Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Near the conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King, Frodo is on the verge of completing his mission to destroy the Ring of Power. With the fate of Middle Earth hanging in the balance, all that’s left is to cast the ring into the fires of Mount Doom.

But he can’t do it.

Even with so much at stake, the humble hobbit is unable to let the ring go. The ring’s dark powers are so seductively strong that they’ve affected his good judgment.

At some level, we can all identify with Frodo’s struggle. There are things in our lives we know we need to get rid of—compulsive habits that are hurting us and those we love. But we can’t seem to let them go. They’ve overtaken us.

We call these things an addiction, and they’re no ordinary struggle. They can be among the most difficult challenges of life.

Most addictions are about getting emotional relief outside of relationship. And while they can’t simply be resisted, they can be replaced. It doesn’t happen overnight. But we can find freedom from such compulsions as we start to substitute seeking relief through an addiction with seeking real life through relationship with Jesus.

He once told a group of people who were learning about Him: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. . . . I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

“Rest”—that’s music to the ears of the addicted.

When temptation calls, come before Jesus as you are; weary and burdened. Tell Him about your troubling emotions; the ones you’re afraid to feel and have tried to medicate. His power and presence are there to help you in your struggle.

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No ordinary struggle