Addictions, Strongholds-Versus the Power and Wisdom of Our God and His Christ

12/9/2002

Sunday LATE night, December 9, 2002

Saints, there are many, many who wear Jesus’ name and care deeply for Him and His Commands who find themselves repeatedly feeling totally blown away by controlling urges of temptation and sin. They repeatedly anguish in tears, deeply desiring to rip the claws of the enemy away from their flesh, even to the point of being willing—as the Master taught to demonstrate the gravity of sin—to gouge out an eye or cut off a hand rather than fail again in this addictive sin. You need to know this with absolute certainty: There is much hope for you, regardless of how deep sin has ravaged you! No matter what the enemy would try to tell you about your life and his assessment of it, if you CARE—there is endless Hope!

For those who would read this, and you know by the Scriptures that you live in sinful excesses or addictions or practices—and yet you do NOT care, you do not wrestle, you do not feel conviction about these things—but instead excuse them, rationalize them, compare yourself to others, defend or rename the sins, or mind-block regarding them—without sadness in your heart for these things—may God have mercy on your soul.

A man or woman or child who Truly has been born a Second time, with the Spirit of Christ within as the Proof “guaranteeing the Salvation”—every Saved person will CARE about sin, according to the Scriptures. When apart from His Will and Life, a truly Saved person will exclaim, “What I do, I hate.” They will care, if they have met our Messiah, Jesus, the Anointed One. They will, as our Savior said, “LOVE the Light.” Those who have the Proof of Salvation: the Spirit within (Rom. 8), will applaud and “Amen!” (not evade or attempt to excuse away) this Teaching of the Spirit of Christ through our brother John, the Apostle:

“EVERYONE who has this hope in the Coming of Jesus purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not continue in sin. Whoever sins onward has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother”(1 John 3:3-10).

So, I only speak to those who CARE DEEPLY about addictive and overpowering sins, rather than justify them. Those who excuse sin, feeling nothing, are “dead even while they live” and have perhaps already received “a powerful delusion, that they would believe the lie.” But, for those who want to please Jesus with all of their hearts, and find themselves “easily beset” and “dragged away and enticed by their own lusts” and take full responsibility for this—we write to you. If you know you can and should overcome sin because you have “everything that pertains to Life and Godliness” and “every Spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus”—and all Provision in the Godhead is available, and “the Power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead and seated Him at the right hand of God” is “IN you, the Hope of Glory!”…for you alone these things are written. Part of exploring and experiencing the full power of God in this present age (Rom. 6, 8) is in this Scripture: “You shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.” To walk in agreement with God, and to know and cooperate in His Truths—is paramount to experiencing the full blessing of the Cross and of Pentecost, in our lifetimes, “in the mortal body.”

The thought under consideration in these couple of pages is this: What does it mean to “cast down imaginations” in order to tear down “strongholds” in our lives? Or put another way, besides renouncing satan and totally agreeing with God about what is sin (the obvious Beginning place of Life)…besides this, what correction of our thinking might we have that will more fully manifest the Power and Life and Love of Jesus that lives within us, if we are truly Saved?

We have written much to you about these things over the years, and much more might be said about the necessity of seeing ONLY the Blood of Jesus as our ability to stand before the Father, and how to appropriate the “weapons of our warfare which are not of the flesh,” and “take up the full armor of God.” And yet, here, there is just this one point we want to make in this brief note:

MANY OF OUR ADDICTIONS AND “STRONGHOLDS” (IF NOT ALL OF THEM) CAN BE TRACED TO TRYING TO PROTECT OURSELVES FROM OUR FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS, AND THE FEELING OF BEING OUT OF CONTROL. Our humanity screams at this crucial circumstance, as the Father woos us at this exact same place.

Without a lot of mumbo jumbo or self-important sounding psychobabble to clutter the thought, just do this: Consider your addiction or addictions openly before Father and Jesus (the “Master Teacher”!). And, pay attention to what launches your “addictions” and “failures.” If you truly pay attention to how and when you fall back into these wretched “controlling” sins, you will likely find that there is a pattern in that mess of previously confusing and disheartening circumstances. There are situations or people (“Bad company corrupts good character,” says the Lord), and certain kinds of events that the enemy uses successfully again and again to hold you in bondage and then to beat you with thoughts of self-hatred and disillusionment. Identify those areas where he has tricked you (“We are not unaware of satan’s devices!”), and let the TRUTH set you free, indeed!

