Series Code: RQRA
Program Code: RQRA000011A
00:01 The following program deals with subject matter
00:03 that may be inappropriate for younger children.
00:07 Parental discretion is advised.
00:11 I don't understand
00:14 why did this have to happen to me.
00:17 I feel like I just can't make sense of things.
00:22 I need answers.
00:25 Where is God?
00:32 Hello and welcome to Raw Questions Relevant Answers.
00:36 This is a program where we look at the questions
00:38 that you've sent,
00:39 and we try to answer them from a biblical perspective
00:42 using the Word of God.
00:44 My name is Michelle Doucoumes,
00:45 and these are my co-hosts Mark Paden and Dee Casper.
00:49 Today, we're going to be going into a topic
00:51 that we started in a previous episode on addictions.
00:55 And I will forewarn you that some of these questions
00:57 are pretty big and raw questions.
01:00 In fact, if you have young children watching right now,
01:03 you may want to use caution
01:05 or you may even want to not have them in the room
01:08 for some of these topics.
01:10 And so that's just something to consider as we go forward.
01:13 But these are some real questions
01:15 that we've received.
01:16 And I'm going to start with one
01:18 that comes from a male aged 27 in Ohio.
01:22 It says, "How do we deal with addictions
01:25 such as pornography,
01:27 masturbation, sports addiction, and a flirtatious spirit?"
01:32 So a lot in that one. Yeah.
01:34 I mean, I think the first most biggest thing
01:36 is to reemphasize the fact that we can overcome.
01:40 We can. We can.
01:41 This is not an issue of, you know what,
01:44 these are just too difficult to overcome, we can't do it,
01:47 we don't have to get lost in hopelessness.
01:49 These are very, very possible to overcome.
01:53 I think that one of the things to consider,
01:54 we've kind of dealt with this in the previous side was that
01:57 the main reason for addiction period is that
02:01 there is some pain in our life that we're seeking to numb.
02:05 We feel bad, and so we're running to something
02:07 to make ourselves feel good.
02:08 I just think from a ground level.
02:10 I remember someone shared this with me a couple of years ago,
02:11 and it was literally one
02:13 of the most life-changing things
02:14 I ever heard
02:16 because I knew in a moment
02:17 that what they told me was true,
02:18 he's a licensed counselor.
02:20 They said that "Every addiction we have in our life
02:21 is us seeking them, pain that we're feeling."
02:22 Immediately, I thought in my mind was that's true
02:24 but then the second thought was,
02:26 "But where is the pain?"
02:27 Because what I didn't know was
02:28 I had spent a majority of my life.
02:30 I think at this stage, I spent 25 or 30 years of my life
02:35 not knowing that principle and that premise.
02:38 And what I didn't know was that
02:39 you can spend a majority of your life numbing pain
02:42 without even knowing that you're feeling pain.
02:45 Never cried myself to sleep, never saw a counselor,
02:47 I didn't understand the issues from my childhood
02:49 and so forth, from my parents being divorced,
02:51 to my mom being beat up by the guy
02:53 she married after my dad.
02:54 Things that really messed me up as a kid
02:56 and sent me into a tailspin, and some strongholds
02:58 that I'd had in my experience for years,
03:01 all started around that same time.
03:03 I never knew, never connected the dots until that moment.
03:06 So I think that's one thing that can be helpful
03:08 is start asking the question.
03:09 And the beautiful thing is
03:10 does God know where you're feeling pain?
03:12 Yeah. Yes.
03:13 He does.
03:15 Does God know the answer to the pain
03:16 that you're feeling?
03:19 What God needs is permission and a willingness
03:20 from our part to go through that process
03:21 because God wants us to have a life,
03:23 and that more abundantly, that's why Jesus came.
03:25 The enemy comes to steal, to kill,
03:27 and destroy our identity, our happiness,
03:29 and a successful experience.
03:31 So I would start there,
03:32 just wait to understand that's why we're addicted.
03:35 Otherwise, principles won't help
03:36 because if by the grace of God,
03:38 you stop whatever ex-behavior is,
03:39 masturbation or sports addiction
03:41 or becoming a news junkie or whatever,
03:43 conspiracy theories, wherever you want to run to,
03:45 if that's what you're addiction is,
03:47 if by the grace of God, you stop that
03:49 because you just know that ex-behavior's bad,
03:51 don't do ex-behavior.
