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Leslie Basham: Here's Ed Welch.

Dr. Ed Welch: He is much more exquisite than I could ever imagine. The Gospel truly is the deepest answer to all the questions of life.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It is Wednesday, September 3.

Leslie Basham: Too often, we are like teenagers settling for a bag of stale chips when there is a gourmet meal sitting on the table behind us. We feed our appetites with shopping, relationships, TV, drugs or alcohol when God Himself is ready to meet the deepest desires of our hearts.

Let's learn more as Nancy continues in a series on addictions with Ed Welch.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We are talking this week about addictions. One of the verses that comes to my mind is in 2 Peter, chapter 2[:19] where the apostle says, "A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him."

When I read that verse, does anything come to your mind that may have "mastered" you? Spending, television, the Internet, approval. Well, the list could go on and on.

But I want us to talk today about how we could move past the slavery and out of the bondage and into the freedom that comes from being a worshiper of God. Our guest this week is Dr. Ed Welch who is a biblical counselor serving in the Philadelphia area.

Ed, welcome back to Revive Our Hearts.

Dr. Ed Welch: Thank you, Nancy. It's good to be here. I thank you.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And thank you so much for the study you've done and the insight God has given you into this subject. You have written a book called, Addictions: A Banquet In The Grave.

And you deal with many practical aspects of how we get into those addictions and then how we can experience deliverance. Now, that word deliverance brings to mind what I think a lot of us wish we could have and what some circles"¦

Dr. Ed Welch: The pill that takes away all our problems, right?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: That's right. And you know you go to a deliverance service or somebody prays over you or casts out that demon and you say, "I'm going to be free from this whether it is alcohol or sexual lusts or whatever."

Dr. Ed Welch: It sounds good but when we really think about it, it's not as grand as it appears. I remember encountering a good friend who struggled with addictions. And his frustration was here I have been sober for five years, and I still struggle with these desires day in and day out. What difference does it make to be a Christian?

He didn't realize that God prizes the process of trusting in Him during the difficult times. And for some people what a loss it would be for them to immediately have every sin pithed out of them. They would lose the privilege of relying on their Lord day in and day out.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And it really brings glory to God--which is our whole purpose in life--not just that we could get this immediate fix or this immediate deliverance; but that day after day we have to look to Him, to cry out to Him, to need Him.

In fact, that very act of humbling myself becomes a means of God pouring more of His grace into my life which I need. So, actually, I ought to welcome this process.

Dr. Ed Welch: In other words, when there are testimonies in the church, the normal testimony is, "I no longer have this particular struggle. I had it for many, many years, and the Lord delivered me."

Perhaps an even better testimony is, "I've struggled with this for many years, and my struggle is very different than it once was.

"I am not a drunkard in the way that I once was. I'm not a pornographer in the way that I once was. But it is a battle where I have to cling to Christ every single day, like you are saying." That seems to be the lesser testimony, but it is equally as glorious.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And probably more real for most of us as far as where we live.

Dr. Ed Welch: Right. Right.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: As I think through the issues in my own heart, (and many of our listeners whose letters and e-mails I am reading) you talked first in this process of moving toward God and coming to desire Him above all else. You started with just knowing God.

Dr. Ed Welch: If we are really understanding the problem accurately as a problem of who will you worship, then the fundamental point of change is growing in the knowledge of God which puts us squarely on all the great prayers of Scripture.

If there is anything that God wants to grant us in exceeding abundance, it is the knowledge of Him. But let me just ask a question before we get to that most critical issue.

When I look at myself and if I find that there are places that I want to hold on to, these little addictive places that I want to hold on to, the question I need to ask myself first is, "Okay, it's been exposed, you see it, the Spirit has pricked your conscience on it. Now, do you want to change? Do you want to change?"

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, what we may be really saying is that I don't want to be free from this habit, but I want to be free from the consequences and the turmoil that it has brought into my life.

Dr. Ed Welch: Yeah, indeed. And it is hard for us to separate the two of them. Many times if we have been exposed in our addictive struggle, we feel what seems to be a guilt and remorse. And it feels like that is going to be enough to lead us into change.

However, what it is, is that I just don't want to get caught like this ever again. And that is the reason that I want to change. I want to be a bit more sophisticated in the way I cover up this particular problem.

So, the question, do you really want to change is not that straightforward a question. Because it's slavery indeed and nobody likes slavery. But it is a voluntary slavery. There is something about it that we like.

And there is something about it that the idea of saying that you're going to not have this for the rest of your life, it feels impossible to live without that. So, sometimes I find it very helpful for me to have that question posed to me, "Do you really want to change?"

And I have the freedom to say, "Well, to tell you the truth, I'm not always sure."

It's at that point that the Lord comes rushing in and says, "Well, let Me give you some wonderful reasons to change." And He reveals reasons to change. And He reveals Himself.

He reveals Himself as the one who is much grander than anything we could possibly imagine. He is much grander in His justice, in His power, in His beauty, in His love. Whatever we are thinking about, our God is much, much greater than that. And that is the heart of the process of change.

