CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Christians and Addiction
From Grace to Victory
By Barry Huddleston
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Someone once said, "The battle of life is for your mind: the battle of the mind is for focus." Sin begins in the mind and if we nourish it we eventually commit the act. It does matter what we think about, and in 1 Corinthians 3 it is pretty clear that it is possible for a Christian to have a carnal mind. As Christians we are told that a holy life begins with a holy mind. And, just as thinking about Jesus and His finished work on the cross brings about blessings and peace, negative thoughts can bring about negative consequences in our lives. That is why in Second Corinthians 10:4-5 we are told, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations (thoughts), and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."
The strongholds are addictive thoughts in your mind that feed the imagination. The devil plays mind games with us. He puts these thoughts or lies in your mind and says, "You're not really saved, saved people don't think about things like that." Or, he may put a thought in your mind that you're not really forgiven, that you don't have eternal life, or even that God is angry with you for having such thoughts. Satan even uses the trick that destroys our identity in Christ by calling us stupid, ignorant, or not holy and righteous as Jesus has declared us to be. He is definitely trying to pull you away from God by getting you focused on toxic obsessive thoughts.
Proverbs 4:23 says, "Guard your heart (mind) above all else, for it determines the course of your life." In other words watch what mental movies you are playing in your mind.
Many Christians struggle with the consequences of addiction. I believe that the reason they are not growing and remain defeated is because they have never made the shift form self-occupation to Christ occupation. They are defeated because of a lack of knowledge of God's grace and because they do not understand what the finished work of the cross means to them.
1. As long as we are in this physical body the flesh is active in us. Your life will go in the direction of your most dominant thought. The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. For a period of time you will have to completely saturate your mind with the Word of God, scripture memory, praise and worship, Bible study, witnessing, prayer and fellowship. Romans 7:18-19 is a struggle we all face when we are occupied with ourselves and fighting with the flesh within us. Memorize 1 Corinthians 10:13
2. Jesus condemned sin in the flesh. Romans 8:3 says you are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God has placed His robe of righteousness on your shoulders to let you know that you are loved and accepted in His sight. You have received His gift of no condemnation because the blood of Jesus has set you free from sin and death. You are forgiven and no longer a captive of sin. It has no power over you. But what you can tolerate you will never change, and complaining about what you permit will only continue to depress you. This addiction is not who you are, it is not what God sees, it is what Satan wants to use to keep you from growing in grace and being useful to God.
3. All the negative and obsessive thoughts and even the toxic emotions from your flesh have already been judged and punished at the cross. Jesus took all condemnation and now intercedes for you at the Father's right hand.
4. You can experience victory over the flesh through the power of the cross. The Christian life is a battle. It's warfare with an enemy that has control over this world and the flesh. So you must simply learn to fight. Memorize Psalm 119, verses 9, 11. The fact that you are struggling is the proof you have not yet been conquered. But you can't do it on your own. Only Jesus can deliver us from this body of death. Romans 7:24, 25.
5. Set your mind on Christ. In Romans 8:1 we find that we can live in the domain of no condemnation and victory instead of the domain of constant struggle and defeat when we make the shift from self-occupation to Christ-occupation. You see, grace gives you freedom from addictions and the torment of guilt. The more you experience the love and grace of your heavenly Father, the more you will fall in love with Him and out of love with sin.
Here is an acrostic with the word FLESH to help you to have victory in Jesus:
Focus on the cross. Find a church that preaches grace.
Listen and learn from the Word, sermons, and CD's about Jesus
Enter into worship and praise every day. The act of worship unleashes God's power and love into every area of your life. Your belief in Jesus and worship activates God's power to save you in every situation. This is what God created us to do.
Speak your true identity every day. You are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Help others to grow in their Christian faith and to understand their power as believers in Christ.
And now, "Go and sin no more."
Image Credit: Kersley Fitzgerald
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Sin-Evil
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Published on 4-29-15