03:53 The problem is you're still hurting.
03:54 Yeah. Yeah.
03:55 So even if that behavior's gone, the pain is still there,
03:57 and you're going to run to something else
03:59 to numb your pain.
04:00 Pop up at another place. Exactly.
04:01 Like trying to pull dandelion weeds or chop off the top,
04:04 it just comes back again.
04:05 That's right.
04:07 You know, another thing too that I would add on to that
04:09 is that in addition to pain
04:10 that we've experienced and hurt,
04:12 there's also a lot of hopelessness
04:14 that is involved with addictions.
04:16 You go to things
04:18 when you don't feel like there's any hope for things.
04:22 And I think starting on to the road
04:26 to recovery from this thing,
04:27 I think the first principle is to find hope.
04:32 We can go to God and find hope in Him and in His Word.
04:36 I think...
04:37 Because so many of these things are rooted
04:39 in our own feelings of hopelessness,
04:42 the Word of God is perfectly suited to bring us hope.
04:46 Through the patience and comfort of scriptures,
04:48 we might have hope.
04:49 And you know, the communion with God
04:51 and laying our burdens on Him,
04:52 and really seeking Him as our counselor,
04:55 Him as the one who we can cast all our cares upon Him,
05:00 you know, these are some of the first key elements
05:02 I believe in getting that hope.
05:05 Who is that?
05:07 Paul that says we are saved by hope.
05:08 It's one of the key elements in gaining that hope
05:10 that can start us on that road.
05:12 There's a lot of shame
05:14 that comes with addiction too, right?
05:15 Yes, glad you're saying that.
05:16 So there's a form of pain that's in my experience,
05:18 and so I'm running to something to numb that pain.
05:21 The problem is after I run to that,
05:22 one, it doesn't fill me.
05:23 We talked about that in our previous episode
05:25 with the woman at the well that,
05:26 you know, Jesus says,
05:28 "This water you're coming here for
05:29 is going to make you thirsty again."
05:30 It can't fill you.
05:32 So it doesn't fill you.
05:33 What it does fill you with is shame,
05:34 not pleasure, contentment, and wholeness.
05:37 And so now what do you do with this shame,
05:39 you run to the addiction to escape your shame.
05:42 But then you feel shame again,
05:43 and this is vicious cycle
05:45 that doesn't seem to want to end.
05:47 And so I think that
05:49 shame may not be what brings you into addiction,
05:52 but it's certainly one of the things
05:53 that keeps you there,
05:54 and that has to be dealt with as well.
05:56 What I love is in 2 Corinthians 5:21, it says that,
06:00 "God made Jesus, who knew no sin or addiction," right?
06:03 To become sin, to become my addiction.
06:06 So that I might become
06:08 the righteousness of God in Christ.
06:10 Shame is...
06:11 So guilt is that I've done something wrong,
06:13 shame is that I am something wrong.
06:15 And anyone who's wrestling with addiction,
06:17 I have been there.
06:18 We just feel like, "I'm nothing but a "Fill in the blank,
06:22 "I'm nothing but a sex addict, I'm nothing but an alcoholic,
06:24 I'm nothing but,
06:25 you know, someone who's addicted to tobacco,
06:27 I'm nothing but a homosexual, I'm nothing but a..."
06:29 Whatever the situation may be,
06:31 we identify ourselves by our sin.
06:33 But the beautiful thing is Jesus came
06:36 to identify with what we're stumbling with
06:38 so that we can now be identified
06:40 with His righteousness.
06:41 This is what He wants for us.
06:43 He's offered a divine solution and an identity swap.
06:46 Satan is the chiefest of identity thieves.
06:49 And Jesus came to set us free from that.
06:52 And we're big with figuring out which sins or addictions
06:56 can and can't be talked about sadly.
06:59 There's like there's the taboo one.
07:00 If you're dealing with pornography
07:02 or some of these things that's horrible and bad,
07:04 but if you're dealing with pride
07:05 or other things that's not...
