99Relapses Podcast Episode #4 Part I- Desire and How it Relates to Addiction Show Notes
Hi, I’m James Egidio Welcome to the 99 relapses podcast. The podcast that moves you from recovery to discovery, through the grace and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is podcast episode number four, part one, titled desire and how it relates to addiction.
In this episode, I will define Desire and Repression and how it relates to addiction.
The Webster’s dictionary defines desire, several ways it defines desire as to express a wish or long for a want, it also defines it as to be sexually attracted to another person or to express a wish for, or request and finally to have, or feel desire, and of course you know that from the secular side of things when you hear that word desire it rings true with some of the things that I, how I defined it through Webster’s dictionary, but the Bible. Interchangeably describes the word desire and well over 27 Hebrew translations for a man’s desire for sin and for God. Man’s natural desires are for, of course, food, sexual longing and for God, and a man’s unnatural desires are greed and lust, which of course leads to sin.
One of the best descriptions for man’s desire for God out of the Bible comes from Psalm 63:1-8, which is a Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah and it reads, oh God, you are my God I earnestly search for you, my soul thirsts for you. My whole body longs for you.
And this parched and where he land, where there is no water I have seen you in your sanctuary, engaged upon your power and glory your unfailing love is better than life itself how I praise you I will praise you as long as I live lifting up my hands to you in prayer, you satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy I lie awake thinking of you meditating on you through the night because you are my helper I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings I cling to you you’re strong right hand holds me securely.
This is the perfect description of man’s desire where David pleads his love and desire for the Lord, as opposed to what I explained earlier about the secular desires that we think of that come to mind, which again are to express a wish or long for a want, a want for a car a house or the want for sexual attraction to another person or to express a wish or for a request or to have a feeling or desire. This love for God and the desire for God is what holds us back from overcoming our addictions and out of control addictions, kill your desire for God and as you listen to this message, it will become clear to as why desire, especially desire for God plays a role in overcoming addiction.
Desire for God by the late Dr. Gerald May psychiatrist and theologian in his book, addiction and grace is quoted as saying, I am convinced that all human beings have an inborn desire for God whether we are consciously religious or not this desire is our deepest longing and our most precious treasure. It gives us meaning.
A quote from Pope Benedict, the 16th in 2013 is quoted as saying a desire to see and know God is innate in everyone even non-believers.
Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neurologist who studies the science of neurotheology at the University of Pennsylvania and a professed agnostic says that the human brain is hardwired for God. Dr. Newberg goes on to say that the power of prayer has a direct, positive effect on the physiology of the brain, in fact, Dr. Newberg has done numerous studies utilizing the latest medical technology to detect these brain waves during prayer with CAT scans.
The thing is., You have to realize is that most of us repress this desire for God and we bury it in interest such as things like smartphones, electronic gadgets, e-Games, alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships, money, power, status and even the pandemic that’s right. I said the pandemic which we were unaware of. We make these things idols in our lives and we Repress, which I’ll talk about later in this podcast. You may hear people sometimes say things like they experienced this desire as a longing for wholeness, or they’ll say something like completion or fulfillment, or maybe they ask what is my purpose on this earth? Regardless of how we describe it it’s a longing for love it is a desire to love, to be loved and to move closer to the source of love.
And of course, that true source of love is Jesus Christ our Lord and savior.
The desire and yearning to love is the essence of the human spirit and the desire to love God and others is found in Matthew 22:37-40, which are the two greatest commandments and read and Jesus said, you must love the Lord, your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second. And equally important as love your neighbor as yourself. The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.
Reading that verse and meditating on it, you realize that this energy to love it stifled by forces that are forces of the enemy, Satan. And I’ll actually get into this in episodes. Number 10 and 11.
They are not loving Desires when we fall into the sin natures and our mindsets become consumed. With our self-centered nature and needs, which in turn pulls us away from one another to love each other and God and here, again, are things like drugs, alcohol, greed, power and lust.
We saw this during the pandemic where there was this great divide of people and hatred for each other with, masked versus unmasked, vaccinated versus unvaccinated and it became a political spectacle on both sides of the political spectrum.
This deep understanding and desire for God and understanding God comes. From getting into the word and understanding who God is and how he pursues us through our addictions our deep addictions and not repressing those desires, but opening up your heart and your mind to those desires one of the verses that comes to mind comes from.
Mark 4:21-25 and it reads. And then Jesus asks him. When anyone light a lamp and then put it under a basket or under a bed? Of course not lamp is placed on a stand where its light will shine. For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open and every secret will be brought to light.
Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Then he added pay close attention to what you hear the closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given and you’ll receive even more to those who listened to my teaching more understanding will be given but for those who are not listening even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.
What you have to understand is that the two forces that are at work in this deep desire to love God that causes a separation of love is repression and addiction. After the commercial break, I will discuss the role of repression versus addiction and how they are defined in recovery welcome back to the 99 relapses podcast. In the first half of this podcast, I defined the role of desire and defined desire and how it separates us from having a deep relationship and understanding of our love for God, as well as our love for people. In this half of the podcast I will go over repression and clearly define addiction and how they play a role in addiction. When you talk about Repression it, we frequently repress our desire for love because it makes us vulnerable to being hurt and that’s why we repress or our love and our desire. Love can make us suffer and leads us into repress our desire for love to minimize the suffering and it’s a defense mechanism. It’s a natural defense mechanism that we put up.
The other thing, this happens, especially after someone spurns our love, spouse girlfriend or whatever it may be. You often hear someone after a relationship breakup, say something like, oh, I’m okay with being alone or I will never get involved with anyone again and so what they do is they repress this hurt that has been placed upon them, and of course, this is a natural human response. We repress our longings when they hurt us too much and so we go into a shell and we put up a shield.
It’s not surprising that we do the same thing with our deepest desire for God. God does not always come to us in pleasant ways we might expect and so we repress our desire for God when something tragic occurs in someone’s life or when something tragic occurs in the world, You will hear someone say something like how can God allow bad things happen?
That becomes the disconnect to love God and overlook the fact that God is with us at all times through the good and the bad. I had mentioned that in a previous podcast earlier, I believe it was in episode number two; God’s always with us during our deepest, darkest times of our addiction.
The Bible verse that resonates with this challenge comes from the book of Deuteronomy. And I’ve read this as well in previous podcasts and it’s comes from Deuteronomy 31:6 and it says be strong and courageous, do not be afraid and do not panic before them for the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail nor abandon you.
When you repress a desire, We try to keep you try to keep it out of your awareness and we try to focus on other things that are safer, more comforting things for us, things that end up becoming an obsession or an addiction which of course is idolatry. These are mostly material things of the world and they’re not, we’re not looking at the eternal things.
The next thing I want to talk about is Addiction, which of course is another force that turns us away from love, it is much more damaging. Addiction, unlike repression is more self-defeating and it robs us of our freedom and makes us do things that we really do not want to do. While repression stifles our desire or stifles your desire addiction ,attaches desire. And it bonds and enslaves the energy of desire; it’s snuffs it out it’s a spiritual attack addiction to specific behaviors.
We end up getting involved with things like pornography, drugs, alcohol, we get consumed with social media, gambling, smartphones; news can be an addiction or people through codependency and of course these objects of attachment show, why addiction is the most powerful enemy of humanity.
Humanities desire for God. God wants our attention, not worldly distractions, such as addictions. This is why the only way to sobriety is through the grace and mercy of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. We cannot do it on our own accord the book of Exodus. Chapter 34:14 says you must worship no other gods for the Lord who’s very name is jealous is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. One of my favorite verses that comes to mind when I think about Jesus Christ, love and reassurance to us. Is in John 14:6 when Jesus says I am the way the truth and the life, no one can come to the father except through me. If you had really known me, you would know who my father is. From now on you do know him and have seen him.
We’re all suffering from some sort of addiction that comes from our sin nature that all started in the garden of Eden I personally have been addicted to almonds, as ridiculous as that may sound long after my addiction to drugs, it was almonds, there’s certain foods and certain things that I like. I got hung up on certain news channels and it became objects of idolatry and attachment and the psychological neurological and spirit spiritual dynamics of full fledged addiction are actively at work within every one of us, every human being this is just human nature, it all started at, like I said, in the garden of Eden.
The same dynamics that our response for addiction to alcohol and narcotics are also response for addiction to ideas, work, relationships, power, moods, fantasies, and it ended this variety of things. Addiction, as I mentioned earlier, also makes us idolaters of us all. Because it forces us to worship objects of attachment thereby preventing us from truly and freely loving God and one another.
In the book of Galatians 5:19-21 , the apostle Paul says, when you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are clear. Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outburst of anger, selfish ambition, dissension division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins. Like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before that anyone living that sort of life of will not inherit the kingdom of God. I’m sure. This sounds all so familiar in the last couple of years of how this has all unfolded. Addiction makes us sinful, selfish, self-centered, self consuming, idolaters taking away human freedom, which of course, as you know is the opposite of love.