What are some addictions or strongholds that you have allowed to be your master? (Rom. 6)

• Movie or television addiction

• Procrastination

• Food addictions

• Pain relievers

• Mood-altering drugs

• Vitamin or supplement pill popping

• “Health” food obsessions

• “Good” water controlling “preferences”

• Coffee (“have to have, or else _____”) addiction

• Sugar, sweet desserts and candy

• Chocolate

• Sleeping late, hiding from life or decisions by sleeping

• Staying-up-late obsession

• Reading obsession

• Alcohol addiction

• Exercise or bodybuilding vanity, or schedule or thought controlling

• Self-imposed depression

• Self-imposed illness

• Daydreaming habits

• Hiding away in a house or room

• Being argumentative or angry or demanding

• Hiding in sport or music

• Traditions or rituals that we are upset if we don’t have

• Travel lusts

• Biological family controlling emotions and decisions

• Lust for being seen as important, intelligent, special or different

• Lust for a “best friend” or “soul mate” or “close companion”

• Lust to “belong to something,” or “be part of something,” or “movement lust”

• Excitement addictions

• Lust for change

• Physical self-indulgence

• Hyper-religious in jargon, or way of carrying oneself (Jesus was not)

• Religious dress-up (hats, hair, choice of clothing, office, position)

• Finding comfort in shopping for clothing or other material goods

• Shopping for, thinking about, “needing” latest techno-gadgets or stereo or computer gizmos or software

• Playing in the dark, dark world of the internet (surfing or chat rooms, or the like)

• Mysteries

• Secrets

• Gossip

• Pornography

• Things forbidden

• Jealousy

(Invariably, someone will ask, “So what is WRONG with ‘thus and such’ anyway? Are you saying that ‘thus and such’ is SIN?!” For everyone but the one who asked this, I would say that many things like reading or travel are of course not “automatically” sin, in moderation and by the Spirit’s leading. If they are driven, guided and unhindered instead by our fleshly appetites—of course this is always sin. And, to the one who is incensed about their particular hobbyhorse being on the list, I would say, “Absolutely. It is sin.”)

ALL OF THESE ADDICTIONS AND STRONGHOLDS, AND THE OTHER FORTY-TWO THOUSAND I DIDN’T MENTION ARE ISSUES THAT HOLD CAPTIVE MANY THOUSANDS OF PRECIOUS LAMBS WHO TRULY DESIRE TO BE FREE AND TO PLEASE JESUS. These overpowering temptations seem to have “a life of their own”—taking us off guard at times, even at times when we had thought we had already left the allure of that temptation behind forever.

But do you know what? Instead of seeing these strongholds and addictions as reasons to feel unclean, useless, foolish, weak, ugly, degraded, self-indulgent, and worthless—we can use those abhorrent temptations against satan. These addictions point toward opportunities to Fellowship more deeply with the Father and One Another—by showing us areas where we have tried to solve our feelings of helplessness with things other than Jesus and His Father’s Love! Find the areas satan has truly held you captive in—the places where we have felt helpless—instead of focusing merely on the sins we have tried to Fill the void with! The addictions and strongholds are the symptoms, the outlets—not the issues themselves. The sins themselves are often just a smokescreen of the enemy to cloud the real issue. That is why “hard work” and “scripture memory,” or “12 Steps” and “self-control” and “accountability” and the like—so seldom permanently solve any real problems. “Fewer than six percent” would be a good estimate of how many have overcome addictions and strongholds in this way.

And while Father…by prayer, fasting, the laying on of hands, by Gift, or by a dove or donkey…can Sovereignly heal us and transform us in an instant (and often does!), we also are all keenly aware that there are other times He is Training us to use His Weapons and Shield and Helmet by making us apply Truth, Love, Prayer and Perseverance, all in His Timing, to overcome. The man born blind, Job, Joseph, and Moses learned, and all of God’s Men and Women will learn this Lesson as well! Not ALL sin problems are “instantly” healed, as we wish they would be. Why not? We sometimes need to appropriate the Truth, the Tools, and the Timing…because God “leaves enemies to train His People who have not experienced war…who have not had any previous battle experience” (Jdg. 3:1-2), and “so the Work of God might be openly displayed in your life” (Jn. 9:3).

