By TAC TEAM with Dr. Mark E. Shaw
Our recent fictional scenarios explained that:
John (age 36), Jake (age 15), and Donnie (age 21) are pursuing the best version of themselves today, but sadly, this could be their final day on earth. They may not be aware that fentanyl has tainted what they are about to use.
In reality, everyone is actually facing what could be their last day of breath here. Anyone who has yet to follow Christ is in the same urgent need of hearing the good news of freedom from sin and eternal death. Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and redemption to all of us who are guilty of seeking an earthly solution for the discontentment with our circumstances or dissatisfaction with who we are or how we appear.
No Special Categories: Not Disease, Not Unique Super-Sin
We have been emphasizing that each one of us are in the same Jeremiah 17:9 boat of deceiving ourselves with our sin choices. So the sin choice of a substance or liquid or drug or inhalant is not a special super-sin category that is bigger than other sins.
Using intoxicating substances or engaging in sinful pleasurable behaviors are
Not special sin categories and
Not brain diseases or mental illnesses.
Vaping, taking pills, alcohol or other means of getting high actually “work” for a brief moment to achieve the user’s intended goal. The body God gave us develops habits that appear compulsive, but are really practiced thought patterns and skilled activities to which the body has built up an adaptation. (For more on this read chapter Redefining the World’s Terminology in The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective)
Removing the Stigma of Addictive Pursuits
The Addiction Connection’s message is gospel hope for today’s epidemic of drug use. In fact, the biblical message is the only one for addiction that is not a stigmatizing condescending view toward those who have medicated their emotional state.
We don’t agree that John “was made this way,” or that “God created Jake with this flaw,” or that Donnie “never had a chance” because he is a “victim of his environment and genetics,” resulting in a mental illness called “substance use disorder.”
TAC shares good news for all of them. Ever since the first choice to forsake God’s good provision and counsel was made in Genesis 3, the curse of sin and death has been upon mankind. Eve chose a food that looked good, was a delight to the eyes, and desired to make one wise (Genesis 3:6).
Running to substances when we hurt, or when we doubt God’s goodness and want something more, or when we are not content with who He has made us or with what He has provided is a sinful, dangerous, and selfish empty pursuit…
But so is every sin we ever commit.
You Can Turn Around
Jesus Christ’s call for repenting and being born again de-stigmatizes addiction because there is way more than substance use to turn away from (anger, wrath, malice, obscene talk, for a few examples from Colossians 3). All we sinners need to acknowledge our sin daily. We all seek the created things (or people) to give us what only He can. We need to turn around, (literally repent) and run to Jesus the Redeemer for forgiveness.
“The only way to overcome God’s curse is with God’s own power provided by the Holy Spirit. Only His power by His Spirit overcomes the curse that God pronounced on mankind’s sin. He alone has the power to transform your life from any addiction that has brought curses to your life.” (Dr. Mark E. Shaw- 2010) 
-Shaw, Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts (Bemidji: Focus Publishing, 2010), p.30) 
Help share the message of hope for the addiction epidemic by getting online training with TAC, listening to our conversations about current addiction trends, or pointing people to helpful addictions biblical counselors or residential programs.
The Addiction Connection “TAC TEAM” assisted with this article.
Mark E. Shaw, D.Min., CADAC II, CABC, IABC, ACBC, Founder and President of The Addiction Connection, is the author of the new booklet, Fentanyl, the first booklet released in The Transformation Series; Cross Talking: A Daily Gospel for Transforming Addicts; The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective; and Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies, which are all available at Focus Publishing for bulk discounts by calling 800.913.6287. Mark resides in the northern KY, greater Cincinnati area with his wife and four adult children, where he serves Grace Fellowship Church as the Director of Counseling.