when 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago 60614 behavior. It always starts with small steps that lead to bigger steps.

Soon the addict is trapped there is a way to rejoin the race of life. Next time on our broadcast steps you can take break free from addiction and get your life back on track running to win is sponsored the move nature

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime