Its time to get Practical!
Get off your knees and show me your faith – it’s time to do some work!
Now for all the saints reading this, don’t get me wrong I know that there are some things that only come by prayer and fasting and as Christians our greatest weapon is the depth of our relationship with Christ, which is garnered through prayer. But there are some things that need a little more than prayer, after all if that wasn’t the case Paul would have told Timothy to pray for youthful lust instead of fleeing from it (2 Tim. 2:22).
By all accounts, the word flee means to run away, often from danger or evil; take action.
Speaking from my own life experiences, I think a lot of us fail to move past certain things that we struggle with because we fail to change our perspective on the situation. It’s difficult to change a big part of yourself when you aren’t willing to rearrange a few other things to make such an accommodation.
Most recently, I was given the strongest revelation concerning a personal thing that I have been struggling with for years (I’m not being translucent, that discussion just needs a post all for itself – or maybe a few posts lol). I had come to a place in my life when I felt broken and I really needed a change but I didn’t know where to start. Then the Holy Spirit laid 5 things on my heart that completely changed my life.
I hope it helps someone else who’s having a difficult time kicking a dirty habit.
1. Recognize that your own strength will never be enough.
Probably my entire life I’ve heard this saying, “God will never give you more than you can bear.” And although I do understand what the saying represents, I think it’s important to recognize that we are not meant to go through these things on our own, but with him and through the strength we have acquired by joining the body of Christ. As Christians we must suffer loss, experience heartbreak and go through rough times, but God promises that His grace is sufficient. If God were to give us all the power to overcome any and every thing on our own, then we would never need him.
Learning to accept that was probably the hardest part of the journey because it required a humility that humanity has never taught me. I had to literally pry pride from the clasps of my fingers, it was like a crutch I had been using to trick myself into believing that I could stand and walk on my own when in fact I had a broken leg and busted knee and really needed professional help (i.e. Jesus – the great Physician).
2. Realize that you are not the only one.
I don’t know about you, but I was convinced that I was the only one going through what I was going through while I was going through it. This may sound simple and common enough but I didn’t realize just how much that affected my ability to overcome it. This skewed my way of thinking and caused me to believe that there had to have been something wrong with me, which made moving past a slip up all the more difficult because I just kept beating myself up for this thing that seemed to follow me around like a bad stench. That unfortunately invited shame and guilt, and three no longer became a crowd but an awful party (nightmare) that seemed to go on for eternity.
The worst part about shame and guilt is that they build a wall between you and God, and that separation is worse than any sin I could have ever committed because the longer I stayed away from God, convinced by these feelings that I could never be forgiven, the worse my spiritual state became. Which leads me to my next point.
3. It’s okay to ask for help.
Recognizing that I wasn’t the only one going through this type of struggle was my first real breakthrough because I finally didn’t feel alone anymore.
“Loneliness is like a disease that lives in your subconscious; its greatest threat is that only you can cure it.” – Keela’s Chronicles
I’m no bartender but shame, guilt and loneliness seemed like the worst cocktail a person could have. I was finally at the place where just this knowledge gave me courage enough to ask for help. Trust me, no one of us is above getting help from a trusted mentor. I now had accountability and the knowledge that someone else was also rooting for me to be better.
Getting to that point showed me that I had finally arrived at a place where my spiritual well-being had greater weight in the scheme of things than my pride.
4. Boundaries are your best friend.
Even with all the other things, my decision to have boundaries is what determined whether or not this would be a successful attempt or another relapse. It is counterproductive to serve alcohol at a banquet for the AA (alcoholic Anonymous) Society, wouldn’t you agree? Because even though they have all obviously admitted they have a problem, recognized that they are not the only one, and gone out and gotten help, that open source of temptation knocks all those things out of the window.
For this same reason it was extremely important to me to not find myself in a position where the temptation would find me. Of course, that isn’t always the case but the active pursuit of “sobriety” gets easier and easier as time goes by.
5. Change your conversation.
My finally tip is to change your conversation, and what I mean by this is change your prayer. This is the final thing I learnt on this journey, I needed to change my conversation with God, and in retrospect change my perspective. It was always my main concern to pray that God would help me to kick the dirty habit and for years it just always seemed to linger in the background waiting for the right song to come on so it could join me on the dance floor and I never knew why. Why wasn’t God listening? Why wasn’t he answering my prayer? Why couldn’t I get over this thing?
Then one day the thought suddenly occurred to me, it isn’t that God wasn’t listening, it was that I was asking the wrong questions. The ultimate goal to get over the sin was recognizing that it was something wrong and I knew I couldn’t be doing wrong if I expected to go to heaven. But the funny thing about human nature and “flesh” is that the forbidden fruit always looks most appetizing. Instead of praying for God to take away my desire to do this thing, I should have been praying that He would give me a greater desire to please him. It wasn’t a matter of getting over sin, it was a matter of loving God more than my sin (a.k.a. flesh).
Love God enough to hate what he hates. That was a much greater motivation than “because it’s wrong”.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13