ARE WE MANAGING? …OR TRULY DELIVERED? It is very common practice to “exchange” addictions instead of receiving true deliverance/healing (AKA: FREEDOM!). Allow me to define what I mean by “Deliverance” below since (I've come to learn that) this can be a debatable word in Christian circles. Working out obsessively in place of binge eating or drinking alcohol, or chain smoking after quitting drinking or doing drugs, or guzzling coffee after laying down alcohol, or substituting porn for gambling & vice versa, or using phrases like “I LOVE/HAVE TO HAVE coffee. At least I'm not an alcoholic anymore!”… Can anyone relate? I’ve been here. We just exchange one crutch for another, more palatable one ;)
MANAGEMENT: WE are trying to have control (but never really do); based on will-power; NO REAL REPENTANCE for the sin; pride; still tormented/guilt; temporary; deceiving; we are still not truly FREE; still bound by man-made rules to “try” to be good; (ie: Every time I want a ___, Im gonna ____ instead); one source of false comfort is exchanged for another.
DELIVERANCE: GOD is in control; GOD’S POWER ALONE heals us from addiction and bondage (very real spiritual warfare); TRUE REPENTANCE & DESIRE TO CHANGE; humility; no more torment/guilt; lasting; Truth; TRUE FREEDOM. Simple. The work is done at the cross! A new creation in Christ. The ONLY exchange that takes place is THAT THING we just have to have/do is replaced with God's unending Love, the only thing that NEVER RETURNS VOID.
When our “addictions” just change from something illegal to legal, or “ugly” to socially acceptable…we are not truly free. It’s still bondage, only more deceiving because it can be masked as “health” or “freedom” from the world’s perspective. When we “manage” our addictions, it appears we are moving in the right direction, so friends and family will praise us for our “strength” or “will-power”. But that’s just it…it’s our own strength, not God’s.
It will eventually fail us. God has better for us.
DELIVERANCE brings forth true joy, clarity, and real freedom in your life. Deliverance, as I am calling it, is really just another word for breaking the chains, breaking strongholds, or the sanctification process that is continuously happening from our day of salvation until the day we die. As we get to know Jesus more and more, we are humbled and repentant of more and more, allowing God’s power to transform us (deliver us from) more and more. I call that Deliverance. There are “Christian books” on deliverance that are “formula-based” or “works-based”…I want to be clear that following some strict formula for Deliverance is neither Biblical nor accurate. Simply acknowledge and repent for your sin and know that God is the only one who has the power to heal. It may look very different from someone else’s journey. My sobriety required no 12-step program or other human being. God did use a bible study I was in to feed me the scriptures that finally convicted me and lead me to repentance. Remember: It's God's kindness (and GOODNESS) that lead us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
My healing came through the mighty Word of God, a repentant heart (God knows when your heart is truly sorry), and God’s amazing power and grace. SIMPLE. I have never touched or craved alcohol again. I know what boundaries I cannot cross in order to stay free. It is a choice.
And now that I finally stand on the freedom side of this, I see the level of deception I was under, how easily I could argue against everything I am now saying. I could even manipulate scripture to justify why it was ok for me to drink. It not only hurt me by keeping me tangled in the lie, it kept me tormented, powerless, and exhausted. It also mislead so many others. I’d love to pray with you if you need healing in this area.
Psalms 18:2 NKJV The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Three years ago I would have told you I was fine. But until we’ve been set FREE, truly set free, another piece of our heart fully surrendered to Jesus, we DO NOT know what we are missing because all we know is where we have been. Amen? I WAS an alcoholic. I WAS in bondage to promiscuity and drugs all through my teens and 20's. I was tormented by FEAR in so many ways, the worst being night terrors from as early as I can remember until the day I quit drinking! There are so many battles the Lord has delivered me from over time. I want to tell you my story about "alcoholism"…which I was delivered from in August 2013 (WOOHOOOO!!!) THAT was the link that instantly set me free from a lifetime of night terrors and paralyzing fear and anxiety.
Yes, we are delivered from the bondage of sin and hell, and given the promise and hope of Heaven the day we are saved!! That does not mean, however, that everyone is instantly freed from every stronghold at that very moment. Some people ARE instantly changed or healed. For others, like me, some (or many) strongholds remain. When we acknowledge sin for what it is, repent for it, and invite God to help and heal us, knowing we cannot do it for ourselves, He comes in and faithfully heals us (delivers, however you want to word it) in ways we may never have seen the connection.
I NEVER IMAGINED THERE WAS A LINK BETWEEN MY DRINKING & NIGHT TERRORS.
I started drinking and smoking and doing drugs at age 12. I slept on barstools as a child and knew all the other kids at the bar my parents frequented. It was normal to me. It certainly wasn’t “an addiction” in my eyes. Everyone did it. I thought it was wierd when people didn’t drink. I learned very young that those people were “prudes”, “boring”, “judgemental”, “didn’t know how to have fun”, AND that “I worked my BUTT off (since performance & pride were other struggles), so I DESERVED to TREAT myself to a drink”. I became a cocktail waitress ON my 18th birthday, and then BARTENDER as soon as I turned 21. I was raised with the mentality that if you’re not living on the streets and missing teeth, getting multiple DUI’s, or losing custody of your kids for being a drunk that you do not have a drinking problem. Heck, all of our Catholic Church picnics were BEER FESTS!! I worked hard, got good grades, paid my own bills, excelled in school and work, so I did whatever I wanted. And there were consequences.
I finally crumbled at age 28, getting radically saved as soon as I graduated Chiropractic school within days of moving to Franklin, TN. God was rocking my world and my beliefs started to change. Fast forward 6 years into my salvation and MANY MISTAKES later, God got my attention at the end of August 2013 with this verse:
1 COR 6:12 (NIV) “Everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial,” says the Lord. “Everything is permissible for me, but I WILL NOT BE MASTERED BY ANYTHING.” (emphasis mine) (*God repeats Himself again in 1 Cor 10:23) In a moment, I knew that God knew (that I knew for sure) that I had been running from this for years. I knew that He wasn’t going to launch me back into full-time ministry to be trusted with HIS people until I dealt with this. I knew I wasn’t just battling “toxic guilt” as many of my Christian friends, my “healthy” drinking buddies and husband would tell me (beware who you get advice from…Do we really want THE TRUTH or people who justify our sin & tickle our ears?). I KNEW God had been speaking to me for years and that HE KNEW I was convicted. It was my choice to continue in sin and face harsher consequences or repent and trust HIM to do what I was never able to do. God gave me SO MANY second chances, SO MUCH GRACE and SO MUCH MERCY. I made SO many mistakes under the influence....BUT GOD... OH how He loves us!
Clearly if I actually had power over this (aka: it wasn’t an addiction) then I would have walked away from it after the millionth mistake and the repeating saga of shame and guilt and hangovers that followed. It was insanity. Fear told me I couldn't quit, so denial was easier.
I heard the Lord say “You can LEAD my people out of OBEDIENCE, or you can MISLEAD them in your DISOBEDIENCE“. Ouch! …Humbled. Convicted. Surrendered. I was afraid to admit this was such a stronghold in my life because I DID NOT BELIEVE I could ever quit. And I was right. I couldn’t. BUT GOD COULD. I was instantly delivered when I truly confessed from the bottom of my heart, when I cried out to God that I was really truly ready to be healed from this, when I believed I had no power over this on my own, and when these scriptures became life and Truth to me. I. am. so. grateful. This wasn’t just about me. This decision changed the course of my life, health, marriage & ministry...for the better!!!
I CAME TO THE END OF MYSELF & GOD GAVE ME A NEW LIFE. From that day forward, I was set free from a lifetime of night terrors (33 years my friends!). I slept sound for the 1st time in my life!! I had peace I’d never experienced before. I had courage to do things I never could. The 1st 6 months were hard in other ways, but ultimately my husband joined me in complete sobriety. We were FINALLY equally yoked!! My husband immediately received a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, and God anointed us to go out and share the gospel. God united us like never before and answered prayers we had so desperately desired! Within WEEKS, He blasted open the doors for the Revelation Revolution Fitness Ministry!! He gave me the name, the location, the courage, the wisdom & the anointing to say and do the things I wasn’t able to before!!
GOD DID THE IMPOSSIBLE. Confessing & laying down our sin isn't just about us. It has a ripple affect. When we do not surrender it robs the next generation of freedom. We are essentially teaching our children and the many people we influence that compromise is ok.
THE TRUTH IS: Partial obedience = DISOBEDIENCE.
Obedience slams the door in satan’s face, saying “NO MORE! The enemy CANNOT have my life, my peace, my mind, my family, or my FREEDOM!!” We must fight for our freedom!! A hopeless world is watching us….looking for answers, wondering if God really is who He says He is, desperate, doubting, drowning, watching whether we stand or crumble when the storms come. If we don’t stand out and truly walk in the freedom that Christ died to give us, how is God’s power and glory really displayed in our lives??!! If we look & act just like the world, how can we call ourselves a "peculiar people, a chosen generation"?! If we never give God the opportunity to do the impossible, then do we truly believe HE ACTUALLY CAN?? OR are we just repeating words & songs and doing whatever we want? I think that's called "religion". We want RELATIONSHIP.
WE ARE THE VESSEL HE WANTS TO USE!! What are we willing to lay down for THE ONE who gave it ALL for us?? Are we willing to go lower so that HIS NAME can go Higher?!
Know the Truth and the TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE. Let Freedom Ring!!
2 COR 1:20 (NKJV) For ALL the promises of God in Him are YES, and in Him AMEN, to the glory of God THROUGH US. …Amen? HEBREWS 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw of the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. I AM PRAYING that every reader who ever reads this blog will surrender, repent, and RECEIVE THE FREEDOM that Jesus Christ died to give us! To Him be the glory. Amen.