Are you your own enemy?
Aug 9, 2023 |
Bad habits, hurts and hangups. Those things we spend the majority of our mental energy or willpower trying to hide and stop. Sometimes we succeed, but they almost always creep back into our lives and start the cycle all over again. You can't break the chains on your own, but there is Someone who can.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of wanting to do something but not being able to do it? Or perhaps you find yourself stuck in a pattern of behavior that you desperately want to change but can't seem to break free from. We all face these challenges in life, whether it's the recurring dream where you can't scream or run, or the struggle with procrastination. In this blog post, we will explore the concept of recovery and how it applies to everyone, regardless of the specific issue they may be facing.
The Tension of Desires
In Romans 7, the apostle Paul expresses the tension between his desire to do what is right and his inability to carry it out. This struggle resonates with many of us who have experienced the frustration of not being able to do what we want or to stop doing something we desire to change. It's a universal human experience that leaves us wondering how we ended up in this situation.
Breaking Chains: Recovery for Everyone
Over the next three sections, we'll explore the journey of recovery. Recovery is often associated with overcoming addictions, such as drugs or alcohol. However, recovery often extends beyond. Only 30% of participants at our recovery ministry, Celebrate Recovery, seek help for drug or alcohol addiction. Recovery is a broader concept that encompasses redeeming and restoring various aspects of our lives. It's a "with God" journey where we join Him in the process of healing and transformation.
Identifying Your Areas of Recovery
Recovery can manifest in different areas of our lives. It may involve struggles with
- addiction to technology or social media
- worry about others' opinions
Denial often hinders us from acknowledging these issues, but it's crucial to confront them honestly. Sabrina's story, a participant in Celebrate Recovery, highlights how recovery can save marriages and transform lives. It's an invitation to explore what areas in our lives need healing and restoration.
Denial and the Enemy of Recovery
Denial is the enemy of recovery. It allows us to rationalize or minimize our struggles, making it easier to ignore the need for change. We can deny our own sins, habits, addictions, or wounds. The danger lies in the fact that when we deny something long enough, we start to believe it. Looking inward and acknowledging our own struggles is often challenging, but it's necessary for true recovery.
Jesus is For Recovery
Recovery is for everyone, and Jesus is for recovery. Regardless of the specific issue or struggle we face, there is hope for healing and transformation. Taking an honest look at ourselves and inviting God into that space is the first step towards recovery. Recovery is a journey we can embark on with confidence, knowing that God is with us every step of the way.
Running from Hurts and Hang-ups
Jonah, a man with his own set of hurts, hang-ups, and habits, gives us a relatable example. His wounds trace back to his childhood, growing up with an alcoholic father and experiencing poverty and loss. Seeking relief from his pain, Jonah turned to the wrong crowd, which led him down a destructive path of addiction and broken relationships. Jonah's story reminds us that we all carry our own burdens of hurts, hang-ups, and habits, albeit in different forms.
Recovery is for Everyone
The underlying message of Jonah's story is that recovery is for everyone. Jesus came to help us recover on all levels, addressing our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. We are all invited to embark on a journey of healing and restoration. Reflecting on our own hurts, hang-ups, and habits allows us to acknowledge the areas in need of recovery and seek support for the process.
Watch how Oscar's hurts turned into hang-ups and habits.
The Journey of Recovery
Recovery is not an instant fix or a one-time event but a journey of healing and growth. Jonah's experience teaches us this valuable lesson. When Jonah was asked by God to go to Nineveh, he ran in the opposite direction, thinking he knew better. Often, we can relate to Jonah's impulse to flee from our responsibilities or uncomfortable situations. However, God does not give up on us. He will go to great lengths to get our attention and guide us back onto the path of recovery.
Hitting Rock Bottom and Surrendering
In Jonah's case, it took hitting rock bottom for him to realize his powerlessness and unmanageability. Stranded in the belly of a fish, Jonah recognized that he was not God, that he could not control his tendencies, and that his life had become unmanageable. This realization aligns with the first principle of recovery: admitting powerlessness and surrendering control. When we hit rock bottom, it becomes clear that we need help beyond ourselves.
Jonah's Prayer of Surrender
In the depths of despair, Jonah turned to prayer. From the belly of the fish, he cried out to the Lord, acknowledging his distress and seeking deliverance. Jonah's prayer highlights the importance of reaching out to the Lord and humbly surrendering our struggles. It is in this surrender that true healing and transformation can take place.
Jonah's experiences resonate with our own struggles, reminding us that recovery is not a one-size-fits-all process. Each of us has unique hurts, hang-ups, and habits that require healing. By acknowledging our wounds, surrendering control, and seeking help from God, we can embark on a transformative journey of recovery. Let's remember that recovery is possible for everyone, and God is always there to guide us through the process.
Finding freedom from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits is a powerful journey of recovering, redeeming, and restoring the broken parts of our lives. It is a journey that God invites us to embark on, where He heals our hurts, transforms our hang-ups, and breaks free our destructive habits.
The Quest for Freedom
At the core of our quest for freedom lies the recognition of our hurts, hang-ups, and habits. Hurts are the wounds we acquire while navigating through a broken world. Hang-ups are the negative beliefs we develop about ourselves, others, and God as a result of these hurts. Habits, on the other hand, are the coping mechanisms we adopt to deal with pain and discomfort. We all have these struggles, and it's essential to reflect on them and identify areas where we need healing.
The Consequences of Unresolved Issues
Unchecked hurts, hang-ups, and habits can throw our lives off track, leading us in the opposite direction of where we should be heading. We may find ourselves wondering how we ended up in such a place of confusion and dissatisfaction. That's why finding freedom from these struggles is crucial. It is an invitation to experience life in its fullest, where our hurts are healed, our hang-ups are transformed, and our habits are replaced with healthy patterns.
What does freedom look like to you? Is it the ability to do whatever you want without boundaries? Or perhaps it's the liberation from the confines of a metaphorical prison. We all have different images associated with freedom.
Take a moment to reflect on the one thing in your life that you wish to be free from, the thing that hinders your growth and healing.
Often, we grow accustomed to our struggles and believe that healing is only for others, not for ourselves. But Jesus came to bring freedom to every area of our lives, no matter how long we have known Him.
Listen to how God revealed a better path for Joel, even when he thought it was never possible.
The True Meaning of Freedom
In Galatians chapter five, the apostle Paul addresses the concept of freedom in Christ. He emphasizes that Christ has set us free for freedom and urges us not to return to the yoke of slavery. Paul challenges two prevailing views in the early church: the belief that we must adhere to religious rules and the misconception that grace allows us to do whatever we please. Instead, he presents a better understanding of freedom, which involves walking in the Spirit.
Walking in the Spirit
To walk in the Spirit means to live in alignment with the guidance and leading of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is not merely an abstract concept but a real person who dwells within believers. He comforts, counsels, and guides us. Walking in the Spirit requires surrendering our own desires and submitting to His leading. It is a deliberate choice to follow His path instead of being led by our own fleshly desires or societal pressures.
Being Led by the Spirit
Being led by the Spirit necessitates humility, surrender, and a willingness to follow God's specific course of action for our lives. It means embracing a new leader—Jesus—and allowing Him to guide our steps. Although we may resist this surrender and cherish our independence, choosing not to be led by the Spirit will only perpetuate our struggles. It is through following His lead that we find true freedom and liberation from our hurts, hang-ups, and habits.
Keeping in Step with the Spirit
Keeping in step with the Spirit involves maintaining a continuous alignment with His guidance. We actively choose to live by the principles of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and faithfulness.
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