The Pleasure Path

Romans 6:5-10 – For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

The slavery of addiction rewires the human brain. In his book Wired for Intimacy, William Struthers looks at the physical side of porn addiction and uses a helpful analogy.

Imagine that you went for a walk in the woods. There was no path, but at the end of your walk you greatly enjoyed what you discovered—something like a waterfall, beautiful view, fresh river, and so on.

Imagine if on frequent hikes you traced your same steps until a path formed—let’s call this your pleasure path. The more you walk that path, the wider and deeper it becomes until you can quickly make the same trip over and over with less and less conscious intent. The senses of your body—your eyes seeing the path, your feet remembering the steps—would make that trip faster and easier each time you headed down the pleasure path.

With most any pleasure, this same thing happens in our brains and bodies as a neural pathway is carved out through repeated behavior. Struthers says it this way: “This is our decision-making system. To be addicted to something is to release dopamine, which causes you to want it and to make the decision to pursue it. That’s our addiction pathway.”

The slavery of sinful addictions is both a physical and a spiritual problem. Only through Jesus can you be redeemed from the slavery that keeps you tied to the devil and his demons. Only through Jesus can you walk away from your slavery to sin.

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