Yesterday we started looking at life dominating sins, otherwise known as addictions. Addictions are idols of the heart that we love more than we love the Lord. We try to deny this and are pretty effective at smothering that truth much of the time. Some of the things considered addictions would be:
Alcohol Drugs Gambling Love Exercise Sleep
Nicotine Pain Food Shopping Cocaine Chocolate
People Work Sugar Sports Lying Shoplifting
Stealing Nose drops Sex Caffeine Television Internet
All these things have a common bond in that they can bring pleasure and evoke emotion. They deliver an experience to the senses and we find many of them very pleasurable and desire to have them frequently. Several of them provide a full-body experience, affecting your whole being. Not all of those things are sinful by themselves, but they all could be sinful if they become a larger part of our lives than is appropriate.
We know that we have a problem when we are denied one of those things or we can't get enough of them. People who are considered addicted are seemingly unable to let go of that substance or person even when having that (or them) as a part of their life causes pain and problems. They seem to not be able to let go, even when the pain of the pursuit and the consequences are very costly.
There are many lies they tell themselves to facilitate their addictions as well. The drunk or drug user rationalizes that just one more won't hurt, the person involved in some sexual sin says the immediate pleasure is worth it, the gambler or thief thinks they might hit it big this time, and very few people think they will ever really get caught.
Our culture sure encourages self-indulgence, doesn't it? A person with a life dominating sin experiences many conflicting emotions as a result of their desires. They express feelings of being trapped, out of control, desperate, in bondage, stuck, enslaved, controlled, and will often express being hopeless. At the same time they will describe feeling more alive, and alert when they are indulging their desires. Things that bring us such intense pleasure feed our flesh and cause us to want more and more of it.
Some substances will bring a physical dependency over time and others are fairly immediately addictive. Once a person discontinues use of a biologically addictive agent they will begin the process of withdrawal which is painful and can be medically dangerous.
The addictions of the heart, or the flesh can be equally painful and longer lasting. Consider the person who quits their addiction to cigarettes; some say that years after secession of smoking they still have that craving for a cigarette. That thought that rolls around in their heads and causes a yearning and a hunger.
This is truly where all addiction/life dominating sin begins.