Maybe, I am not where I want to be, but I am not anywhere near where I used to be.
I wanted to encourage addicts, new converts, those that are struggling, those on the fence, and those who fell off the fence bruised and battered that there is Victory in JESUS.
It is more than a song we sing Sunday mornings. It is a reality. The main problem is we often let our experiences trump our faith. The bible says in the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. The bible says that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. We often, if we are saved, have no problem believing the verses and passages that require faith– but don’t require us to believe in spite of our experience. We weren’t there at creation, but can have zero doubt that Jesus made it happen. The bible says in Ephesians, that God created all things BY JESUS CHRIST.
Yet, when the bible says in Romans, he that is dead is freed from sin, we scoff. We doubt. We fight unbelief. When the Bible says God will provide a way of escape, we don’t look for it.
The bible says in 1st Corinthians 10:13
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Jude 1:24 says Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
I am not saying don’t get accountability, don’t go to church, don’t pray. I am saying, why do we doubt that JESUS IS NOT ENOUGH?
I believe it is because we let our feelings, and our experiences, and our falls and failures speak louder than these verses. It is easier to rest on our excuses and refuse to simply take God at his word. It is easier to blame the counselor, blame our accountability partner having his phone turned off, blame our bad upbringing, to blame our parents and someone who abused us or did us wrong, blame the fact we didn’t get a trophy for participating.
I also find in sharing victories, I get blessed myself. I also find that when we start claiming these verses, and looking into the bible when we get tempted, we see the truth.
The truth will set you free.
Our feelings say one thing. WE NEED whatever. Sex, drugs, rock-n-roll. We NEED what our feelings are SCREAMING OUT. But what about what Jesus wants? What about not listening to our experience, and our flesh, and the devil, and the lies, and listen to the quieter, gentler voice of the LORD.
I got this, He’ll say. I can handle this sin. I can handle this so why won’t you come to ME with this? Why do you keep doing back? You are not a dog returning to his vomit if you are saved. You are not a pig wallowing in the mud if you are saved. You are a sheep and you are mine.
Can you hear this? What is your identity? I’m an alcoholic (or a homosexual or a crack addict or a thief or whatever). My mama was an alcoholic. Her daddy was an alcoholic. His uncle was an alcoholic. I am stuck.
Wrong, Sir. When you got saved, the line of failures was broken. You’re not who you used to be. You’re not who you THINK you are. You’re who God says you are. Believe God.
First, identity makes a big difference. I was praying and had at first nothing to say, but now this includes “new material” I have not yet blogged about, etc so perhaps the Lord wants to help us here:
Let’s take a look first at the opposite — let’s look at a pig in denial. This is an actual pig that doesn’t want to be a pig. He knows mud is gross, he knows pig slop isn’t healthy, he knows that the sheep are treated more dignified.
Picture a Pig that goes a step further and even identifies as a sheep. An actual sheep-pig. It wants to be a sheep because the sheep look so warm and cozy with their clean wool jackets.
The pig can say, “I’m a sheep! I’m a sheep!” and repeat that until he believes the lie and fools himself. At the end of the day, is it a sheep? No. Does believing he is a sheep make a difference? If he takes a bath and puts on a wool bathrobe after and bleats is he now a sheep? And naturally, he is fooling himself as even if he stays out of the mud, and the pig slop, they are in him. He can white knuckle it and fake it, but if he is honest, he’d rather have a mud pie than anything else.
Why? He was never changed on the inside. On the inside you are never going to get lamb chops out of a pork loin.
And that is not Christianity.
True Christianity we literally become a new creature.
2nd Corinthians 5:17 is absolutely true. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
If we are truly saved, we become sheep. The Bible says, anyone that is in Christ is a NEW creature. And Jesus says, MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE AND THEY FOLLOW ME.
Are you a new creature? And do you hear HIS voice?
But on the flip side– let’s take a miracle. A pig turns into a sheep. But it doesn’t believe the reality of what happens. So it still thinks it’s a pig.
That would be just as foolish. We can spend our whole lives afraid of the mud because we think we are still pigs who once they get back in the mud, will wallow for life. Yet when you stick a sheep in the mud, he doesn’t want to stay there. Mud is no longer comfortable but disgusting to him. Mud is a mirage to the new sheep. And eventually the lie of the mud will become clearer and clearer.
A preacher said, most Christians spend their entire lives fighting a defeated enemy.
We don’t have to live that way.
If we are really saved, we are sheep. We can doubt God, give into the flesh, never break the cycle, and say, “I’m only a pig. I won’t ever change. Woe is me. I can’t do this.” but I think ultimately, the Christian cannot live in that state of misery. Because it isn’t natural.
If we can still enjoy our sin, get away with our sins, and never have a fight, the first step I would do is for someone to examine his (or her) salvation. IF we are saved, we really need to realize victory is possible. God says He will make a way. God understands you. God knows your weakness. But God won’t let you stay in self pity and defeat but you have to repent of your righteousness.
