JOURNEY TO FREEDOM

UNIT III Key 7  RE-BUILDING

SCRIPTURE PRINCIPLE: Whatever your hand finds to do, verily, do it with all your might. Ecclesiastes 9:10

Re-building your life is a call to action. Re-building is our grateful response to the forgiveness given to us in Christ. Because of our love for our merciful God, we allow the Holy Spirit to re-build our lives. In a re-built life, habits of words and deeds are changing. In a re-built life, habits of thought are being conformed to the image and likeness of Christ. A re-built life shows the world that freedom from sin is for real.

By now you no doubt realize that overcoming ssa/ma/tx involves much more than just stopping the actions and avoiding sexual talk. The Holy Spirit works through the Word to re-wire our personalities and identities, heal painful memories, and deliver us from the lies which tempt us to sin.

So how have you responded so far? Whenever you see change, praise God! If you respond to temptation with God-pleasing thoughts, words, and deeds, praise God! If you can recall past memories of abuse with a sense of objectivity rather than stabs of pain, praise God! If your motivations and agendas are in accordance with the will of God rather than your own, praise God! If a passage from Scripture comes readily to mind when you feel tempted, praise God!

Jesus comes to us as our Redeemer. When He was on the cross, He went through the pain that we went through. He comes into our painful memories as the Redeemer. He assures us that in Him we are forgiven. He assures us that in Him we are loved. He loved us when we did not want Him and before we knew Him. Even if we seem slow to change, we can praise God for what He did through Christ on our behalf.

When the Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin and assures us of God’s forgiveness, we remember our sins differently. When we become willing to forgive those who have wronged us, we remember their sins differently. When we surrender the ungodly agendas and motivations that used to cause problems, we remember the past differently. When we honestly confess how our own sins hurt others, we remember their reactions against us differently.

As we identify the lies of the enemy of our souls and speak God’s truth against the lies, our minds are being rebuilt. Ridding ourselves of the lies is joyful and liberating, like chains snapping loose from our minds. Believing a lie is a heavy burden, and while facing truth may bring temporary pain, relief comes when the lie is thrown down at the foot of the cross and replaced by truth from the Word. We can experience our entire past realistically, without the fog of lies. We can look at life through the lenses of truth and clarity.

As we look at our past lives before we came to faith in Christ, we see wasted years. We might easily wonder what good purpose could have been served during that time. We need to give those wasted years to God and ask Him to redeem them. He promises to restore the years that the locust has eaten (Joel 2:25). He does not waste anything that we give to Him. As we trust Him to restore the wasted years, we will find Him making use even of our past sins.

The harm others caused us was real. Even the Apostle Paul identifies by name someone who did him harm (II Timothy 4:14). But what real and lasting harm came of Alexander the Coppersmith? In the book of Acts, we see Paul preaching the Gospel everywhere, unstoppable even in the face of persecution. We read his Epistles, several of which were written from prison, through which for 2000 years he has explained to many millions of people that salvation is available only and entirely by the mercy of God in Christ. Individuals, communities, tribes, nations, and civilizations have been transformed by his Spirit-inspired words.

We feel weak, so we think that we are weak, but that is a lie of the enemy. We sometimes feel powerful in and of ourselves, but that is also a lie. The Apostle Paul saw through the deception. In II Corinthians 12:1-9 he recognizes that his physical impairment kept him totally dependent on the power of God, which is real power.

Jeremiah 29:11 assures us that God wants to do us good and not harm, that He wants to give us a future and a hope. We can confidently allow the Holy Spirit into our painful memories. We can confidently surrender the lies and accept His truth. We can confidently allow Him to re-build our minds and restore our lives.

SCRIPTURE

II Timothy 4:18

Psalm 84:11-12

Acts 26:14-18

Ecclesiastes 9:11

Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

I Corinthians 1:26-28

STUDY GUIDE

1. On a scale of 1-10, how much re-building have you done (1 is lowest, 10 is highest)? Please explain your answer.

2. What are some of your habits that still need to change?

3. In what ways do your speech and choice of words still need to change? Please read James 3 before you answer.

4. What are some ways in which your thinking still needs to change? Please re-read James 3:13-18 before you answer.

5. Do you regard your past differently than you used to, and if so, in what way?

6. What are some things you could do in order to improve your relationships with others?

7. What are some things you are finding difficult to change?

8. Are there specific things that the Lord has been prompting you to do, but you have been hesitating to carry them out?

9. Do you have any known unconfessed sins in your life, or any sins for which you doubt God’s ability to forgive you? If so, please explain.

10. Do you regard your past differently after forgiving those who wronged you? Please explain your answer.

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

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

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

Plan of Action: (Include specific ideas for what you can do about the areas of your life where you identified a need to make changes. Review previous Keys if necessary.)