Encouragement for Today - May 25, 2005


May 25

Encouragement for Today


“Addiction and the Self-Controlled Woman – Part 1”

Lysa TerKeurst, President of Proverbs 31 Ministries


Key Verse:


Psalm 18:16-19, “He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.  He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes who were too strong for me.  They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.  He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.” (NIV)




Webster’s New World Dictionary defines an addict as “one who gives himself up to a strong habit.”  Please notice the word strong here.  Remember, Satan is crafty and cunning and the master of strongholds.  Any habit that holds your attention more than God does is an addiction and must be dealt with.


Sheila had loved her father.  Her life was always an adventure with him.  Yet her mind wondered what she could have done differently.  Was there something she could have said to make him rethink ending his own life?   But it was beyond her control now.  He was gone.  Sheila’s heart felt an emptiness that had to be filled.  That’s when Satan reared his ugly head and offered her his answer to control:  his pleasure, addiction.


It did not take long for this small-framed girl to get down to eighty-five pounds.  Sheila simply stopped eating, which gave her a sense of control, for which she desperately longed.  When people became alarmed at her obvious weight drop, anorexia’s sister, bulimia, was the answer.  Secrecy is a must for most addictions, and eating disorders are no different.  The binging and purging cycle that first made her feel such a sense of control was now controlling her.


Because she is a dear friend, I knew Sheila’s story; yet I hadn’t heard much about addictions from the women I teach at church and at conferences, so I felt hesitant when trying to choose if I should speak on it.  Well, God dispelled my reluctance with one piercing thought.  I felt Him say to my heart, “The reason you don’t hear much about them is because they are held in secret.  They are Satan’s secret pleasure, Lysa.”


A few weeks later, God confirmed what I felt Him saying to me on the subject while I was at a speaking engagement.  The night before I was restless because I felt God was telling me to take nothing to the podium but my Bible.  The thought persisted throughout the night and all the next day.  Finally, I found myself sitting in the church, and then walking to the front.  As the woman up front introduced me, I told God He had won, and I left my notes behind.  Carrying only my Bible – and butterflies in my heart and stomach – I walked forward. 


For the next two hours, God poured His comfort through me and touched souls like I had never seen before.  Four women accepted Christ as their Savior.  After the conference, I realized why God had changed my message.  Almost every woman in the audience was an addict of one kind or another, living in a group home.  I toured this group home afterward and began to understand who God wanted me to reach out to that day.  Each woman’s circumstances varied, but a common thread tied them all…they were hurting. 


When we hurt, Satan entices us to buy into his pleasures to fill the longings of our hearts, and as a result, our lives can be torn to shreds.  Addiction takes on many forms:  alcohol, drugs, affairs, eating disorders – even Soap Operas and chocolate… anything that lures us away from the Holy Spirit’s control in our lives.  Addictions can grip anyone.  But we must still expose it for what it is:  sin.


Not one of us has escaped Satan’s enticements.  And not one of us is incapable of being deceived.  But the fruit of self-control that comes with having God’s Spirit in us is what we need.  If we try to battle our various addictions on our own, moments of weakness and rationalization will draw us back.  With each step backward, hope of escape becomes more distant.  Only when we are constantly aware of the control that is ours because the Holy Spirit resides in us can we walk past temptation’s offerings and look the other way.


My Prayer for Today:


Lord, I ask You today to give me the courage to confront any addictions that I hold to…great and small.  If there is something that is controlling my time, my thoughts, and my actions that would cause You to take second place in my life, may it be exposed to me and to those around me who love me.  In my weakness, I give you the opportunity to regain control over those areas of my life where Satan’s pleasure rules and guilt lingers. 


Application Steps:


Keeping addictions secret is incredibly dangerous.  Please consider talking openly with someone about your addictive struggles, be it a spouse, a friend, or by seeking professional help from a Christian counselor.

Be truthful with yourself and others.  If you choose to expose your addictive sin, make sure you tell the whole truth, leaving nothing of importance out of the conversation.

Avoid temptation.  If you know what your struggles are, plan effective ways to avoid those situations where you will be tempted. 

Look for the root of the problem.  From where does your addiction come?  Is it from a traumatic childhood experience?  The death of someone you love?  Insecurity regarding your self-image?

Treat the root of the problem.  Once the root is identified, you can start killing the weed of addiction where it was started.


Reflection Points:


“What feeds the addiction cycle more than anything is isolation.  It’s the divide-and-conquer theory.  If Satan can convince you that you’re a second-class Christian and there’s no safe person to confide in, then hopelessness sets in.” -- Joan Condie


Power Verses:


2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (NIV)


Romans 12:1-2, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (NIV)


Additional Resources:


Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?, by Lysa TerKeurst



The Ultimate Makeover, by Sharon Jaynes



Focus on the Family, 1-800-A-FAMILY


Originally published Wednesday, 25 May 2005.