JOURNEY TO FREEDOM HANDBOOK

UNIT II Key 3                                SCRIPTURE

Purpose of this Key:

  1. Learn the common defense mechanisms we use to try to justify our sins.
  2. Realize that we need to confess our sins and make no excuses for them.
  3. Understand how we judge in others the sins we do not want to confess in ourselves.
  4. Understand how the Word of God exposes our lies and defenses.
  5. Understand that in order to be sanctified, we need to be honest about ourselves.
  6. Learn that science and archeology prove that the Bible is trustworthy.
  7. Realize that the Word is powerful.

John 17:17

Common responses:

  1. Jesus never lied, so we should not lie.
  2. Sanctification comes through the Word of God, so we need to read the Word.
  3. Righteous teaching makes us clean on the inside.
  4. The truth in the Word will set us free.
  5. Christ has declared us holy because we are penitent, and He has set us apart from the World for His purposes.

Points to emphasize:

  1. The Word of God is like a mirror that shows us our sins even though we try to hide them.
  2. The Word shows us our hidden motivations, secret agendas, pride, and self-will.
  3. The Word can replace the lies of the devil with the truth.
  4. We can resist the truth from the Word, or we can repent of what it shows us.
  5. When we repent, our sin is removed.
  6. Behind every temptation is a lie or lies of the devil.
  7. When we were young, lies were injected into our minds. Even after our circumstances changed, the lies continued to influence us.
  8. The more thoroughly we examine ourselves and confess sin, the more God can give us wisdom, insight, and discernment, and reveal His will to us.
  9. When we replace lies with truth and confess our sins honestly, God can change us.
  10. He wants to change one’s total personality, not just one’s sexuality.

John 16:4

Common responses:

  1. Jesus promised them that after He was gone, they would remember what He said.
  2. When we need them, the Holy Spirit will also remind us of the verses we have memorized.
  3. We should memorize Scripture so that the Holy Spirit can remind us of them when necessary.
  4. Jesus was preparing His disciples for trials and tests. They would need the power of His Word in order to be ready.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm that the Holy Spirit through the Word will make their faith strong and protect them during temptation.
  2. Affirm that when we are being tempted, the Holy Spirit can be asked to bring to mind relevant Scripture.
  3. Jesus kept His promise to the early Church.
  4. We can rely on the Gospels to be accurate (John 14:26).
  5. New believers might need an explanation of how we got the New Testament.
  6. Some editions of the Bible include such an explanation.

John 8:44-45

Common responses:

  1. The devil is the source of lies. Jesus is the source of the truth.
  2. The people had sinned so much that their sins felt normal to them.
  3. The devil lies through other people.
  4. The devil’s goal is to destroy us.
  5. Many recognize that before they received faith in Jesus, they believed the devil’s lies.
  6. The truth will offend people and bring us persecution.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Encourage them to continue identifying the lies they have believed and replacing those lies with the truth from the Word.
  2. Assure them that every time they rid their minds of a lie, they become more free (John 8:32, 34, & 36).
  3. If they confess to following the devil’s lies, encourage self-examination and repentance. Give assurance of God’s forgiveness from I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1.
  4. Lies feed negative thoughts, such as selfishness, self-pity, envy, cynical attitudes toward others, resentment, unjust judgments, hostility, superior attitudes that cover feelings of inferiority, and pride. These were brought up in Unit I Key 1; encourage them to re-visit the first Key and ask the Holy Spirit to expose any lies they have believed.
  5. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions. Whenever we feel fear, anger, shame, humiliation, low self-esteem, or recall a painful memory, the lies of the devil are not far behind.
  6. The devil tempts us by promising that sin will make us feel better. He never delivers as much pleasure as he promises.
  7. Whenever we feel a negative emotion, unless there is a good reason for it, we can ask the Holy Spirit to show us the lie behind it.
  8. Much temptation can be stopped when we recognize the lies that are behind the temptation.
  9. Encourage them to praise God every time they are delivered from another lie.
  10. Remind them of John 10:10, which tells us the devil’s only goal is to destroy us. Jesus went to the cross to restore what was stolen from us.