On the flip side of this extreme this very same addiction that we possess can lead us to a deep appreciation of Grace landing us on our knees and praying to God, and as addictions cannot simply be remedied by self-help or self application or a magic pill, it happens by completely surrendering with humility and love through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ by faith, I mentioned this in the last episodes. It’s not self-help and all these gurus that talk about, you can do it on your own, and it’s the power of the thought, no, it’s ,leaning on Jesus Christ.
It’s leaning on him and surrendering to him completely freeing ourselves from those addictions; It’s impossible to avoid, without Jesus Christ and, it gets back to that question sometimes in your mind of if I quit drinking or doing drugs, engaging in pornography or eating aren’t I free from my addiction? And the short answer is yes, but the long answer is no, because your obvious addictions are just that they’re obvious.
And because addictions are sin we will always struggle with our sin nature. Addictions are not limited to substances as I mentioned you can, you could become addicted to work, money, performance, responsibility, intimacy, codependency. Podcast number six, I’ll take up the subject of the five characteristics of addiction, and discuss aversion addictions versus attraction addictions. These are outlined by Dr. Gerald May in his book, Addiction and Grace.
So when I think about addiction and our sin nature, I can’t help, but think about the apostle Paul and Romans 7:14-25. And how Paul describes how he struggles with his sin nature and it goes like this. So the trouble is not with the law. For it is spiritual and good the trouble is with me, for I’m all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself for, I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. It’s that I do what I hate but I know what I am doing is wrong this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I’m not the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it.
And I know that nothing good lives in me that is in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t, I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do. I am not really the one doing wrong is sin living in me that does it.
I have discovered this principle of life, that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong I love God love with all my heart, but there was another power with me and is that war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me oh, what a miserable person I am.
Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death thank God the answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see it is in my mind. I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature, I am a slave to sin.
And when you think about that, Think about how many times you’ve relapsed and re relapsed and it repeated in a soundtrack in your mind a repetition of beating yourself up knowing that you are trying to overcome that addiction and you’re struggling to overcome that addiction and we have to realize that’s our sin nature but by repressing it and repressing that desire for a love for God we’re never going to overcome it unless we come to terms, knowing that we have to surrender to our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Thank you so much for tuning into this podcast episode I would like to close this episode out with a prayer
Heavenly Father, I just give you so much thanks and praise, Lord, I just lift you up to the highest throne Lord we just recognize you as a loving God an omnipotent God omnipresent a God who continues to give us strength and courage a God who continues to get us through our addictions in the worst of times and God who brought his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior our Messiah or King of Kings, our Lord and Lord our Prince of Peace, who you brought here in a physical body to be sacrificed at the cross Lord to be sacrificed at the cross for our sins and pay the ultimate price that we didn’t deserve to wash away those sins and we’re so grateful for that Lord, and as I continue to pray, Lord, I just thank you so much for the opportunity to be able to share this podcast with all those that are listening that are struggling with addiction that are continuing to repress their feelings and their love for you. God and to know that they have to continue to open up their hearts and minds and repent and know, that the addictions that has got them trapped are addictions of sin and that they have to continue to repent and recognize that and continue to love you and. Dig their heels into your word Lord each and every day, each and every day, knowing that you are the almighty God and we’re just so grateful and I’m so grateful Lord for the opportunity again, to bring this podcast to the people who are struggling with addiction and that would continue to grow and get the word out there that only through the power of your son Jesus Christ, that they can overcome their addiction and I just thank you so much in your son’s name Jesus Christ Amen.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the 99Relapses podcast. To listen to previous episodes, show notes, memory versus as well as recovery exercises and tools go to 99Relapses.org That’s 99Relapses.org. Also, if you would like prayer requests for yourself, family or friends, please do not hesitate to send me your prayer request, and finally if you have an interesting story to share about how God changed your life through addiction and recovery or an expert in the field of Christian addiction and recovery have published a book, have a Christian addiction, recovery podcast, or a website that you would like to promote on the 99 relapses podcast please email me anytime by going to 99Relapses.org go to the contact page to message me. I will respond within 24 to 48 hours. Also just so you know, we are a nonprofit 501 C3 and we do operate on donations so any gift that you can donate to the 99 relapses.org podcast would be much appreciated thank you and God Bless.