“Every addict tells four kinds of lies: lies about God, lies about themselves, lies about the sin, and lies about others. The only way to deliver addicts is to rip out these lies and replace them with truth.”
It doesn’t matter what kind of addiction it is—drink, drugs, food, gambling, porn, spending, tanning, people-pleasing, people-critiquing, control, digital technology, etc.—lies are at the heart of them all. That’s why Jesus said to religious addicts, ”You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
Every addict tells four kinds of lies: lies about God, lies about themselves, lies about the sin, and lies about others. The only way to deliver addicts is to rip out these lies and replace them with truth.
Here’s a sampling, and it’s just a sampling, of the lies that addicts tell; and a sampling of the truths that can root them out and replace them.
Lies about God
Lie: God is not Good. He’s just being a spoilsport in forbidding this sin. The sin is good and God is bad.
Truth: God is good to all and does good to all. His law is an expression of his goodness (Ps. 145:9; 119:68; Rom. 7:12).
Lie: God is not all-seeing. He can’t really see me when I do this.
Truth: God sees all people, all things, all events, at all times (Ps. 139:1-16; Prov. 15:3)
Lie: God is not judge. He will not call me to account for this.
Truth: We will give account for every deed done or not done, in public and in private (2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 2:16)
Lie: God is not Savior. I’ve sinned too much for God to save me. There’s no point in even trying to be saved.
Truth: Whoever, whoever, whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Rom. 10:13; 1 John 1:9; John 6:37)
Lie: God is not enough. God will not satisfy me as sin does
Truth: There is more than enough in God to satisfy the hungriest and thirstiest soul (Ps. 63:3-5; John 7:37)
Lies about Self
Lie: I don’t have a problem. I mean I sin, even quite a lot, but it’s not an addiction.
Truth: Whoever commits sin (lit. continues to practice sin) is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:16; John 8:34)
Lie: I’m not as bad as others.
Truth: Our standard of comparison is God’s Word not other people (2 Cor. 10:12).
Lie: It’s not harming me.
Truth: Every sin hardens our hearts (Heb. 3:13) and ultimately ends in death (James 1:15)
Lie: If only you knew how hard and exceptional my circumstances are.
Truth: Your situation is common to many and they don’t resort to such sins (1 Cor. 10:13)
Lie: I cannot change and I cannot escape.
Truth: God always provides an escape route and he can give real freedom to anyone (1 Cor. 10:13; John 8:36).
Lies about Sin
Lie: This habit makes me happy.
Truth: Maybe, but it’s a very brief and fleeting happiness that leaves a bitter taste (Heb. 11:24-26).
Lie: This helps me forget my past.
Truth: The most important thing is for God to forget your past (Heb. 8:12).
Lie: Now is not a good time to stop.
Truth: Now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation (2 Cor. 6:2)
Lies about Others
Lie: Those condemning me and trying to stop me are my enemies.
Truth: Those who try to stop you sinning are actually your best friends and they’re doing you a great kindness (Prov. 27:6; Ps. 141:5)
Lie: It’s my parents’/abuser’s/husband’s/wife’s fault.
Truth: When Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the snake, God blamed and punished all of them (Gen 3:14-19; Ezek. 18:20). The soul that sins, it shall die
Lie: This doesn’t affect others.
Truth: Do you need a Bible verse for this? Just ask those around you what the truth is
Lie: People are just objects.
Truth: Your porn addiction feeds its lust on divine image-bearers. You are watching people made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). You are abusing the divine image for your sexual pleasure.
Whatever you are addicted to, try to find the lies at its heart and then attack them with God’s powerful truth. “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”
David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.