So, reread the above list of addictions and bondages and strongholds. Is there anything that just has you by the throat, and you despise that sin, and “hate even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh”? Do you know anyone who has demonstrated their hatred of sin, and their deep passion for Jesus and willingness to do anything to be free of sin and fully passionate for the Father and His Work, the Son and His Bride? They, like a man of God must be, “are distressed by the filthy loves of lawless men,” and “are tormented in their righteous soul by the lawless deeds they saw and heard” and were themselves tempted by? And yet, for some reason, the tentacles of the sin continue to choke their Fellowship with Him and His People (1Jn. 1:1-7)—while still “what they do, they HATE”? If so, then consider this:

Most every addiction or sin or temptation you can think of or experience has its root in the fact that we feel helpless at times, and react by running to addictions or “strongholds.” Remember, satan’s “power” is not in his ability to make one sin that has JESUS living within them, but rather in his lies. He is the “father of lies,” and Jesus is the Truth, the ANTIDOTE! For that reason, it is not that we ought to be afraid that Father will “smoke” us for these sins, but more importantly WE NEED TO BE “CONSCIOUS OF GOD,” knowing that He means to BE OUR ALL-IN-ALL, and we are NEVER ALONE or WITHOUT A HELPER!! He can Teach us the TRUTH about ourselves, and about Him, and about the world around us…and the TRUTH will set us free.

Begin to identify what it is you are afraid of, or what areas of “helplessness” trigger your mad dash to the addictive endorphin-inducing sins listed above. What things are we trying to compensate for, and what things do we feel helpless to deal with and are tricked into seeking “pain relief” for? If we can See it, we can turn to Him—instead of to sin at those moments. The Solution is not in “more self-control,” and “trying harder,” and “more accountability” (though certainly these are tools He has recommended to us in His Word, at times). The Solution is Seeing where we have not Trusted Him completely and hidden our lives in Him in a real-time way in the stresses of life! We actually can use satan’s temptations against him by learning what areas of our lives we have not yet allowed the Spirit of Jesus to come alongside us in to Comfort and to Counsel. “RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you!” We can be “aware of satan’s devices” and turn to the Father in these areas that have incited fear within us. When previously we have used sin to hide from the Father, we can identify these areas and learn to run to Him and offer these temptations as a gift to Him—before we turn to the “drugs” listed above!

What triggers your run to these sins above, as an escape?

Helplessness about:

• Insufficient time to do what you are “supposed” to do

• Lack of ability to do what you are “supposed” to do, or something you deem “worthwhile”

• Fear of others’ expectations

• Feeling unworthy

• Feeling unforgiven

• Feeling unloved, or the inability to make others love you

• Fear of no control over finances

• Lack of control over health issues

• Family members’ actions or decisions or loves—depression or anger that we can’t control these things

• Fear of being alone

• Fear of chaos or disorder, or noise

• Fear of entropy—the decay or loss of material goods

• Fear of pain or discomfort

• Fear of inconvenience

• Fear of change, or the unpredictable

• Fear of the future

• Fear of being stuck in a situation that won’t change

• Fear of growing old

• Fear of being unattractive

• Fear of being not liked or not popular or not “included”

These are a few of the things that launch our addictions and strongholds, if we fall for satan’s tactics and give in to the sinful diversions. We find ourselves running to “the sins that so easily beset” when we are not close to Him and His Thoughts in an area—not because we’re “unclean, useless, foolish, weak, ugly, degraded, self-indulgent, and worthless.” If we are washed in His Blood and He has made His home in us, we are anything but all of that! However, when faced with the helpless feelings above, we can learn how to turn to Him as our all-sufficiency in these exact matters! Then, we will not need the endorphin self-destructive addictions that we use to try to numb the pain of what we haven’t even yet clearly identified. The sin is the symptom, not the true issue Father wants to Teach us!

So, “what shall we say, then, Brothers and Sisters” when we identify the root insecurities and mistrusts—the things that have previously sent us scurrying for bread that is not Bread? How then can we answer the enemy and RESIST him, when “self-control” and “accountability” yield such short-term results?

