I know, it sends chills up my spine just as it does yours. Why do we react that way? Because our flesh (our body) does not like to be restrained. While we may not indulge in overtly sinful practices now that we are saved, we can't just forget about this area. Besides the temptations we have to guard against that Satan will throw at us from time to time, we must be sure that our bodies do not rule us. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection."
In our modern world, we hear a lot about addiction. This is simply because, in a culture that doesn't acknowledge God where everyone does "that which is right in his own eyes", the flesh is easily satisfied with no restraints. Dictionary.com defines it this way:
But Christians don't get addicted to anything, right? Paul must have thought it was a possibility for the older women in Titus 2. He told them to "not be given to much wine". You're probably thinking what I thought when I first read this. "These women are supposed to be teaching me what to do, and they have to be warned about alcohol addiction?" I know that alcohol addiction is very real, and I am in no way demeaning those that struggle with or are recovering from it; but it does seem a strange thing about which to warn women that have been Christians for many years.
ad⋅dic⋅tion – (noun) the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma
Photo courtesy of rogersmjA speaker I once heard enlightened me further on this point. In those days, a woman suffering with the aches and pains of aging could not reach for a bottle of Tylenol or ask the doctor for a prescription of Vicodin. The only means they had for controlling pain was wine--fermented, alcoholic, potentially mind-altering wine. Paul prescribed it for Timothy when he had stomach problems. Please don't shoot me, but it appears that there were people that used alcohol in the Bible times. However, Paul warns the women in Titus 2: "Watch out! This can be habit-forming! You are using it for a legitimate purpose, but it can control you and not just your pain. Take it only in moderation."
While I hope you don't try to moderate alcohol, I've known many Christians that struggle, myself included, with something that is difficult to moderate. Before you get too self-righteous, let me give you a few examples.
- Food is a big one. Gluttony is merely "excessive eating and drinking" according to the dictionary. Ever pushed back from the Thanksgiving table and sighed, "I am stuffed. I feel like I'm going to pop!" Ouch.
- Prescription drugs are easy to come by in America. I went into a doctor's office once to refill a prescription for a medication I was on, and the receptionist handed me a sample pack without even checking to see if I was a patient! I walked out with my sample because I knew I was legitimately supposed to take it, but I never went back again. Sadly, they are causing addictions in many people's lives, including older people and people in high-stress ministries.
Andrea at Exemplify talks about her struggle with emotional eating and what she does about it
Courtney at Women Living Well tells us a lesson she learned from Chef Mesnier
Lisa at the Well Grounded Life tells us how to give our bodies a "tune-up"
A Prodigal Comes Home
While I don't agree with this author's perspective on all things, this book painted the picture for me of how horrible addiction and sin can be. It is, in part, the story of gospel singer, Michael English, and his struggle with prescription drug addiction.
*Food photo courtesy of patterbt
**Medicine photo courtesy of Darren Hester