What a terrible word, right? Drugs, sex, alcohol first pop into your mind. But what about words like workaholic, food, time hoarder, getting money, sports, buying things, traveling (oh yes, it really can be), debt, and even emotions. "Life on the Vine" has a cool overview on a well rounded view of addiction and how to truly uproot them and not just cut them off at the ground.

Chapter 10: Cultivating Self-Control in the Midst of Addiction

"As for what fell among the thorns, these are the ones who hear; but as they go on their way, they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. (Lk 8:14)

For we ourselves were once foolish disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing over days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit. (Tit 3:3-5)"

Here are some of my top quotes from the chapter:

"Paul seems to suggest that when our lives are other-directed (toward God and neighbor) in the ways they must be if we are truly to embody the fruit of the Spirit, "the self" and its twisted desires cannot remain at center stage."

"Although we may joke about being "addicted" to such things as chocolate or romance novels, beneath our jokes an uneasiness often lurks. When we are honest with ourselves ,each of us realizes that we are capable of indulging in addictive behaviors. Thus while we may often find ourselves looking down our noses at those trapped in lives of addiction, most of us can remember times in our own lives, past or present, when we ourselves were enslaved to such single-minded and reckless pursuits."

"We live in a country where roughly three-fourths of our citizens are overweight, one-third are clinically obese and over thirty billion dollars a year spent trying to lose weight. Where else in the world are so many resources dedicated simultaneously to our self-indulgence and the eradication of their harmful effects?"

"I would still insist that we not confuse the exercise of such self-control or self-discipline with what Paul identifies as the final fruit of the Spirit. When it comes to nurturing that fruit, our culture's notions of self-control and self-discipline --- exercised for the sake of the self --- are likely to be serious obstacles."

My absolute favorite!
"As a result of our uncritical adoption of this maxim [moderation in all things], many of us are addicted to 'balance,' or more precisely, to mediocrity and lukewarmness. Too often we have used phrases such as 'moderation in all things' to avoid the hard demands of the gospel...The Spirit-animated Christian is not one whose life is characterized by a modicum of selfish desires and flights of self-indulgence but one whose passions are oriented toward loving God and neighbor."