WHAT IF we were to “look to JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our Faith” as the fulfillment of every need, and every hope and dream that brings pleasure to the Father?!

WHAT IF the Father has all of His sufficiency for every issue and every insecurity, every worry, pressure and confusion all bound up in His Son? It is so! Every issue of life and Life is perfectly formed and resolved in the Love of God and His Wisdom, and He’s training us to See the universe as He sees it, and to trust Him in all ways. We don’t need the gall to dull the pain, but rather to commit our lives into the Father’s Hands, in all things. And, in this we are being trained to be like Him and to be a Bride fit to be yoked for all Eternity to the King of Kings! Hallelujah!!

Trust Him—turn to Him and His Thoughts about the matter that troubles you. “Think on THESE things”—not the false fix of sin—when you feel discouragement or trapped by things out of your control…………

Insufficient Time

Ps. 90:4, 2Pet. 3:8, Mat. 6:25-34

1Cor. 6:20, Eccl. 3:1, Gal. 6:10

Eph. 5:16, Jas. 4:13-15

Lack of Ability

Col. 1:27, 1Cor. 12:4-11, 2Cor. 4:7

2Cor. 9:10, Ex. 4:11-12, 1Pet. 4:19

1Cor. 15:9-10, Lk. 12:11-12, Jdg. 6

Jas. 1:5

Fear of Others’ Expectations

Lk. 12:4-6, Acts 5:29, Rom. 8:15

Mk. 3:31-3, Lk. 14:26, 2Cor. 5:9-11

Rev. 12:11

Feeling Unworthy

Heb. 10:14, Heb. 4:14-16, Eph. 4:1

Jas. 4:7-10, 2Pet. 1:3, Rom. 5:9-11

Rom. 8:1, Rom. 6:5, Heb. 9:11-14

Eph. 2:13, Rom. 5:9, Rom. 3:21-26

Rom. 4:19-21, Gal. 4:7, Eph. 2:8-10

Feeling Unforgiven

Eph. 2:8-10, Heb. 10:10, Lam. 3:23

Gal. 4:7, Mat. 26:28, Ps. 103:12

Rom. 8:1-4, Ps. 130, Jn. 1:29

Jn. 3:16-18, 1Jn. 1:9, Lk. 1:76-79

Acts 2:38, Lk. 24:45-47, Php. 3:13

Feeling Unloved, or the Inability to Make Others Love You

Php. 2:3-4, Mat. 20:28, Ps. 40:17

Mat. 7:12, 1Pet. 1:18-20, Rom. 5:8

Lk. 7:47, Gal. 6:15, Mat. 6:25-27

Prov. 8:17, Ps. 57:10, 1Jn. 4:19

Ps. 63:3, Ps. 66:20, Ps. 23

Ps. 86:13, 1Jn. 3:1, Rom. 8:31-39

Fear of No Control Over Finances

Mat. 6:25-34, Php. 4:6-7, Php. 4:12-13

2Cor. 1:3-6, Mk. 10:29-30, Php. 4:12-13

Ps. 50:10, Ps. 119:36, Ps. 55:22

Mat. 6:25-34, Heb. 10:34, Lk. 12:27

Mat. 6:25-26, Ps. 37:25-26, Ps. 34:10

Ps. 23, Duet. 28:2-8, Php. 3:7-11

Lk. 6:38, Prov. 13:22, Mat. 9:29

Php. 4:19, Jn. 15:7

Lack of Control Over Health Issues

Rom. 5:2b-5, Prov. 1:33, Prov. 3:25

Rom. 8:35-37, Rom. 8:18-26, Isa. 8:11-14

1Pet. 4:19, Prov. 11:19, 2Cor. 4:16

Mat. 10:30-31, Mat. 6:25-26, Ps. 12:5

Mk. 9:43-48, 2Cor. 12:7-10, Ps. 41:1-13

Family Members’ Actions or Decisions or Loves—Depression or Anger that We Can’t Control These Things

