Overcoming Food Addiction and Substance Abuse
For someone who has suffered the debilitating effects of addiction, overcoming can feel impossible. But, with God all things are possible! There is hope. Deliverance from the mental trap of addiction comes by focusing on the solution rather than just trying to stop the problem. Just as light dispels darkness, so meditating on and believing the solutions from God’s Word enables the believer to overcome bad habits. One of the biggest health promoting principles of the Scripture is the power given to believers when they renew their minds with God’s Word to overcome the lusts of the flesh and practice self-control.
2 Peter 1:3-6b:
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance;
It is the “divine nature” that gives power to escape corruption. Galatians 6:8 says that, “he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption.” Flesh is used in this verse to refer to the old man nature, characterized by weakness, sin and death, which is said to be “corrupt according to deceitful lusts” in Ephesians 4:22. This is the nature that defines every man until he is born again to receive the new nature from God. Though all believers become new creations in Christ the moment they are saved, ingrained habits from their old manner of life can still accompany them until they choose to change them. Regarding food addiction and substance abuse, if one makes a practice of yielding to the lust of the appetites it can result in accelerated physical corruption. Sickness is fundamentally a result of corruption in the body, the beginnings of physical death and can be caused by many things. The following verses also speak to this subject:
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
When Eve’s lust was conceived, she saw that the tree was “good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes.” When she ate, she sinned by disobeying and that resulted in death.
Romans 6:12, 16-19:
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Any number of substances could potentially be used for the wrong reasons and wrong effect. If eating, drinking, smoking or using a substance enslaves or controls a person (makes them a “servant” to it) then it is unprofitable according to 1 Corinthians 6:12. Some good questions to ask yourself are: Does desire for that thing become a consuming interest which all other activities are planned around? Does it affect sound thinking? Do you use it to produce an emotional effect that replaces that which God desires to supply? Does it interfere with your fellowship with those close to you? Is it a financial drain? If so, it can become idolatry.
This is just an excerpt from "Food in the Bible." For the full chapter, you may download the book here.