The New Life
17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. 20 But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. 25 Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil. 28 Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
For those that struggle with addictions, the word struggle hardly defines the turmoil inside. That agony that rips at your insides to just unplug, to find relief from the pain and anxiety, the crawling of flesh that eats at your sanity.
Shedding off the darkness, purging of evil thoughts and behaviors does not go willingly; it is a battle for our very soul. The hardest part for an addict to remember however is that it is not our battle to win.
Everyone who has been there knows that we can’t do it by our own will-power. It was our weakness to the flesh that got us there in the first place. The Good News is as a new believer in Christ we are given the gift of awareness of our own powerlessness.
We cannot do it. That may sound hopeless but it’s quite the opposite. For once we stop relying on our own agenda, our own understandings, our own historical view of our failures and begin to focus on God’s word, rely on the Holy Spirit within and accept the incredible grace, love and power that is born in each believer through the Holy Spirit, we are given supernatural strength to overcome the most hideous soul-destroying thoughts and behaviors.
Jesus Christ did not come to condemn…
Christ Sets Us Free
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
It is God who heals, He does the heavy lifting. Our role as former gentiles, those who were once lost and blind is not now to struggle to overcome sin in the same manner we had tried to for years.
No, today, with singularity of focus we are to call out to the One True Healer, Jesus, and then listen for His voice. He speaks in the still of the heart, He encourages, He loves, He protects, He provides. The more we come to love, rely upon, and obey our Lord and Savior we will find that our old selves fall away like dead snake-skin.
Matthew 15:30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them
We will follow what our mind focuses on. If I sit around stressing on what I don’t want to do, that is what I will eventually do. God’s love does not dictate that we fixate on the past that held us bondage, but that we eagerly with joy and anticipation look forward to the future, with great hope and joy. For God’s promises are real. I’ve watched them come to life in others around me in recovery, and I’ve experienced them in my own life.
Focus on the Path Ahead
Proverbs 4: 25 Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.
Restored relationships, healthy choices, people shining hope, victory and light where once there was nothing but despair and hopelessness.
There is a healer, His name is Jesus, and for all who become seekers He will reveal Himself and set you free. I know at times I struggle to remember that basic truth. I get to feeling like it should happen faster, or look a certain way. But God lovingly continues to say no to doing it my way and patiently awaits my obedience to do it his way; and I love Him for that.
Again my prayer is that we all be encouraged this day, that we feel closer to God who has come to live within our souls to be with us every step of this journey into a new life, a life as the new creature that He predestined before time. His love is not generalized for man, He is personal and died for you and me, the sinner who believes and is seeking.
Ask and It Will Be Given
Matthew 7: 7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
But we must never let down our guard, for when we find ourselves basking in the glory of the good days when temptations have subsided and we feel we have arrived, the evil one knows that we are weak. He too seeks, but he seeks to destroy.
Return of an Unclean Spirit
Matthew 12: 43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none.44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
The battle rages in our mind, we must guard against the old man who wants to say we have no value, it will never work, what’s the point of all this toil. There is incredible value in the man who opens his heart and mind to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and with that comes supernatural power to be used in a way far beyond imagination. We can live that way today if only we choose to believe what God tells us, that we are forgiven, loved and set free by the blood of the lamb.
My desire is that all of God’s children see ourselves today as that person, set free not by our own struggles to overcome, but that by the cross we have already overcome. We no longer have to fight the battle, God is the one doing the heavy lifting and we just need to open our hearts and mind and let Him in and praise Him each and every moment and be filled with the joy that comes from following Him.