I normally don’t use the KJV in my posts, but this verse from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church gives me a lot to think about.
I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,)
1 Corinthians 16:15
Stephanus and his family were a great help to Paul as he preached the Word of God. He goes on to tell a little more about them. He tells the church…
…to submit to such as these and to everyone who joins in the work, and labors at it. I was glad when Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus arrived, because they have supplied what was lacking from you. For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.
1 Corinthians 16:16-18
What was it about Stephanas and his family that caused Paul to describe them as addicted?
I looked up some facts, not from Christian sources, but from the American medical community. How do they describe addiction? You may think you’re “all in” for the Lord. How does what these doctors say stack up to your experience?
You need an increased level to maintain the feeling. Are you feeling tired and burned out by what you do for God? Or are you hungering to go deeper with Him? Addiction means that the amount you’re doing now doesn’t satisfy you the way it used to. You want more, greater, and higher dosages in order to stay fulfilled. I believe that’s the excitement of the ministry.
You are obsessed with the ministry. What’s your thought life like? When you’re not actively involved in your calling, are you still thinking about it? Addiction means that it’s constantly in the back of your mind. You continually think about ways to improve and increase what you’re doing for the Lord.
Even in recreation times, a thought, word, or something you see will trigger an image of what you could be doing to further the Kingdom. Thinking about it is uncontrollable.
You are continually sneaking “quickies” throughout the day. Addiction to the ministry is a lifestyle. Do you find yourself sharing about Jesus at the mall, school or workplace? Are you prone to spontaneously be a blessing to people around you, simply for the enjoyment of it? Maybe you find yourself praying for people as soon as you hear about their need. This is a sign of an addiction to Christ and His ministry.
You undergo a change in your appearance. Does the knowledge that you represent Christ change how you present yourself to others? Does the fact that you’re God’s ambassador to the world make a difference in how you live? The more we become addicted, the more radical the change. How much has your ministry affected you?
You are in “denial” – you continue deeper even though others may argue against it. Some people may say that you’re doing too much for God. After all, look at the lifestyle of most believers. “God will let you get away with a lot less commitment.” Arguments like these don’t even faze you. You want to touch as many people as you can for the Gospel.
You may like to think that you’re addicted – after all, it sounds good. But the truth is unless you’ve come to the place I’ve just described, it’s only wishful thinking. Hey, don’t get mad at me – this is what the American medical community says about it.
If you find that you’re not addicted and you want to be – my next post will be about the 5 steps to becoming addicted!
Question: How has an addiction to the ministry affected your life?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi