Addicts live in a fantasy land filled with lies and heresies. Common half-truths they use early in their addictive process include:
“I can fix myself.”
“I’m not that bad. I just have to try a little harder.”
“I can stop anytime I want to.”
“I just need someone to talk to.”
“I have accountability.”
“This thing does not control me.”
“I am not an addict.”
“God will take care of it.”
Those of us with addictive tendencies want to believe we can heal ourselves and stop acting out sexually, but we cannot. We may have periods of cleanness when we don’t even think about sex, an objective fact which serves to further fuel our denial. But the temptation and sin always return. We will again succumb to the lure of sex. The pattern is established. Our good intentions and hard efforts amount to nothing if they are undertaken apart from Jesus and our community of faith.
Every step of self-healing embarked upon by the man or woman stuck in the addictive cycle contains elements of truth. That’s why it’s so easy for addicts to deceive themselves. All heretical belief systems contain truth particles. It’s this combination of truth plus untruth that enables users to embrace the believable parts of their heretical views while ignoring the convicting parts. They convince themselves that the portions they choose to disregard, like the impact of their sexual exploits on conscience, family, energy, time, and money, have no serious consequences. All addicts lie, first to themselves, then to others.
By definition, heresy is partial truth, or truth mixed with lies. If heretical teaching were pure falsehood, then no one, including the addict, would believe it. Mixing a little sugar with cyanide will make it taste better, but it will still kill you. The addict drinks the Kool-Aid® of his own propaganda every single day.
Trying harder, getting accountability, and relying on God are all valid biblical themes, but they can be so easily misapplied:
Personal effort without trust in Jesus
Accountability to others without real repentance
Reliance on God without obedience to His commands
Each one of these heretical thought patterns leads inevitably and most assuredly to death and destruction.
Orthodoxy is contrasted with heresy insofar as it maintains an element of mystery. The right path is not always clear, and is generally the harder path to take. An orthodox view of life requires us to depend on Jesus and walk in obedience without the benefit of readily available answers. There are no easy, obvious, or quick fixes. God’s ways transcend our analysis and thought process. We cannot see the future nor predict the outcome of our actions.
God will not allow us to figure Him out. He baffles, perplexes, disappoints, and even outrages us. When we think we "get it," we don’t.
The Spirit of God is like the wind and, as Solomon explained, “…no one has power over the wind to contain it” (Ecclesiastes 8.8a NIV 2011). You cannot capture the wind in a box, even a theologically airtight one. God cannot be grasped because He is full of surprises. Some of His most astonishing bombshells become shockingly evident as we walk in faith, including:
The unfathomable depth of God’s love for the addict
The unlimited lengths to which God will go to redeem the undeserving
The miraculous story every fallen soul may offer others in similar situations
Like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus delivers simple hope for a life of healthy sexuality.
Perhaps the only real solution is trust in a loving, unpredictable, and surprising God who delivers hope instead of wrath. If this premise is true, then our theology must transition from the theoretical and academic to the personal and relational. In this new realm, I (thankfully) no longer get what I deserve and I slowly, very slowly, start to comprehend that my Father in heaven actually loves “a wretch like me.”
The beauty of a relationship with the Son of God is that He initiates it. All that is left for me to do is say “Yes” to His gracious offer of friendship. It’s a gift and there’s nothing I can do to earn or deserve it.
When the apostle Paul first preached in the Roman colony of Philippi, a woman named Lydia believed his message and became an ardent follower of Jesus. Luke records, “The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message” (Acts 16.14b NIV). Lydia did nothing to secure her own salvation. It was the unexpected action by a gracious God who chose to “open her heart to respond” in faith.
Could it really be that easy? Can I actually get off the merry-go-round of lies and “sin no more”? Is it God’s intention to “open [my] heart to respond” to Jesus and His plan of redemption for my troubled soul? Could addiction recovery be more about simple trust than my resolve, will power, determination, and performance?
 “Amazing Grace,” 2nd line in hymn by John Newton, 1779.