It is not trying harder. It is not trying to please God. It is recognizing you cannot live the Christian life. It is impossible. The flesh lusts against the spirit so YOU CANNOT do the things you want.
It is not trying harder. It is trusting. It is by faith when you step out the red sea opens.
It is not putting a pig in a sheep costume and trying to act like the other sheep. That is religion. Jesus didn’t come to earth to die for our sins to give us another religion. It is realizing the pig is dead. And God sees you as a sheep. One of his own. Trust the Good Shepherd. Don’t simply try to be a sheep.
Now, we did shoot ourselves in the foot if we have had any sort of addiction. That is not God’s fault. Many dopamine producing addictions, I believe, even smoking, can create the same intense addictive response in the brain as someone smoking crack. When we have a major shortage and lack in our lives, the brain remembers what we used as a crutch the last time we were in that position and cries out for it. When we give into sin, it is instant gratification and imprints on the brain just like a hit of crack. Can crack addicts live clean and sober? Yes, but they can’t do it. God must do it.
And there are going to be times when you have to understand that we messed up our brains and so to give in to the lie will only short circuit the recovery. I believe this mistake simply confuses our body, soul, and spirit. Our body (brain) is telling us one thing because of past performance, and our soul/spirit is telling us something else. The more we ignore our “body” and live a message consistent with what we are hearing from God, the more in balance we will be. The less unstable we will be. The less double minded.
The Bible says a double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
So we can understand a bit of addictions from a brain chemical stand point that makes it a bit harder.
But that only makes us want to be more dependent on HIM!!!! And his yoke is EASY!!!
WE can get tempted every hour, but He is there. It won’t take too long — honestly — to switch gears in our brains.
IF we are saved — I get rejected, stress, bad news. This reveals a NEED, void, pain.
I recognize more and more my knee jerk reaction is for sin. Your brain is wired and remembers what worked in the past. Drugs, alcohol. Food. Gambling. Pornography. Forbidden Sex.
If you give in — guilt, despair, anger, addiction cycle.
Or ignore the lies and walk by faith and not my sight – or feeling. Get in bible, call an accountability partner, pray.
Maybe that produces victory. Maybe the temptations return 10 minutes later.
You are not trusting what you are doing or feeling when you walk by faith — but the more consistent your brain cries out for the same thing that your spirit and soul cry out for, the more joy you will have. The more your life won’t end up in a train wreck. Soon, more and more your brain will start to “get it”. Ahh! We have a stress we can’t handle, but that black-and-white book WORKED the last time he was in this predicament — let’s cry for that again.
It really is faith vs. feelings until more and more they match up. Simply recognizing that wrong desires are the FRUIT — what is going on below the surface is like an iceberg. Rejection, bad decisions in the past, lack of faith, isolation.
IT might be a 3 day battle at times. But remember — David faced the giant and didn’t run from him because he had smaller victories the LORD gave him. A bear. A lion. And maybe before the bear and lion there was a rabid chipmunk. These small victories were what David focused on, not the one that got away.
Some see the giant and say, “He’s too Big, I can’t win.”
Others see the giant and say, “God’s TOO BIG! I can’t miss!”
(my friend gave me that illustration about the giant)!
So eventually you will see that when hard temptations hit they are a MIRAGE. Keep going. Get in the bible and pray and stay close to God.
He knows you. He understands you. You are not weird.
Keep going. I can’t say it enough. I am not beating a dead horse, but I am reminding you the pig is dead. The old man is dead. Don’t trust your feelings! And feelings will rise up with stresses, rejection, failures.
Deal with problems head on. When your boss or your spouse or your mother-in-law or your boss’s mother-in-law gets mad at you, and comes “charging” at you, stand. Be loving but firm. Don’t shut down emotionally when your wife is bringing up some hard things. Don’t ignore small molehills until they evolve into mountains. Face people who hurt you, face problems, face mistakes. Don’t isolate, but if someone wronged you, initiate.
Like a man. Not a pig.
This isn’t cliche. But it is recognizing that this is a mirage — your heart/brain, etc are lying to you when you are tempted to do something that God is against.
1st Thessalonians 4:3-5 says
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:
And when victory will come you will likely face another lion, bear, etc at some point. It will again feel real. You will be tempted perhaps to say, “Why bother fighting again? why not give in? is this not what I really want?”
It won’t make sense to fight at times when the lies come back – but realize it is a lie because you learned it was a lie last time.
Soon you will see YES that really was a lie.
And next time the enemy might try another curve ball. You might whiff, you might strike out, but keep swinging and don’t quit.
By faith it is a mirage (temptations), but God’s truths will eventually become more real.
WE must walk by faith, not by sight. it is cliche, but really it means seeing our “FEELINGS” are phony. Tricks. Lies.
And trusting God’s promises when they don’t FEEL TRUE.
Until eventually they do, maybe until the next trigger.
But Sheep, keep going!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Did you get this yet?