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Selfishness and Addiction: It’s an “I” Problem

Selfishness and Addiction

Selfishness and Addiction

By Pastor James

That’s a nice way of saying, “You’re the problem.” That may come across as harsh, but sometimes, we need to hear things we don’t want to hear—things that may even make us angry.

It’s nothing I haven’t said about myself. In the midst of my addiction and insanity, somehow, some way, a small bit of sanity worked its way into the midst of my insanity. I had been “advancing” my “career” in addiction for almost 30 years; I was a faithful employee. Never called off sick, was never late, never missed a day, and was as loyal an “employee” as you can get.

Along the way, I blamed God, family, my ex-wife, and anyone or anything else that would further my cause and career. While this is typical behavior for someone caught up in addiction, at the heart of it, is that I problem mentioned earlier. It was all about me: my way, my will, what I wanted, how I felt—me, me, me.

Believe it or not, this behavior began way, way back—clear back to when Lucifer (Satan) was still in heaven, leading worship there.

In Isaiah 14.13-14, Lucifer said, “I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High.”

Lucifer, now Satan, had an I problem; he made it all about him, and exalted himself over God and God’s ways of doing things. Instead of putting God in his rightful place of being in control, Lucifer tried to be in control himself.

We see this same thing again in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve decide to exalt themselves over God and God’s ways of doing things. (Sound familiar?)

Satan (formerly Lucifer) shows up in the garden, still hating God and wanting to upset and change God’s plan (same agenda as in heaven), and tempts Eve to eat the fruit from the tree God had told them to leave alone. We see the results of that temptation in Genesis 3. It says, “She (Eve) saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.”

Despite having been told by God not to eat it, Adam and Eve disobeyed, thereby exalting themselves over God’s ways. They did what they wanted, what they felt was good—their will, their way (remember my example of myself—me, me, me?). They decided their way was better, what they wanted was more important, and that their agenda would trump God’s.

In both cases, we see an I problem; Lucifer in heaven, and Adam and Eve in the garden. And both came with consequences: Lucifer was kicked out of heaven, and Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden, and through that act of disobedience, sin entered and affected the entire world, as well as all of mankind.

While I was the center of my universe—while I was doing things my way, according to what I wanted, I had consequences, as well. My life, my world, was falling apart. I began to lose things that, at one time, had meant so much to me—my job, my family house, my wife of 20 years, my health, and my sanity. Doing things my way (the I problem) took its toll, and my life became unmanageable.
Once the unmanageability became unbearable, the solution to my I problem began. Instead of saying, “I want, I need,” I came to realize that I was the problem. I went from saying “I want…” to “I’m the problem,” which led to the following prayer:

“God, I’ve been doing it my way, and my way isn’t working. I don’t care what it takes. I’ll do whatever you want me to do. Please help me; I’ll do whatever it takes.”

My “I want” kept my addiction alive; my “I’m the problem” led me to the solution for my addiction.

Where are you? Are you still stuck in “I want,” or have you gotten to “I am the problem,” where your solution to your addiction is birthed?

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