Romans 8:1-2 (NLT)
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”
Have you ever had any habits you just could not break? Not just something like drugs or alcohol, but maybe smoking, gambling, pornography, or something else? Have you ever tried to stop and couldn’t get it completely under control before doing it again?
The truth is no matter if we call them habits or addictions, we are still dependent on that particular substance, thing, or activity. In fact, there can be any number of things from trivial to serious that can take away from the quality of life we want to have. I mentioned some of the main ones, but there are so many others that can take over at certain times. Everyday items such as video games, watching videos/tv, food, sex, shopping, and even work. We all heard of workaholics, but some take it to the extreme because they need the power and money they feel their job gives them and they are less if they don’t have it.
Most people do not sit down and self-critique because they don’t want to list their faults or admit they may have a problem. I know that I am horrible at holding myself accountable at times for certain things I may do. Why? Maybe because if we did then others may look at or treat us differently. Plus, denial can be easier because you don’t have to do anything about it right now. I have gotten better at listening to the convictions of the Holy Spirit when certain thoughts arise or actions occur.
Now we can enter into the debate of which is worse, the addiction or the excuses we use to cover it up, because both are damaging and prevent real healing or positive progress. Certain habits do cause physiological changes to our bodies that may cause it to react painfully if we do not get what we are craving. It may be simpler if it just ended there but add in the psychological symptoms and it can feel like trying to swim to safety against the current of the river so you don’t go over the falls. Far too often it is easier to just take our chances with the falls and hope we make it out of the water if we hit the bottom.
As we drag ourselves to the rocks along the edge of the river we may get to explain to the onlookers how we’re fine and it was no big deal. The trouble is that one of those onlookers you are lying to is staring back at you from the mirror. I’ve either heard or used excuses like, “I can handle it”, “It’s not hurting anyone”, and my favorite, “just this one last time then I’ll quit.” You can justify it with, “I need something to take the edge off’, “I just can’t deal with everything that’s going on”, or the ever popular, “everyone else is doing it.” Maybe you don’t want to deal with it at all, so you just deny anything is happening.
So, what do we do? Like I said earlier, I started listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance and especially for the warning. In secular terms you may call it your conscience, but either way it’s that small voice you hear somewhere in the background before, during and after trekking into the shadows. In clinical terms we can call this your trigger you want to avoid. However, when we are deep into our addictive behavior that voice gets harder and harder to hear. The first step is actually admitting that there is an issue and something has to change. If this doesn’t happen then you are just going through the motions.
The two major successes I have in my own life only took place after I decided that I was sick of the excuses and decided that I really needed to make a change. It may sound like I had an easy time of it, but It wasn’t. I had plenty of false starts till I began reaching out more to the Lord for strength and this is when I began hearing that voice a little louder. At first it would show up too late so I would have to ask the Lord for forgiveness and strength to prevent it from happening again. Eventually I would get that nudge before going over the falls and I got to thank the Lord for helping me to safely reach the shore.
One scripture that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” By remaining faithful and believing in my heart I definitely found strength in the Lord to handle what I was going through. He was there to walk beside me among the shadows to see me safely to the other side. This was how I was able to make it and was stronger once I did.
If you study the Word you will find that no matter what you’ve done God still loves you and Jesus is there holding out His hand to you. All we need to do is accept it with His grace and mercy. I also finally realized that there are people everywhere who have been through pretty much anything I may encounter or who are there to help. If you take the time to look around you will find them and they will be there with you for prayer and support, not judgement. When you get a handle on things then it could even be you reaching out that helping hand.
The bottom line is that these addictions prevent us from being who God created us to be. We get tangled in the thicket so we can’t spread our wings anymore and soon just stop fighting till we have no strength left. Now it’s not going to be easy, but take a breath and call on the Lord to remove those constricting branches. Now grab His hand to rise up, spread your wings, and fly, be free. As you begin to soar higher please enjoy, “My Lifegiving Spirit.”
MY LIFEGIVING SPIRIT
It drew me in for a taste or a promise at a time when I was weak,
Now there are times I have no control and the road ahead looks bleak.
I keep trying to remember the reasons for this path I sought,
All I know now is I can’t get out of this trap in which I am caught.
I thought I was making progress till I felt the urge begin,
I got worn down as I fought the cravings and soon I just gave in.
But is this need real or imagined, in my mind I just don’t know,
It feels like I have reached the bottom, but I still won’t let it go.
As I keep seeking to satisfy the desire the more I find myself alone,
Lord, this darkness is crushing the life from me I can’t do this on my own.
My child, look up, the sun is rising on the dawn of a brand new day,
It’s time to start a different journey with a chance to go a new way.
You are afraid of what may lie before you and ashamed what you’ve done,
But your strength is in me and not in yourself for this fight you have begun.
I will walk with you through the shadows till you come out the other side,
Fore My love will not abandon you and My Spirit will be your guide.
No matter what you have done you can be forgiven as My grace I give to you,
There are also others who have gone before you and can show you what to do.
You will have greater strength together as you stand united with me,
Believe in me with all your heart and My Lifegiving Spirit will set you fre