Richard Foster: Addiction

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“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

“Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Learn to distinguish between a real psychological need, like cheerful surroundings, and an addiction… If you have become addicted to television, by all means sell your set or give it away. Any of the media that you find you cannot do without, get rid of: radios, stereos, magazines, videos, newspapers, books. If money has a grip on your heart, give some away and feel the inner release. Simplicity is freedom, not slavery. Refuse to be a slave to anything but God.”

Richard Foster in Simpler Living, Compassionate Life: A Christian Perspective, ed. Michael Schut (New York: Morehouse, 1999) 187.

Had lunch yesterday with a dear friend and Daily Meditations reader, Micah Kohls. We had sweet fellowship. One topic we discussed was the danger of pursuing power (as it unmasks our deepest fears), pleasures (as it reveals our deepest desires), and possessions (as it shines light on our idols).

The way to find freedom from these addictions and avoid being mastered by anything is to follow Jesus in humility rather than power, simplicity instead of pleasures, and generosity because life is not found in an abundance of possessions.

What tries to produce addition in you? For some today it is social media. For me it is often my work. I love it, sometimes too much. Regarding things, whatever we think we “have to have” has mastery over us. Don’t let beneficial things enslave you.

Choose humility, simplicity, and generosity. Only if you are free of addictions can you grow in generosity. And why choose to be a slave to God? That’s the place of ordered attachments. Everything else falls into place when you get that right.