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How can I overcome tough addictions?

Some months ago an anonymous “Please Help!” letter arrived with no return address. Let me share it with you.

Dear Lifetime Guarantee Friends,Would you please write something encouraging for those of us who try to allow the exchanged life to occur but still fall victim to our past habits of pornography, fornication, overeating, etc. … Why doesn’t this work for us? How do we continue to serve in the kingdom?

There is such a thing as really tough flesh. While Bill talks about “eight lane green highways,” addictive-type problems may well be 12-laners. These addictions do not just happen; there is profound rejection somewhere in the past. But, like all flesh problems, this person is trying to fill a need for love that was never legitimately met. Maybe Dad was passive as milk toast while Mom ran the family with an iron fist. Maybe Dad was Mr. Macho (“No son of mine is gonna play the piano!“) and had the poor kid running football drills when he was three. When he couldn’t do the 50 in 10 seconds he mutilated the kid’s character. Maybe Mom and Dad wanted a boy in the worst way and “all they got” was a girl. Dad never touched her, called her his “princess” or gave her the time of day. Mom, desperate to please her husband and frustrated that she couldn’t, blames the little girl for her wrecked marriage.

Do you get the picture? The little boy never learned how to male and the little girl never learned how to female. This is how homosexual flesh is made. This is how addiction to pornography begins. This is often how habits of such as overeating are developed. It runs deep, wide and green. Make no mistake — this born-again believer is not a homosexual, not an addict, not a womanizer or seductress. He or she is a new creation in Christ who has not yet aligned his or her thinking and behavior up with his or her true identity.

If you are a Christian trapped in this hellhole of despair, there is hope and there is victory to be had. First, know that your need is legitimate, but it is not primarily a physical need. It is a need for confident awareness of your new spiritual identity, and the physical results of that reality. Living by faith is a knowing, not a feeling. Listen to the paraphrased, personal words of Paul from Philippians 4:19, “My God is able to supply all My needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” He is able.

Second, give us a call or write and let us send you our Tough Flesh study sheet. It is an expansion of the thoughts in this column as well as a list of resources, which you will find helpful in dealing with this problem or in helping a friend who is stuck in these addictive behavioral patterns. We might also be able to identify a counselor in your area who can walk with you as Christ in you destroys this stronghold. He is able.