Proverbs 24:1-12

Common responses:

  1. Most recognize that when we stay in the Word, we will not make these mistakes.
  2. Most see these verses as good advice for living wisely.
  3. Some see in verse 11 that we should witness to unbelievers.
  4. We should never envy them, because their ways bring trouble.
  5. We should pray for more wisdom.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response. These verses say different things to different people.  
  2. We need God’s wisdom to re-build a life destroyed by the devil’s lies.
  3. These verses have good advice on how to live wisely and deal with other people.

1. What kinds of defenses have you usually used to justify your sins?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Lying, denying, minimizing the seriousness of them, claiming their sins were necessary to feel better, claiming that it was not wrong as long as no one got hurt, blaming other people, claiming everyone else was doing the same thing, are common defenses.
  3. Most ssa/ma/tx overcomers once believed that they were born with these attractions.
  4. Many once blamed society or their parents for their problems.
  5. Maa’s often focused on the fact that sex between adults and children is legal in some countries.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm good insights.
  2. Acknowledge that we all defend our sins until the Holy Spirit shows us the truth (Jeremiah 17:9 & Ephesians 2:1-5).
  3. Encourage thanks and praise to God that they now know better.
  4. Never criticize honest acknowledgement.
  5. Affirm the need to confess sin, even if they committed it only once or in extreme circumstances.
  6. Generational sin certainly influences us (Exodus 20:5-6), but God offers mercy to those who love Him. No one needs to repeat their parent’s sins (Ezekiel 18).
  7. Assure them that as they grow in Christ, the Holy Spirit might show them other defenses as well.
  8. Facing our sins without our defense mechanisms can be very painful. Refer to John 1:9 and Romans 8:1.
  9. Assure them that confessing our sins without our usual defenses is humbling but powerful.

2. We often use defenses when we doubt God’s forgiveness is great enough to cover all of our sins. Is there any sin in your life or past that you wonder if God can really forgive you for?

Common responses:

  1. Most people say “no”.
  2. Some used to wonder if God could really forgive them for ssa/ma/tx but then learned through the Word that He also forgives those sins.
  3. Those who have committed murder, abortion, rape, child molestation, or devil worship have the hardest time believing God could forgive them.
  4. Some wonder if God will forgive them if they repeat the same sin too many times.

Points to emphasize:

  1. If they are sure of God’s forgiveness, encourage thanks and praise.
  2. Explain that they might someday witness to someone who has trouble accepting that they can receive forgiveness no matter what they have done.
  3. Assure them that however great our sin, Jesus is a greater Savior.
  4. Assure them that the ground is level at the foot of the cross. Society has to be stricter with some actions than others, but before God all sins are treated alike and require the same Atonement on the cross.
  5. If they express on-going guilt, refer to I Timothy 1:12-17. Then refer to what the Apostle Paul says of himself in Acts 22:19-20, 26:9-11, and I Corinthians 15:8-10).
  6. If they express on-going guilt for murder, abortion, rape, child molestation, devil worship, blasphemy, or similar sins, refer to Manasseh in II Chronicles 33, who sacrificed his own children in satanic rituals. Compare verse 6 with verses 12-13.
  7. If they are in bondage to strong temptation and have great difficulty getting the victory over it, they are the ones who most need to receive assurance of God’s forgiveness.
  8. Assure them that Romans 8:1 applies to every penitent sinner. They will never overcome sin by their own efforts. They need to continue to drown sin in on-going confession and constant acceptance of God’s mercy.
  9. The devil will use hidden guilt and unconfessed sin to ruin our Christian walk.
  10. Guilt is not the same as regret. We all have done things we will regret for the rest of our lives.
  11. The fact that they can feel guilty is a sign of an awakened conscience. But they should not stay in their guilt after they have confessed sin and received forgiveness (II Corinthians 7:9-10 & Romans 8:1).
  12. Beware of people punishing themselves with guilt, which is a human effort to atone for one’s own sins. Jesus made full satisfaction for all of our sins. He did on our behalf what we could never do for ourselves (II Corinthians 5:21).
  13. We can repent because the Bible says something is a sin, even if we do not feel guilty or remorseful. Repentance must not be based on emotions, but on the Word.

