DEFINITION: Compulsiveness is the irresistible impulse to do irrational, repetitive, sinful, or unnecessary actions.
FACTS ABOUT COMPULSIVENESS:
Examples of compulsiveness include compulsive gambling, addictions, sex, eating, talking, hording, drinking and working. These are examples of uncontrolled works of the flesh. An activity may be harmless in itself, but may become compulsive behavior when it is done excessively and repeatedly.
Compulsiveness is a lack of self-discipline. As a follower of Christ, self-control should be one of the spiritual attributes apparent in your life. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).
An anxiety disorder called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsive and repetitive behavior.
The root cause of compulsiveness is anxiety. People often eat because they are stressed. They talk excessively when they are upset. They gamble and drink to find relief from their anxieties. Such behaviors reflect a lack of trust in God and His promises of care and provision. This leads to compulsive behaviors such as sex, overeating, alcoholism, etc., to attempt to deal with the complexities of life.
Compulsiveness is sin. You are commanded to refrain from worry, so therefore compulsive anxiety over the circumstances of life is actually sin (Matthew 6:31-34; Philippians 4:6). You are also commanded to show self-control, and when you are acting compulsively and out of control, you are not doing so
DEALING WITH COMPULSIVENESS:
Repent of compulsive behavior. Compulsiveness is a lack of self-control. Confess it to God as sin and ask forgiveness.
Ask God to give you strength to deal with compulsive behavior. Whether your problem is compulsive anxiety, gambling, sex, eating, talking, hording, drinking–God will give you strength to conquer these.
Pray about your concerns instead of worrying about them. Philippians 4:6-7 commands you to pray about everything instead of worrying.
Flee temptation. Do not put yourself in a place where you will be tempted. For example, if you are a compulsive gambler, do not go to a gambling casino. If you have problems with compulsive eating, a restaurant with a buffet is probably not the best choice for you.
Put off the works of the flesh and put on the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. See Galatians (6:19-25). Learn to live in the Spirit instead of according to the dictates of your flesh that lead to compulsive behavior.
Do not allow yourself to be brought under the power of anything other than God. Paul said that everything was permissible, but that he would not permit himself to be overpowered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12). For example, eating is good because it maintains life, but gluttony means your eating is out of control.
Renew your mind in the Word of God. As with most issues of spiritual life, the battle begins and is fought and won in your mind. Transform your mind by studying the Word of God. (Romans 12:1-2). When obsessive thoughts try to return, rebuke them in the name of Jesus using the Word of God. Take control of your thought life. Cast down vain worries and anxieties (1 Corinthians 10:4-5)
When you find yourself engaging in compulsive behavior again, stop immediately! Ask God for forgiveness and stop doing what you are doing. Use your spiritual weapons to defeat Satan right then and there!
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT COMPULSIVENESS:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:31-34)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)
Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, (1 Corinthians 10:4-5)
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23).
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6)
(See also “Anxiety And Worry”, “Addictions”, and “Habits” in this database.)