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The Heart of the Matter: Overcoming the Root of Addiction

Posted by Dave Shields on

Recently, I listened to a podcast by Albert Mohler (President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). Mohler was talking about how the language of addiction has replaced the language of theology in our modern secular society. He went on to talk about a twentieth-century intellect by the name of Philip Rieff. In 1966, Rieff diagnosed a great shift in the western mind and worldview. This shift was toward the religion of self. In his book, Triumph of the Therapeutic, Rieff argued that the old religion of Christianity would be replaced by the new religion of therapy. This new view would put self at the center of the universe.

Isn’t this exactly what is taking place in our world today?

Think about it. The number one addiction in our world today is addiction to self. To put this into biblical terms, it is the idolizing of oneself. Ever since the fall, our human nature leans toward selfishness and, thus, wanting to be our own gods. 

Mohler goes on to say that our culture today views addiction as a disorder in need of therapy instead of a habitual sin problem in need of redemption. Modern secularism chalks up addiction to being a medical problem, while the old view stands that it is a moral issue.  

As I started to think about the comments Mohler was making, I came to this conclusion: There are so many programs and systems out there today that offer ways to treat addiction, but even with these resources, the core issue remains. This is because neither a program nor a system can solve the root problem. The problem lies in the fact that our hearts are far from God. As my mentor once told me, “the heart of the matter is always the heart of the matter.” We need a new heart.

We need a Savior. 

But Jesus needs to become more than just Savior for healing to take place in our hearts. He needs to become the Lord of our lives. How can you make sure he has his rightful place as Lord in your life? By daily taking yourself off the throne and putting God on it. 

Paul makes a powerful statement in Acts 20:24 regarding the proper perspective and heart posture for our faith journey. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if I only may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.”

Worldly therapy promotes self-help strategies and is all about becoming the best version of oneself. To the contrary, the Bible exhorts us to die to self and be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

“We cannot treat the Bible as a collection of therapeutic insights. To do so distorts its message and will not lead to lasting change. If a system could give us what we need, Jesus would never have come. But He came because what was wrong with us could not be fixed any other way. He is the only answer, so we must never offer a message that is less than the good news. We don’t offer people a system; we point them to a Redeemer. He is hope.”

– Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand

We don’t need therapy that provides momentary relief. We need redemption that leads to lasting change. Jesus is our only hope.


The Saturday Night Recovery Service at the Washington campus enjoys live worship, applicable bible teaching and fellowship upon conclusion of the message. We welcome all congregants and families who would like to play a part in ministering to this community. If addiction has impacted your life or touched your heart, we'd love for you to join us. Click here for more information.

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