3. What kinds of faults do you find yourself quick to judge in others?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Every time we are tempted to judge someone, we should send up a quick prayer for their salvation.
  2. Often when we have overcome a sin, we then see it more clearly in those around us. However, identifying their sin does not mean we are assigned to confront it.
  3. If the person we judge claims to be a Christian but lives like a hypocrite, pray for them to be delivered from their besetting sin.
  4. We should only confront if we are Spirit-led. Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1 give guidelines for doing so.
  5. Sometimes when we confront others, we find that we were the ones giving offense, and we need to ask for forgiveness.
  6. We do not know what is happening in that person’s life, what has happened in the past, or what they are struggling with.
  7. If we get a chance to witness to that person, we need to be ready to proclaim that salvation is available only and entirely by the mercy of God in Christ.
  8. Sometimes we need to ask God to make us more patient with people.
  9. Sometimes we need to examine ourselves, because we might have the same faults (Romans 2:1-3 & 21-23).
  10. The more clearly we see the depth of our own sin, the less judgmental we become.

4. What do you need to do about that (Matthew 7:1-5)?

Common responses:

  1. Many see the need to continue confessing their own sins.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm the need to continue confessing their own sins.
  2. This text does not say to ignore others’ faults; it says to clean up our own lives so that we are better equipped to help others.
  3. Point to verse 2, which refers to the “standard of measure” by which one judges.
  4. Recognize that there are two standards of measurement, the Law and the Gospel (John 1:17).
  5. No one should judge by the standard of the Law, for we all fall short (Romans 3:20 & 23).
  6. As forgiven sinners, we should be glad to be judged by the standard of the Gospel, which assures all penitent sinners of God’s mercy (Romans 3:24 & 6:23, Psalm 103:10-12 & 130:3-4).
  7. Sometimes unbelievers accuse Christians of judging them, because they feel hidden guilt over their sins. This is a witnessing opportunity. Explain the difference between judgment based on the Law and judgment based on the Gospel.
  8. There is a difference between identifying a sin and judging someone who commits it. Unbelievers confuse these because of their hidden guilt.
  9. Refer to Luke 18:9-14. God is the Judge, and He judges penitent sinners as righteous.

5. You began the Keys program because you desired to overcome ssa/ma/tx temptations. What are some other issues in your life that God is calling you to change?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By this time, many have come to realize that they need to change their thinking. Romans 12:2 and II Corinthians 10:5 are proving themselves to be true.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any God-pleasing response. Encourage them to continue to listen for God’s direction.
  2. If they have already made the changes they list, encourage them to praise God.
  3. If they list some changes they have not yet made, counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.
  4. Remind them that God wants to change one’s total personality, not just one’s sexuality.
  5. Sins of the mind are not just “little things”. Sins of thought need to be nipped in the bud (Song of Solomon 2:15, Matthew 12:34-37, & 15:18-20).
  6. Reassure them that they will like themselves more as they let God change them (John 10:10).

6. What are some of the things you have learned about yourself since you started the program?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Most now realize that they were not born ssa/ma/tx, that change is possible, and that they have become stronger than they ever thought possible.
  3. Many have developed a greater awareness of God’s unconditional love.
  4. Many now realize that they are totally dependent on the mercy of Christ for both salvation and sanctification.
  5. Many are gaining greater self-esteem based on God’s esteem of them.
  6. Often the more they recognize that they are changing, the more change they desire.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
  2. Realizing that they were not born ssa/ma/tx is half the battle.
  3. The most important truth that anyone can learn is that we are both saved and sanctified only by God’s mercy in Christ.
  4. Keep encouraging them, because new habits sometimes take a long time to learn.
  5. Remind them that their minds are in the process of being re-wired as the Word builds their faith.