07:07 And that's not scriptural, you know?
07:09 These things are not more or less in God's eyes.
07:14 He's looking to redeem the heart of those.
07:16 And you know, it's kind of all of this,
07:18 I'm going to continue
07:20 this whole discussion into our next question
07:22 'cause it really relates to the whole same thing.
07:25 We have someone else here.
07:26 A female aged 28 from Washington that is saying,
07:30 "What are some strategies for overcoming
07:33 long-term strongholds or addictions in our lives?"
07:37 So once we realize kind of what's behind them,
07:40 what can we do, guys?
07:42 Where do we go for help with this?
07:45 First of all, acknowledging you have a problem
07:47 and seeking accountability.
07:48 Any form of addiction is something that
07:50 the temptation is to do it in the dark,
07:52 to keep it to yourself.
07:53 One of the most liberating things for me to do
07:55 actually happened like
07:57 less than 100 yards from this building,
07:59 just outside of this building.
08:00 I came to a camp meeting a few years ago,
08:02 and I end up meeting someone.
08:04 And through our discourse,
08:06 they opened up about something that they were wrestling with
08:08 which was the same thing that I was wrestling with.
08:10 And for the first time in my life, guys, I felt human.
08:15 I realized that I'm not the only one.
08:16 Someone else has wrestled in this area.
08:18 And this is what Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 10,
08:21 where he says that,
08:22 "No temptation is overtaking you
08:24 except such as is common to man."
08:26 Other people have dealt with this.
08:27 But it says, "But God is faithful,
08:29 who will not allow you to be tempted beyond
08:30 what you are able,
08:32 but with the temptation, will make a way of escape."
08:34 So the first aspect of that formula
08:35 for success to some degree is that
08:37 I recognized that someone else had gone through this.
08:40 I felt human, and immediately, I had someone that could be
08:43 an accountability partner for me.
08:45 It was a safe person for me to talk with
08:47 about what I was going through.
08:49 We could pray together,
08:50 we could encourage each other with scripture on that battle.
08:53 But it's helpful.
08:54 We talked about this in a former episode.
08:55 We need to have, also, forms of accountability
08:58 who aren't going to be more prone to take it easy on us
09:00 because they're struggling the same way.
09:02 Yeah, yeah.
09:03 It humanizes your struggle,
09:04 but it's helpful to have people who are counselors,
09:06 who are farther down the road,
09:08 and someone who's struggling at the same time.
09:10 And when we're tempted,
09:12 the Holy Spirit is prompting us,
09:13 there's another way, right?
09:15 When Jesus comes to our well and says,
09:16 "I have something better to offer you
09:17 than you're coming here for."
09:19 That's the first thing
09:20 is recognizing the spirit's prompting
09:22 when you're tempted to make the wrong decision,
09:24 and choosing to trust that God...
09:26 When we're convicted before we sin,
09:29 that's not a sign of condemnation from God.
09:31 It's literally a lifeline for help.
09:34 We shouldn't run from conviction.
09:36 We should run to Jesus in conviction
09:39 because what He's telling us is
09:40 there's a way of escape, there's a way out.
09:42 "I'm here because I love you, and I want you to get out."
09:46 Now here's another aspect in a very practical sense.
09:49 I think, anybody who has struggled with this
09:52 can know from experience that,
09:53 you know, at a certain point,
09:55 it gets exceptionally hard
09:57 to stop the train from moving, right?
10:00 You know, one of the best ways to curb this
10:03 is to stop it before it starts, right?
10:06 And I think a lot of us try to deal
10:08 with this head on like we're at the point
10:10 where the train is already going 60 miles an hour,
10:12 and we're trying to stop it,
10:13 and then we can't stop it,
10:15 and then we feel like we're hopeless
10:16 because we can't stop it at that point.
10:18 You know, the best strategy
10:19 is to attack it at the beginning.
10:21 And here's a quote that I really appreciate.
10:25 It's from book, Testimonies to the Church Volume 2,
10:28 that I think really has a lot of power in this.
10:31 "With watchfulness and prayer,
10:33 somebody's weakest points can be so guarded
10:36 as to become their strongest points,
10:38 and they can encounter temptation
10:40 without being overcome."
