JOURNEY TO FREEDOM
UNIT II Key 7 REBUILDING
SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? James 2:14
Congratulations! As a pardoned sinner, you have taken many long and difficult steps to come this far in the program. By now you have probably learned that the process is two steps forward and one step back. You have probably also learned just how strong a hold your ssa/ma/tx temptations had on you. The fact that you have not given up, in spite of the difficulties, is likely because you have seen God showing Himself strong on your behalf.
The only thing worse than a fall is staying down after a fall. First John 1:9 assures us that when we slip and fall, we need to confess our sins, repent, and receive God’s forgiveness in Christ to get back on track. You are overcoming a powerful addiction that has been a part of your life for a long time, and it will not go away easily. Instant deliverance is rare; most people have to fight a battle. The good news is that Jesus is willing to get into the trenches and fight on our behalf whenever we ask Him to. John 3:16 assures us that Jesus died for the world, which includes us all.
Every slip back into sin can become a test of faith. Do we have faith to believe that God will forgive us one more time? Do we believe that just because we slipped this time, we will inevitably slip again? Are we tempted to give up and believe that we were “born this way” after all? Do we have the faith to face our painful emotions, from which the slip into sin was supposed to distract us? Do we have the faith to surrender the negative thinking and lies of the devil that made the slip possible?
Ridding ourselves of a sin is not enough; something must fill the vacuum in our lives. We are called to re-build our lives under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Before we came to faith, our personalities, identities, and priorities were influenced by our families, other authority figures, peers, partners, society, etc. But now we are called to allow the Holy Spirit to direct the re-building of our personalities, identities, and priorities. The more we allow Him to do so, the stronger we will become against temptation to our besetting sins.
The indwelling Christ changes everything. Our personalities, identities, and priorities need to be based on our position in Christ as pardoned sinners. He has the power to purge our minds of the sins of selfishness, self-pity, envy, cynical attitudes towards others, resentment, unjust judgments, hostility, superior attitudes that cover our feelings of inferiority, and pride. He has the power to heal us of fear, shame, humiliation, low self-esteem, and painful memories. He has the power to lead us through the painful memories toward forgiveness. He has the power to teach us to love ourselves and others by loving us. He has the power to expose the lies of the devil and speak the truth from God’s Word to us. We should not get in the way of His powerful mercy.
We need our minds to be re-built. We need our attitude about God to be re-built. Often we project onto God the image that we had of our parents; instead, we need to see Him as the Atonement on the cross and the Good Shepherd carrying home lost sheep. When we see God, we see love: love that was found in the Atonement on the cross.
As we receive His forgiveness, our attitudes about ourselves are being re-built. We often base our self-esteem upon our performance; we need to esteem ourselves based on our position as beloved and pardoned sinners in Christ. His love is the reason we need our attitudes to be rebuilt. We need our attitudes about both the same sex and the opposite sex to be rebuilt so that we can see others the way Jesus sees them.
When we face pain without flipping into anger, we open the door for re-building relationships based on forgiveness and love. We can re-build how we relate to others, based on how Jesus sees them and us. Awareness of ourselves as sinners in need of continuous mercy keeps us humble and patient with others.
Loneliness is dangerous, and it is the main reason people give up and go back to the old lifestyle. We can take our loneliness before God in prayer and ask Him what He wishes us to do about it. We all have much to learn about how to relate to others in a more Christ-like manner, and this process will be lifelong as Jesus works His mercy into our lives.
We can have faith to believe that the indwelling Christ will re-build the weakest parts of us, and He asks us to trust that He will do so. Faith assures us that when we let Him re-build us according to His plan for us, we will be greatly blessed.
SCRIPTURE: Write out what each of these verses or passages mean to you and your situation.
I John 3:2
What changes in your life have you made since you started the program?
Plan of Action: (You might prayerfully consider what there is in your life that God wants you to re-build next, and ask Him what His plan is for you to move forward.)