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Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Hatred of Mind Tricks of an Addiction

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. — John 8:34 NKJV

As a freedom fighter from slavery to sin, I have put these words on paper before I get so far removed from them that I will not be able to remember them any more.

It was not long ago I was a slave to a master that I could not see but always followed, that I could not hear but always listened to, that could not speak but would not stop commanding me, had no teeth but was chewing me up alive.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8 NKJV

560 days ago I had stopped drinking for the last time. Prior to that I had never been able to stop for more than three to six months using all my greatest efforts. The reason I would go back to drinking is because I truly felt like I enjoyed drinking, I thought it relaxed me; I would say that it was “my off switch”. I was a workaholic and “it was the only way that I could truly stop thinking about work and relax”. These statements were all lies that I told everyone just to protect my abusive master.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV
My freedom came when a hero came in and exposed my addiction of all its lies and sins and evil ways. I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and He filled me with the Holy Spirit and He did not let any other abusive master tell me what to do.
Sin will not be your master. Law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free. Romans 6:14 NIRV
The power of the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the tricks that sin had been playing on me. There are so many different ways for me to describe it; I could say it was like having the curtain pulled back or being shown how a magic trick works. It was worse than that though, it was more like seeing a graphic scene, it was like witnessing a crime, seeing a bully, or a child abuser... it was horrible to see that I was being abused by a substance.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:2 NKJV
Once it was shown to me, I could look back at my life and see how it has manipulated and abused me for years. It was so clear to me: I was being abused, and I don’t let people abuse me, and I sure was not going to let a substance abuse me any more.
Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. Romans 8:5 NLT
The exposure was to the manipulation of my thought process. It was just a short ten days after I had truly submitted to Jesus Christ and had not had a drink of alcohol in that time. But then, the Holy Spirit exposed my old master and abuser to me so clearly that I still remember it like it was yesterday.
      And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.1 John 5:20 NKJV
Here is the thought process that I had, like I had so many times before and never really paid attention to it: Only ten days had gone by since I had my last drink, my wife was happy with me and I was feeling pretty great about it too. But then just as always, the sin decided to creep back in my life. It was a Saturday and there was a pay per view professional fight that night. There was also a birthday party for my wife’s friend and then we were going to do something the following morning after we went to church. We were supposed to go out to dinner with them and a few of their friends. They pretty much all drank. That gave my sinful nature the great idea of how I was going to start drinking again.

It just came to me like a great idea, and the Holy Spirit exposed it as the horrible idea it really was. Sin and addiction took all those things and said to me, lets drink tonight! I thought, no way, I can’t! I am doing so good. God loves me, my wife is happy with me and no way would she let me get away with it. Unless I could blame someone else!
                                          I am watching them closely, and I see every sin. They cannot hope to hide from me. 
Jeremiah 16:17 NLT
I had a great idea: I would blame her. She wanted to go to dinner with her friend for her birthday, they would all be drinking, and I would order a drink and tell her that I felt pressured to drink. She would be okay with just one, and then I would order another one. When she said something I would tell her that she knows I can’t have just one. Then I would order a third one, that would really make her mad and then I would tell her that it was all her fault, that I didn’t even know these people, it was her fault for letting me be around them when she knew I was trying to stop.

After that, she would really be mad at me and I would have reason to take off. I would go drop her off at home with the kids because we were fighting and she wouldn’t want to see me anyhow. Then I would go meet up with my buddies who didn't know I was not drinking any more and watch the professional fight with them and get drunk again for the first time. Then I would get really drunk so that I couldn’t drive, and then I would stay out till the bar closes, because I would not be able to drive. I would then take a cab home. When she wakes me in the morning I would tell her I am sleeping in because I was out so late because she made me mad and I had no way home after I drank because I would not drink and drive. That would get her mad again; she would leave for church and go to the event afterwards. I would get to watch the daytime basketball game and drink again without her seeing.

It all seemed so brilliant at the time. What a great well thought out plan. Except for the fact that it was all a horrible idea with one goal in mind, to get drunk! 
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 NLT
The Holy Spirit being inside me was not going to let that happen. That plan sat in my head for hours in the morning and into the day. Then I decided to tell my wife I wasn’t going. I let her know that I was feeling tempted and did not want to be around alcohol that night. Then the next day I had told her some more details of my plans so I could go get drunk. She was amazed at how far I would have taken it. Quite frankly, so was I!
Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:9-11 NKJV
It has put hatred in me towards alcohol and addiction to sin. The biggest thing that the Holy Spirit has given me the power to understand is that I was not in control of me. Sin was controlling my thought processes. That is the truth or I would not have been debating myself over what I should be doing. While I knew my wife and family were happy with me and I was not out making myself look like a fool on a regular basis, I still wanted to do it. That made no sense; it still makes no sense, if you don’t want to do something then why would you be doing it?

The Bible says in Romans 7:13-25 ESV — Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.  For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

The fact is, that we all serve a master that no one sees.  It can be Jesus Christ or it can be some other sin, an addiction, a hobby, a “passion”, pride, power, money, food, they are all false gods or idols. God has put that void and desire in us in the hopes that we find Him. When we are lost and don’t know God we fill it with something else. 
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  

Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
Only the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit, also known as the Living Water. If we are not believers then we will fill it with something else. That is because deep down we need it. I was once told, true or not, that a source of obesity for many people is that we don’t know how to read our own bodies. That so many people eat when they are actually only thirsty and they have trained themselves that when their body is telling them it needs water that they mistakenly seek food. That is why it is important to always drink water, not just because we need so much but because we can’t intelligently decide to only drink and not eat when that signal is sent out.

I believe the water concept is the same thing with our need for Jesus Christ; if we don’t know Him, we don’t seek Him, so we seek other things to fill that void. The Bible teaches about the woman at the well in John 4:13-14 NKJV—Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 NKJV
Just like always drinking water when you are trying to retrain your body to become healthy. As a sinner you need to always seek Jesus Christ’s Living Water when you are trying to retrain your mind not to sin. For a new believer that could be going to church daily, reading the Bible constantly, praying several times a day, serving in a church, being around other Christians, or something else Christ centered. The basic idea is that you will eventually get your mind to understand it is Living Water that the signal is being sent out of your head looking for, not sin.

As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. 
Proverbs 26:11 NLT
We all know water takes care of physical thirst immediately; you are replacing the water you have already used and need more of it. In sin you may be dying from dehydration. Replacing deep-rooted sin and addiction may require a great amount of Living Water, but once that thirst is quenched it is immediate relief with Jesus Christ. Do not let your mind tell you that you are hungry for your sin when you are thirsting for Living Water. Just like drinking extra water when you are becoming physically healthy, you need to spend more time with Jesus Christ because your mind is not able to intelligently decide if you need the Living Water or sin.

Christ has set us free. He wants us to enjoy freedom. So stand firm. Don’t let the chains of slavery hold you again. — Galatians 5:1 NIRV

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