7. On a scale of 1-10, how victorious have you been lately? Please explain your answer.

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By this time, many have become able to overcome the sins of deeds. The sins of thought may still defeat them.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Encourage thanks and praise to God for any victory gained
  2. If the number is high because they have had very little temptation lately, encourage thanks and praise to God.
  3. If the number is high because they have had to fight much temptation and were successful, encourage thanks and praise to God.
  4. More tests will likely be put in their way, but future tests should not spoil their enjoyment of the victories they have had so far.
  5. Avoid criticizing a low number. Try to find out the reason for it. Ask about their thoughts, attitudes, stressful situations, how they have been using their time, or if something unexpected has happened.
  6. If they sin less frequently than before, assure them that God has been working in their lives. Encourage progress, not perfection.
  7. If they have slipped, encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track.
  8. Remind them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.
  9. Encourage them to retrace their steps and ask the Holy Spirit to give them insight into what weakness led to the fall.
  10. Encourage confession of sins of thoughts (Romans 12:2), which makes it easier to avoid sins of words and deeds.
  11. Continue to encourage them to use memorized Scripture to block tempting and negative thoughts. Encourage use of the Emergency Prayer.
  12. If they view themselves as making very little progress, keep their focus on God’s mercy rather than their own failures. Punishing themselves with guilt accomplishes nothing; Jesus took the punishment on their behalf.
  13. New Christians do not always understand the difference between temptation and actual sin. Some give themselves a low number; but while the temptation was great, they may not have fallen into sin. Explain the difference to them.
  14. If they have not had temptation in a long while, they might need to be aware that the devil does not give up easily and may be preparing a major attack. This should not prevent them from enjoying their progress now. Overcomers commonly experience a major attack of temptation before getting the final victory over a besetting sin. If they withstand a big temptation, which can go on for days or weeks, they will usually find themselves that much stronger once it is over.

8. On a scale of 1-10, how much memory work have you done?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By now, most people are memorizing Scripture and seeing benefits.
  3. Even if they are not actively memorizing, verses may be staying in their minds from their Bible-reading.

Points to emphasize:

  1. If the answer correlates with the number in #7, point out the correlation.
  2. Encourage any memorization, especially verses that speak of God’s mercy and promises.
  3. Verses that only condemn sin are not helpful. Verses that give the consolation of the Gospel to the penitent sinner are powerful and bring change.
  4. If they are having trouble memorizing, they can write down meaningful verses on paper and read them several times throughout the day.

9. Did you use any memorized Scripture to battle temptation lately? What was the result?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Some are noticing fewer ssa/ma/tx temptations but more of other kinds of temptations.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Encourage using Scripture to battle all temptation, sexual or otherwise.
  2. If they are less tempted to ssa/ma/tx sins, and other temptations are more obvious, that is usually a sign of spiritual growth.
  3. If they have been memorizing a lot, encourage them to continue, especially if they have had much temptation lately.
  4. If they had no significant temptation lately, they need to memorize in order to be prepared.
  5. If memorized Scripture does not seem to be effectively blocking temptation, they might have had much temptation lately or are trying to break an old habit. Encourage them to be persistent and consistent.
  6. Avoid criticizing a low number. Encourage confession of sin and to start using their sword (Ephesians 6:17).
  7. Remind them of God’s promises.
  8. Remind them that their minds are being renewed as the Holy Spirit builds their faith.

10. How is your spiritual life in general, how are your private devotions, and how are things at your church/fellowship group?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Encourage thanks and praise to God for whatever is going well.
  2. Explore what is not going well and try to help them find out why.
  3. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.
  4. Give encouragement and be patient. They are often getting many new thoughts and ideas in a short period of time.

Plan of Action:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. Be alert for any hidden legalism
  3. Give lots of encouragement.
  4. By this time, many are learning to be Spirit-led and therefore less dependent upon the written Plans of Action.

Additional Points:

  1. Ssa/ma/tx overcomers sometimes have long periods of very little temptation, followed by sudden onslaughts of strong and persistent temptation.
  2. They might be tempted to believe that they have not changed, will not change, and have only been repressing their ssa/ma/tx feelings.
  3. Such conclusions are incorrect. Something else is happening.
  4. Often before people permanently give up an old habit and fully embrace the new, the old habit will temporarily re-assert itself.
  5. For example, people overcoming depression will have a last episode of sadness before permanently giving up depression.
  6. People overcoming anxiety will have one last panic attack before finally conquering fear.
  7. Experienced secular mental health workers are aware that this happens. Explanations vary. Perhaps the unconscious mind needs to experience the old ways one last time before giving them up forever.
  8. Ssa/ma/tx overcomers who persist through these episodes of temptation find that temptation will eventually stop. The overcomers then find that they are much stronger than before it started.
  9. They can then more confidently embrace the new ways.
  10. Explain to them that some neurons in the brain will always retain the memories of their former sins, and those can still be triggered. Old memories should be consistently blocked with Scripture.
  11. This weakness will always be there, but it does not need to define one’s life or control one’s mind. Dependence on God’s protection should keep the overcomer humble.