10:42 So the beauty of this is that like
10:44 if you're wrestling in this, like really bad right now,
10:47 this can be actually your strongest point,
10:49 which is powerful.
10:50 But how does it say watchfulness and prayer?
10:53 Like what are the things that are triggering, you know what?
10:56 Like are you going on Instagram late at night?
11:00 Are you doing different things?
11:01 You know what your own individual triggers are,
11:04 but are you putting yourself on the grounds to be tempted?
11:08 Or another one, like, you know, are you...
11:10 There's a lot of different things
11:12 that can get us into that, but making sure,
11:15 looking at it practically in your own life and saying,
11:18 "Okay, what's getting to me,"
11:19 and then being intentional
11:21 about removing those things from you.
11:23 Yeah, that's presumption,
11:24 to keep playing with that is presumption.
11:25 Right, right, you know, it's scriptural.
11:28 Romans 13:14 says, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
11:32 and," which is interesting,
11:34 "and make no provision for the flesh
11:36 to fulfill its lusts."
11:38 I think, sometimes, the issue is
11:39 we try to do either one or the other and not both.
11:42 Either we're trying to make no provision for the flesh
11:44 but we're not putting on Jesus.
11:46 We're like, "I'm going to Jesus,"
11:47 but at the same time,
11:49 we still have those doors
11:50 of temptation just sitting there.
11:51 And instead of running from it, we're kind of crawling from it,
11:53 hoping it will catch up as I've heard someone say.
11:56 And we don't want that.
11:58 So there's the union with Christ,
12:00 and at the same time, cutting off those doors.
12:03 Something that I love is in Colossians 3 as well.
12:07 Colossians 3:2, it says,
12:10 "Set your mind or affections on things above,
12:14 not on things of the earth.
12:15 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."
12:20 There is a shift,
12:21 an identity shift that Christ wants to make
12:24 as we go through this process of saying,
12:27 "This is not you anymore.
12:30 You are human.
12:31 You are not this person who did this anymore.
12:34 You died."
12:36 And the fact that we can get up with a new life in Christ.
12:40 But to do this, it says,
12:42 "Set our minds on things above."
12:44 And so it's kind of like you were saying, Mark,
12:46 where are we focusing?
12:48 And that's going to really dictate
12:50 a lot of our success or failure is where our focus is.
12:53 I want to make a point about our feelings.
12:55 Sometimes, it kind of drive us, and this is a beautiful quote
12:58 on a commentary on the life of Christ,
13:00 it's from a book called Desire of Ages.
13:02 It says, "Do not wait to feel that you are made whole."
13:05 Sometimes, we feel like I need to wait until
13:06 I feel like I'm good enough for these things to change.
13:08 But they say, "No, don't wait for that.
13:10 Believe what His word says, and it will be fulfilled.
13:13 Put your will, your power of choice
13:15 on the side of Christ.
13:16 Will to serve Him."
13:17 And listen to this,
13:19 "And acting upon His Word, you will receive strength."
13:22 So in the command of God
13:23 is the power of God to walk in it.
13:25 So when he told His men in John 5 to rise,
13:27 take up his men and walk, with that was power.
13:29 So when God says
13:31 that He doesn't want us to fall into sexual sinner
13:32 or temptation or the other way, He's giving power to overcome.
13:35 But they close at this thought.
13:37 "Whatever may be the evil practice,
13:38 the master passion of which through
13:40 a long indulgence binds both soul and body,"
13:42 I love this, "Christ is able, and He longs to deliver.
13:47 He will impart life to the soul that is dead in trespasses,
13:50 and he will set free the captive that is held by
13:51 weakness and misfortune in the chains of sin."
13:56 So for those of you today who are listening to this
13:59 and are dealing with addictions,
14:01 first of all, know you're not alone.
14:03 We all have dealt with this.
14:04 But Christ offers hope, He offers healing,
14:07 He offers victory.
14:08 Amen. I ask you to continue to watch.
14:11 If you have questions,
14:13 you can submit them on our Facebook page,
14:17 And until next time, God bless.
14:19 We'll see you later.