The Theology Behind Addiction from Paul Tripp Ministries

When it comes to sex, we’ve gone culturally insane. Just think about how much sexually explicit and sexually driven material is pushed in front of your eyes every day.

With all of this so readily available, it’s very tempting to blame sex, societal values, the mainstream media, or technology as the problem. But here’s the humbling truth: sex is not the problem, nor is our environment the primary problem.

The act of sex, as God designed, is beautiful and rewarding – not evil. And we can’t try to live as modern-day monastics, as if retreating from the TV and Internet would suddenly cure our hearts from sexual sin.

The counter intuitive reality is that it’s only ever the evil inside our hearts that magnetizes us to the evil that’s outside in our world. Likewise, it’s only ever our sin that turns pure gifts from the Creator into dangerous idols.

In summary, we are the problem. More specifically, our heart, and what it asks of sex, is the problem.

If you look to something that God created to give you what it wasn’t intended to give, either you get discouraged quickly and wisely abandon those hopes, or you go back again and again, and in so doing, begin to travel down the dangerous road toward addiction.

Sex will give you a short-term buzz of pleasure, and it may even make your problems seem to disappear momentarily, but you’ll hate how short it is. So you’ll have to go back again quickly to get another shot, and before long you’ve spent way too much time, energy, and money on something that can’t satisfy.

Because of what it has briefly done for you each time, you’re convinced that you can’t live without it. You’re hooked, because the thing you once desired, you’re now persuaded you need, and once you’ve named it as a need, it has you in its addictive grip.

However, sex has no capacity to satisfy your heart. In a word, it cannot be your savior.

If you look outside of the Savior for something to be your savior, that thing will end up being not your savior, but your master. The sexual pleasure you hoped would serve you pulls you into its service. What seemed like freedom ends up being bondage.

You see, sex has never the problem; what we’ve asked of it is.

Is there wisdom in protecting ourselves (and others) from what we see? Absolutely. But our sex madness needs to be dealt with spiritually and theologically for us to experience lasting sanity.

I’ll continue to write more about the theology of sex, but I want to end this week with this question: Are you asking sex – or something else that God created – to provide for you what only Jesus can offer?

Sex is glorious, but it was created to be a sign that points you to the one glory you were designed to live for and that can truly satisfy your soul — the glory of God.

God bless

Paul David Tripp

Reflection Questions

  1. In what ways have you been tempted to blame your environment this week for the struggles of your heart?
  2. What steps can you take to protect yourself from a potentially tempting environment? Take action, but remember that your struggles are fought internally before externally.
  3. What are some empty promises that “sex” offers to us, and how does Christ offer so much more? Be specific in your application.


New Hope Presbyterian Church  •  The Theology Behind Addiction

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