Thursday, March 24, 2011

addictions part 2

My last addiction post was kind of my general opinion of addictions, but I’ve been thinking more, over the past two days, and I think I’m gonna share some of the specific ways I was able to attack my addictions. 
I want to say this right out:
It’s not the abundance of addictions, or a lack thereof, that proves the strength of a believer’s walk with Christ. True strength is shown when a believer is faced with that certain temptation and chooses to say ‘no’ through the power of Jesus Christ the Omnipotent.
Without addictions, sin or evil, God’s grace and strength wouldn’t be recognized for how beautiful and amazing it is. Now, this is not to say go on sinning so that God’s grace may abound- I’m just saying that we have the chance to show God’s glorious hand at work, as we battle our weaknesses and the devil’s temptations with HIS STRENGTH!
After I recognized my addictions and discovered I couldn’t fix my problems myself, I cried out. I exposed my sinfulness to God, and to people who could help me. (I initially chose my mother, and then some other mentor-type figures. Your mom, or dad, may not be a suitable option for encouragement in the ways of God. In that case, I’d recommend going to your pastor, Bible Study Leader, or an older person in the faith who shows great devotion to God. If they can’t help you, they can probably direct you to someone who can!)
But, if you’ve tried this before, you know that even that is not enough. I’ve heard that there are stories of God’s immediate removal of addictions, but most commonly, we need to wage war and use the weapons God has given to destroy the addiction and it’s temptations.
So- here’s a great thing to do: REMOVE THE TEMPTATIONS. If you’re addicted to the computer, turn it off. Don’t even go near it for a while, if you can help it. If you’re addicted to spending, leave your credit card at home, and only take your weekly budget in cash. If you’re addicted to TV, cancel your cable for a couple months. If it’s music that gets you, clear your iPod, or stuff it in a drawer for some time. If it's a place, stay FAR AWAY, reroute your daily paths if you must. If your addiction is food, or alcohol or something of that nature, have someone you see regularly keep you in check. Tell them to pull it out of your hands and throw it away if they catch you with it. Sometimes we have to do extreme things, because destroying the addiction is EXTREMELY important to our walk with the Lord! 
Get a godly accountability partner (or a mentor, if you’re young) to encourage you, keep you on track with your decisions to remove temptations, and to pray for you.
Bathe yourself in Scripture. Like, seriously. SMOTHER YOURSELF. I don’t care if it’s not “fun”. I don’t care if you “don’t want to”. If you want to see any kind of decent result in fighting your addiction, you’ll need God’s Words. READ THAT BIBLE! 
In the morning when you wake, at night before you close your eyes, during the day, carry around index cards. Download a reading of the Bible to your itunes and play it. often.
It will get easier to stay in the Word, and you’ll start to see the effects of spending your time feeding your mind truth. The Word of God is ALIVE. So it changes things. It saves. It rescues. It refreshes. It. Is. ALIVE. so let it work in you. Bible studies and fellowships are also great ways to cover ourselves in scripture.
Talk with God about every moment of your life. Let him know you’re struggling, ask Him for help, praise Him for His faithfulness in answering your prayers and offering ways of escape. (p.s. don’t forget to take those ways of escape, when he offers them to you. don’t think you fell back into your addiction because He wasn’t there -It’s probably because you weren’t paying attention to his way of escape!)
Change your habits and schedule. When I struggled with honoring God in certain social circles, I needed to step out of those areas until my walk was back on track with God. Some of the activities I was able to rejoin after a while. Some, I never went back to because I realized that they were not beneficial to my spiritual growth, but consistently tore me down, or caused me to doubt God’s truth.
These are some things that I did to attack the addictions. They were very powerful, but I still felt (and sometimes still feel) the tremors of addictions, coaxing me to cave. So, in addition to all these things, we need to turn completely away from the direction of the addiction, and pursue the things of God. Fill the time you spent in that addiction with volunteering in the community, serving at church, spending more time with family members or friends, and of course, spending more time with God. Find new fun activities and hobbies. When those tremors start shaking your faith and determination, stop where you are and drop to those knees. Ask God for the power to say “NO” to the temptations. Ask God for the strength to continue pressing on in Him. THANK HIM for not leaving you to stew in your addictions, but for raising you up into newness of life. 
I cannot tell you how much joy abounds in the freedom from bondage to an addiction. Your eyes will be cleared to see so many more wonders of God than you could imagine. Your life will be full of fruit and your rewards will be in heaven, and maybe even blessings on earth. Jesus knows our sorrows, He knows our temptations and pain. I think I can say he is SO proud of us when we choose to take hold of His truth and wield His strength to defeat the addictions in our lives. 
God loves us. and he doesn’t just leave us to sit in our dirt. He’s reaching out His hand. Take it, and wait in expectation!

Phil 4:13 - I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Rom 6:1-4 - What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Heb 4:12 - For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart
Phil 4:6-7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;  and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

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