The very word makes many Americans feel a shudder. It brings about painful memories and vivid imagery of someone with an addiction, if not themselves.
Often, our mind displays connotations of alcohol, cigarettes, and or illicit drug use.
Whereas, such thoughts are reasonable.
Nearly 21 million Americans possess at least one addiction and only 10% of Americans ever receive treatments of some kind.
Since 1990, American drug overdoses have tripled.
20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance abuse disorder.
Statistics align with the Bible in this way. They show just how depraved the world is.
I want you, the reader, to be aware of how frequently we observe addiction worldwide, so that I can suggest this.
What if, Jesus Christ, is more than just a healer of addiction? What if Christ caused an addiction so fervent that it could hijack the stigma of addiction as solely evil.
Dream with me for a moment if you would.
In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul is coming to the end of an excellent letter of doctrine to the Corinth church.
Addressing the local bodies, he gives his final antidotes and notes, when he addresses the household of Stephanas. In his brief address he attributes them to have become addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15).
Stephanas and his household were people who Paul had ministered to and possibly converted during his work in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:16).
Often, we hear of people who have become “on fire for Christ”. It has become somewhat of a cliche within Christians circles and represents essentially, “addicts to the Gospel”.
Stephanas and his household were common people who are only briefly mentioned; however, Paul was thankful for their ministry and they “refreshed [his] spirit.”
They were submitted to the faith and did all things with charity (1 Corinthians 16:13;14). Because of this, they were described as addicted to the ministry of the saints.
The word translated in English as “addicted” is “tasso” in the original Greek. This word essentially denotes an orderly appointment.
Like an addiction that creates orders and rhythms of unhealthy and systematic alleviations, this household ordered their life for furthering and edification of the Body of Christ.
They were sold-out, focussed, and determined to live their life according to ministry.
This family may have not been your stereotypical minister as we see them today (Pastors, evangelists, etc.); nonetheless, you would not be able to see a difference.
They were addicts. Addicted to God’s work. With addiction to their high calling. Addicted to His word.
If it was good and of God, they were fiending. They needed it.
The attributes they displayed, Paul tells the Christian to “submit yourselves unto such” (1 Corinthians 16:16).
Paul gives practical advice and practical advice has practical implications.
So what would be the practical implications of a Christian addict?
I do not intend to make light of addiction in this writing. However, Biblically the topic has a place. So bear with me.
If we have fellowship with the light (God) through Jesus Christ and we are universally, as a Church, lifting true, unadulterated doctrine in the world above the darkness, there will be an effect.
Addiction to the ministry is powerful and able to bring healing to those with addiction to depravity. God’s word and grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We can be sealed in the Body of Christ but not be addicted to the ministry and calling that is laid upon our lives. This is a scary position to be in.
I beg for us, the church, to live otherwise and cling to the Scriptures, praying for supplication with thanksgiving, and preaching the truth that Jesus saves.