1Pet. 3:13-16, Prov. 24:19-20, Ps. 23

Ps. 34:17, Isa. 43:2, Mat. 10:19

2Sam. 22:29-31

Fear of Being Alone

Ps. 68:6, 1Cor. 12:12-31, Isa. 41:10

Isa. 43:2, Mk. 10:29-30, Mt. 28:19-20

Mat. 28:20, Isa. 43:1-3, Isa. 40:1-11

Jn. 14:16-18, Heb. 13:5, Mat. 28:20

1Sam. 12:22, Isa.41:10, Rom. 8:35-39

Deut. 4:31, 31:6

Fear of Chaos or Disorder, or Noise

Prov. 1:33 2Cor. 6:14 Lk. 8:21

Lk. 10:38-41 Prov. 2: 1-22 Prov. 10:8-32

Prov. 12:3 Prov. 14:29 Prov. 15:28

Jn. 14:27 Lk. 2:14 Jn. 14:27

2Ki. 6:16 Isa. 26:3 Isa. 9:6

Php. 4:6-7 Ps. 29:11

Fear of Entropy—the Decay or Loss of Material Goods

Hab. 3:17-18, Prov. 3:25, Jer. 29:11

Lk. 9:23, Php. 3:4-11, Php. 4:11-13

Ps. 34:3-10, Nah. 1:7, Mat. 6:19-21

Mat. 6:28-33, Isa. 57:1-2, 2Cor. 5:6-7

1Thes. 4:13-14, Rev. 21-4

Fear of Pain or Discomfort

Rom. 8:17-26, 2Cor. 6:3, 2Cor. 12:7

Ps. 37:23-24, 1Pet. 5:7, Lam. 3:17-33

Ps. 91, Deut. 8:5-9, Ps. 69:29-32

Lk. 21:17-19, Isa. 43:1-5, Heb. 12:11

2Cor. 1:3-11, Rev. 21:3-4

Fear of Inconvenience

1Cor. 6:20, Jas. 1:12, Jas. 1:2-4

Rom. 12:1-2, Rom. 8:28, Lk. 9: 23-25

Mat. 19:29, Php. 2:3-4, Php. 2:13

Acts 2:44-45, 1Pet. 4:9

Fear of Change or the Unpredictable

Php. 4:6-7, Jas. 1:17, Jn. 3:8

Jer. 29:11, Ps. 90:12, Lam. 3:22-23

1Cor. 10:13, Isa. 8:12, Heb. 13:8

Mat. 6:25, Php. 1:20, Jer. 7:5

Mat. 18:3

Fear of the Future

Isa. 46: 3-4, Prov. 16:31, Prov. 20:29

Jn. 3:16, Jer. 29:11, Heb. 13

Rom. 8, Mat. 6:34, Rom. 8:31-32

Col. 3:1-4, Mat. 7:7, Mat. 7:19-21

Mat. 10:29-31, Ps. 37:5, 23-24, 34, Ps. 31:14-15

1Pet. 5:7, 1Pet. 4:19, Job 13:15

2Tim. 1:12

Fear of Being Stuck in a Situation that Won’t Change

Rom 8:28, Mat. 6:33, Rev. 12:11

Isa. 54:17, Rom.8:31-39, Mal. 4:2

Ps. 96:2, Ps. 118:14, Isa. 12:2

Isa. 59:1, Jer. 3:23, Jer. 50:34

Jn. 2:9, Jn. 3:16, Jer. 29:11

Fear of Growing Old

Ps. 73: 25-26, 1Pet. 3:3-4, Prov. 31:30

1Sam. 16:7, Prov. 16: 31, 20:29, Isa. 46:4

Rom. 4, 1Cor. 15, 2Cor. 4:16

Ps. 92:14, Job 12:12

Fear of Being Unattractive

1Sam. 16:7, 1Pet. 3:3, Isa. 54:1

Isa. 53, Gal. 1:10, Jos. 24:15

Acts 5:29, 1Cor 3:4-5, Prov. 31:30

Php. 3:7ff, Col. 3:12, Gal. 6:15

Fear of Not Being Liked or Popular or “Included”

Mat. 10:24, Isa. 51:12, 1Cor. 12

Acts 4:19-20, Mat. 5:10-12, Rom. 8:31-32

Php. 2:4, Col. 3:14-15, Mat. 23:11

Mat. 20:26-28 1Pet. 2:9-12

 

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