Now it seems like a strange way to deal with addictions, doesn't it. It's the stuff that you do most everyday in your broadcast. You talk about the Lord and you try to present the Lord as attractively as the Scripture truly presents Him.

But, if the problem is who will you worship, then you are not giving me a lord who is just sort of an adjunct, sort of a genie in the bottle to make things nice.

He is the reason for, He is the cure, He is my hope, He is everything. So, in other words, when the addict goes to a worship service, they are dealing with the very heart of their addictions.

Now, there are many more things we can say, but this is the core. Are you asking people to talk to you about Jesus Christ?

Are you listening for stories about Jesus that make your jaw drop? You say, He is much more exquisite than I could ever imagine. The Gospel truly is the deepest answer to all the questions of life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And when I begin to grapple with the Gospel and its implications in my life, one of the things that does is to expose some lies that I may have been believing that have led me into areas of addiction. What are some of those lies?

Dr. Ed Welch: Well, you've written the book on the lies so you probably have a long list of them. But let me just give the most prominent lie. And what you are saying is very important.

There is a battle. And the battle is with our own flesh but it's also a battle with Satan himself. What is his most prominent lie? Is God really good? Isn't there some sort of life outside of His will?

That is the primitive lie in the Garden that continues to be the lie that most every teenager seems to believe. You know, there is something beyond the boundaries of Scripture where life is. If I live within the boundaries of Scripture, I will just be an unhappy nerd.

And that's sort of the teenage mythology that comes out of that Satanic lie. And when we are twenty years old, we don't lose our susceptibility to that particular lie.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And I think it's easy to come to believe that lie because there is pain on this fallen earth.

Dr. Ed Welch: It takes great skill to turn to Christ in the midst of that. Our instincts tend to be what can I find in this created world that would limit this pain right now? It is critical. I have to diminish it in some way.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I want to medicate it. I want to escape from it. I want to...and again, I keep coming back to food, shopping, romance novels for women. These are maybe not inherently sinful.

But they become sinful responses because we are trying to eliminate pain which may actually be an expression of God's goodness in my life and a means of maturing me, sanctifying me and making me more like Jesus.

Dr. Ed Welch: That is a very, very radical statement but it is very biblical. If we realized that Scripture assumes that we will go through suffering and it teaches us how to turn to Christ and abide in Him in the midst of suffering--I suspect we would struggle much less with addictions because one of the purposes that tends to be attached to them (over time, as you are saying), is I am hurting. I am hurting really badly. I need something to take away the pain.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So this is my band-aid. This is medication to take away the pain.

Dr. Ed Welch: Exactly. Exactly.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Now you used the word "battle" a few moments ago. And you make such a point in your book that dealing with these addictions is a battle.

We need to be prepared to be in there for the long haul to wage war against these sinful or fleshly lusts and desires.

Dr. Ed Welch: Here's a normal prayer when we struggle with some sort of addictive tendency. "Lord, take away my desires. Take away my desires." This is another way to say, "Lord, I am helpless in this battle. You're going to have to do it."

This is another way of saying, "Lord, if you don't take away my desires, if I go back into this particular problem, it's not my fault."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: It's Your fault.

Dr. Ed Welch: Yeah. You didn't take away my desires. As I have been thinking about this, I've been trying to search for that passage in Scripture that says, "Let go and let God."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Can't find it?

Dr. Ed Welch: I just haven't found it yet. But what the Scripture does is turn us to Christ by faith and we grow in the knowledge of Him. As we abide in Him, we have the Spirit of the Living God which animates us so we can be warriors fighting against the tendencies of our own flesh. We are fighting against the lies of Satan.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And yet, as you've said, we do have a power far greater than our own, infinitely greater than our own. And it's the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit...the life of Christ within us.

And that reminds me of the passage in Philippians, chapter 2, verse 13 where the apostle Paul says, "For it is God who is at work within you, to will (that's to have the desire) and to act (that's the ability to carry it out) according to his good purpose."

So this is not a battle we have to fight on our own. We do have to wage it. And we have to wage it in cooperation with the Spirit of God.

But if we are a true child of God, one of the evidences of that is that we will have the power of God within us giving us the desire to live in a way that is pleasing to God.

Leslie Basham: That's Nancy Leigh DeMoss talking with Ed Welch. We've gotten a great perspective today on addictions. If over the last few minutes, you've realized that you are looking to anything other than God for satisfaction, we hope you'll take some time today to pray and make things right.

You also may find a booklet helpful by Ed Welch. It's called Just One More. If you have areas of addiction in your life, this book will help you focus on the real underlying issue...your relationship with God. It will also give you some practical steps to stay away from addictive behavior.

You can get more information by calling us toll free at 1-800-569-5959. Or get information on-line at www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Just look for the booklet, Just One More. If you would like to go more in depth, we also have Ed Welch's book available, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave. Just visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

If God has used the programs this week to change some patterns in your life, would you write and tell us about it? 

If you've been listening today with a heavy heart because of your husband's addictive behavior, listen tomorrow. We'll talk about how God can work in your situation. We hope you can be here for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

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