Addiction is sin, make no mistake. When a person is caught in the snare of addiction, what has happened is that they have over time repeatedly placed first, above all else, whatever they are addicted to and have come to depend on this substance (both tangible or intangible) over and above everything else in their life (a place in which only God deserves to be). This is why addicted people will endure through so much for their addiction. They’ve made an idol of their addiction, choosing to bow down in worship to their addiction as they give themselves over to their addiction again and again. Escaping (getting high) has become the ultimate goal of their life. I believe James has it right when he says, “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death” (James 1:14-15 NLT). If and when addiction is left unattended and left to grow without restraint death becomes the only option. But, this is not where the story ends. There is Good News. Jesus Himself says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36 NIV). Wow! What amazing words. To know Jesus means to be set free by Him from the bondage of sin, to be set from from our addictions. But, in order to be set free by Jesus a person needs to know Him. So, what does it mean to know Jesus?
I don’t believe a person, who has a casual relationship with Jesus can say that they know Him. They may know of Him, but to truly be able to say that you know Jesus is to know Him as the Son of God. In order to truly know Jesus, a person needs to understand their deep need for Him. I was talking with a person the other day and while I was talking with him, I heard the Holy Spirit say to my spirit, “he (the person I was talking with) doesn’t see a need for Jesus in his life right now.” I believe this is right. Unless a person sees a need to invite Jesus into their life, then why would they bother pursuing to know Him. And if they did pursue Him, I believe the relationship would be a superficial one at best because anyone can know Jesus as a good person or even a prophet of sorts, but to know Him as the Son of God demands faith. And unless a person is willing to put their faith in Jesus as the Son of God, then He will always be just another person like you and me. But, to know Jesus and to place your faith in Him as the Son of God means to also know Him as Savior, Lover, Redeemer and Friend. And if you know Him like this you will love Him and be drawn into worship to Him because you will have realized that it is only through His sacrifice on a cross for the sins of the world (including yours) that you have peace with God, with people and within yourself. And it is when we are worshiping Jesus that we are propelled into a deep abiding intimacy with Him. This is what it means to know Jesus and be set free by Him.