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Monday, July 18, 2022

What Does the Bible Say About Addiction? | Addiction in the Bible

Woman Studying the Bible

For people managing an addiction, the physical cravings are only part of the struggle. The other side of the battle is addressing the mental and emotional challenging that coincide with physical symptoms. A common mental struggle for Christians is reconciling their faith with their substance use disorder. While the Bible offers warnings about falling into substance misuse, it also provides hope for people who are coping with these disorders. In fact, what the Bible says about addiction is primarily encouraging.

Examples of Addiction in the Bible

When people think about references to addiction in the Bible, most will recall verses about drunkenness and its adverse effects. These are valid examples to consider. However, those don’t provide guidance on what to do after a person develops a substance use disorder They can also be discouraging, making people feel like they are beyond help. Rather than focusing on the consequences of falling into addiction, perhaps what’s more effective is looking at the grace for people who are managing a substance use disorder. 

The Story of the Prodigal Son

One of the more memorable parables that Jesus tells in the Bible is the story of the prodigal son. This teaching is often used to encourage people who have turned away from God to tell them they can always come back. However, the lesson of this story can also be applied to any decision to turn away from things of the world, including an addiction. 

After the younger son takes his share of his inheritance, he leaves his father’s home:

“Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.” (Luke 15:13, ESV)


Anyone who has struggled with substances has experienced the physical, financial, and emotional toll that a substance use disorder can take. It often leads to reckless living and decision-making, much like the prodigal son. After he spends all of his inheritance, the son hits rock bottom. He ends up sleeping with pigs and without food. However, it’s what he chooses to do at this moment that makes the difference. Rather than continuing to make poor decisions, he chooses to return home. 

“And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” (Luke 15:20-21, ESV)


When his father hears this, he doesn’t agree with or condone the son’s behavior. Instead, he celebrates his child’s return home. In the same way, when people turn from their addictions and choose to live a life outside of that, they are welcomed home in their faith. Notice that the father never asked the son to live a perfect life at home and never mess up again. He simply celebrated the choice his child made to turn from his old way of life. 

Bible Verses About Addiction

When someone decides to pursue recovery, God is never waiting to reprimand them for their previous choices. The story of the prodigal son speaks to this, but there are other examples of this grace in the Bible.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1, ESV)


Anyone who chooses a life in Christ doesn’t have to worry about past mistakes being held against them. Not only did His death on the cross forgive sins, Jesus’s life also provides hope for people struggling.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV)

Addiction Recovery Based on Biblical Principles

At Celebrate Hope, we offer addiction treatment founded on what the Bible says about those who follow Christ. We believe that recovery built on faith in Christ leads to long-lasting sobriety. Our treatment center emphasizes who our clients are outside of their disorder, building on their individual strengths. We provide multiple opportunities for healing and growth through individual counseling, life skills workshops, and group therapy. If you’re looking for healing from a substance use disorder in a Christian community, contact our treatment center today. 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Depression in the Bible | Hope for Depression

Verses in the Bible
For Christians struggling with depression, it’s often difficult to navigate their mental health challenges in the context of faith. Mental illness is not a new concept and has existed throughout history. In fact, there are multiple examples of these disorders in the Bible, including some of the most highly regarded people of that time. The Bible provides hope for Christians managing depression, and these examples can help reshape current views on mental health in the church.

Defining Depression in Biblical Times

It’s no secret that society today has a greater understanding of mental illness than those in the Bible. In those times, depression was often referred to as sorrow, grief, despair, or anguish. The people who lived in Biblical times didn’t have the scientific knowledge to define experiences or label these emotions in the same way that people do now. However, there is still ample evidence that people in the Bible exhibited the same emotions that those with a depressive disorder do, and this wasn’t used against them, especially not by God.

Examples of Depression in the Bible

For many people, the first person who comes to mind when they think about people in the Bible who were depressed is David. He is notorious for the rapid mood swings in his writings captured in Psalms. One moment he is praising God for His goodness, and the next he is deep in despair. 

“For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.” Psalm 32:3-4 (ESV)


Jonah exhibited similar symptoms when God told him that Ninevah would be spared despite their evil deeds.

“And he prayed to the LORD and said, ‘O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’” Jonah 4:2-3 (ESV)


Jeremiah also struggled with these feelings when he was being persecuted.

“Cursed be the day on which I was born!... Why did I come out from the womb to see toil and sorrow, and spend my days in shame?” Jeremiah 20:14, 18 (ESV)


Feeling hopeless is a common emotion for the people of the Bible. They faced persecution, physical pain, and had their whole lives turned upside down in an instant. Symptoms of depression are a natural response to these life events, and God continued to bless and use people who struggled.

Hope for Depression in the Bible

Many well-meaning people in the church will label mental illness as something that can be resolved through faith alone. While this may be the case for some, it’s more common that these disorders require professional treatment. However, the Bible does provide hope for people who are managing mental health or substance use issues. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (ESV)


What makes these verses so powerful is that there is both an acknowledgment of the challenges people face in life and future hope. Even Jesus struggled, but God was always there as a source of comfort. Because of what Jesus did in dying on the cross, Christians have access to this same comfort during hard times.

Managing Depression and Addiction

Depression often co-occurs with substance use disorders, and this can make managing the two more challenging. At Celebrate Hope, our team is skilled in treating people with dual diagnoses. We utilize evidence-based practices and emphasize community within our center, so our residents receive the best care possible. Faith can be a powerful tool in the recovery process which is why we built our treatment model on the foundation of the hope we have in Jesus. If you are looking for a place to heal from your addiction that shares your faith in God, contact our team today to learn more about our treatment program. 

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