Could You Have a Spiritual Addiction?

by B.J. Rudge Ph. D.

A friend of mine has been struggling with drug addiction. His life is a constant cycle of trying to find his next fix. This pattern is repeated over and over as he looks for a new and better fix to give him another temporary high.

Just like my friend’s physical addiction, there are those who struggle with spiritual addiction. In a continual effort to find their next “spiritual fix” they have developed an unhealthy cycle of seeking a spiritual high through the latest craze to enter the church. These people desire an experience more than they desire God. When their spiritual high dissipates, too often, so does their commitment to Christ and obedience to His Word.

An acquaintance of mine recently got caught up in this pattern of spiritual addiction. Upon attending a church, where she claims she felt electricity go through her body as someone laid their hands on her, she has been in an ongoing spiritual roller coaster of seeking after spiritual highs. Whether the highs come in the form of a dream, vision, or some mystical phenomenon, her faith with Jesus is ultimately determined by her next spiritual experience. In the midst of this, the sad reality is that she admitted that she spends little to no time reading the Bible and praying.

While I certainly recognize the active role of the Holy Spirit in the life of every Christian and desire a close relationship to Him, we must be cautious we are not lead away by every new trend or experience. We must exercise discernment and know Scripture because the same Spirit that lives within us also reminds us that in latter times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). This is why, before we rush into the next experience that will give us a spiritual high, we must test to see whether it is truly of God (1 John 4:1). We must be Berean Christians and test everything by the Word of God (Acts 17:11). 

Jesus uses the term deception to describe the time before His return (See Matthew 24). Part of this deception that I see going on today is people who seek only after signs, wonders, and spiritual experiences rather than seeking after God. This was the case when Jesus came the first time as he rebuked the crowd in Galilee, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe” (John 4:48). 

Let us avoid the deception of spiritual addiction that builds one’s faith merely upon the weak and unstable foundation of un-Biblical phenomena. Instead, let us build our faith upon a strong foundation, which is the person and teaching of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24, 25). It is in Him, and not our experiences, where we truly find contentment.