Today is the start of a 5 part quick series entitled “The Mind of an ‘Addict'” where I describe the five mentalities I see when counseling an “addict.” That’s the bad news but the good news is that there are 5 marks to look for in a transforming “addict” who is becoming like Christ.
Believers have the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16) and the Word gives us the “put-on” mentality that opposes each of these mentalities specifically (Eph. 4:24). The mentalities are based upon 2 passages of Scripture: Matthew 22:37-40 and Ephesians 5:18-21. You’ll find more detail in my two books: Relapse: Biblical Prevention Strategies and Addiction-Proof Parenting. Get those books today at www.focuspublishing.com or Amazon or Family Christian Bookstore.
Now, one of the things I teach those who are counseling addicts is what I call the “entitlement mentality.” Quite simply, it’s a prideful attitude that believes the world should revolve around “me” and we are all susceptible to this type of thinking. Here is the Bible verse that tells us how we are to love God first, not ourselves in Matthew 22:37-38:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”
Those struggling with “addiction” have given themselves over to pleasure so much that this entitlement mentality is predominant in their thinking of self more than of God. So much so, that it’s the first thing I listen for as a counselor. Is my counselee consumed with self and what he is entitled to? Is he (or she) driven to please self more than God or anyone else for that matter? “It belongs to me” is what the entitled “addict” thinks in his heart, not “it belongs to God; I am merely a steward of what He has given.”
The heart’s desire behind this mentality is a violation of Exodus 20:3, the First Commandment: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The addict with an entitlement mentality is serving the god of self-satisfaction.
The good news is that this mentality is easily overcome as the counselee develops a humble attitude, regarding God and others as more significant than oneself as Philippians 2:3 states:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
“Be Humble” is the opposite mentality from an entitled way of thinking for a transforming “addict” by God’s grace. It is a learned mindset patterned after what we read in Scripture about Jesus and then acted out in everyday life and all relationships.
When the counselee begins to be consumed with Christ and doing what pleases God first and foremost, then you will begin to see a transforming “addict.” It’s not more complicated than that though there are many other factors to consider when counseling an “addict.” But this is the first “mark” I look for! (not “mark” as in me, but “mark” as in a characteristic of a Christian)
Don’t be overwhelmed when you counsel an “addict.” Simply start with the basic attitude of humility expressed in the beatitudes in Matthew 5 and elsewhere in the Word. Anyone can counsel an “addict” with the Bible as led by the Holy Spirit. Anyone will be able to see a transforming “addict” just as the younger, prodigal son was obviously repentant in Luke 15:11-32.
-Mark (wanting you to counsel an “addict” if you are a committed follower of Jesus Christ)