Unit 3 Key 7 – For the Mentor

JOURNEY TO FREEDOM HANDBOOK

UNIT III Key 7                             RE-BUILDING

Purpose of this Key:

  1. Realize that re-building one’s life includes re-building one’s mind.
  2. Assess the degree to which their minds have been re-built.
  3. Understand how we might interpret our pasts differently as our minds are re-built.
  4. Realize that Jesus is the Redeemer of our minds and memories.
  5. Realize that when we feel weak, God can demonstrate His power.
  6. Understand how we re-build our lives on our position as pardoned sinners, continually dependent on our merciful God for forgiveness.

II Timothy 4:18

Common responses:

  1. The Lord will rescue us from the evil in which we were trapped by the devil.
  2. We are secure in our salvation.
  3. God will rescue us from any evil brought against us.
  4. He will enable us to carry out His will.
  5. One day we will be safe in Heaven.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Paul wrote this from a Roman prison, awaiting execution.
  2. The prison had no ventilation or sanitation, and it was full of Christians waiting to be fed to lions.
  3. He never renounced his faith or fell into open sin.
  4. Our environments cannot touch our souls.
  5. We can fight temptation from our solid position as pardoned sinners.
  6. Other people’s sins do not have to affect our standing with God.
  7. We can be delivered from the effects that painful memories and distorted thoughts have had on our minds.
  8. God will help us stay faithful even in difficult circumstances.
  9. In Heaven, no painful memory, painful emotion, or lie of the devil can follow us through the front gate.
  10. We will be safe in the arms of Jesus forever.

Psalm 84:11-12

Common responses:

  1. The sun symbolizes leadership or guidance, the shield symbolizes protection.
  2. God gives us mercy, honor, respect, and dignity.
  3. We can trust Him to bring good into our lives.
  4. Our goal is to walk uprightly at all times so God can give us blessings.
  5. We have no reason to be afraid.

Points to emphasize:

  1. These verses say different things to different people. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. His light exposes our hidden sins so that we can receive His mercy.
  3. The Holy Spirit shows us God’s glory and makes us able to worship.
  4. We can trust God to decide what is best for us.
  5. Although circumstances may seem bad to us, they might be exactly what God has in mind for us.
  6. Forgiveness, wisdom, insight, discernment, deliverance, renewed minds, and thoughts under the Lordship of Christ are blessings that He will not withhold because of other people’s sins.
  7. As we live transparently before Him, confessing our sins, accepting His forgiveness, forgiving others, and surrendering our self-will, He blesses us.

Acts 26:14-18

Common responses:

  1. Jesus rebuilt Saul/Paul’s life.
  2. God rescues us from our sins and shows us how to help others find freedom in Christ.
  3. God will forgive us, give us a purpose, and empower us.
  4. Even our past sins can be used for God’s glory.
  5. Our faith will be tested as we witness.
  6. Satan’s power over our lives has been broken.

Points to emphasize:

  1. God will lead us into a re-built life (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  2. Paul’s sins messed up his life (Acts 26:9-11). God used even his former sins to bring glory to Himself.
  3. God takes unlikely people and turns them into monuments to His glory.
  4. We do not usually get the entire plan for our lives revealed to us all at once, it usually is revealed to us step by step.
  5. The Apostle Paul brought the Gospel to the Greek-Roman culture, which spread it from there to everywhere else. He wrote much of the New Testament. We can hardly imagine the Church without his contributions.

Ecclesiastes 9:11

Common responses:

  1. The things of this world do not give us advantages; our faith in Christ gives us advantages.
  2. God will not judge us according to our abilities.
  3. We cannot rely on our own strength to get victory, but only on Christ.
  4. The things of earth are not as they seem.
  5. God plan is above the ways of the world.
  6. He will equip us to fulfill His plans for our lives.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Ask them if they have ever had an event in their lives in which they succeeded in spite of lacking any advantages. If so, what use did God make of the experience?
  2. Our past experiences and our abilities do not need to limit or define us.
  3. We need to surrender our self-will to God and let Him decide what we are capable of (II Corinthians 9:8).
  4. This verse should encourage us when we are trying to obey God’s will in spite of feeling weak and unqualified.
  5. If we obey God’s will, He will cause us to succeed no matter what.
  6. We need to accept success on His terms, not ours.
  7. We need to obey God and let Him handle the results (II Corinthians 12:9-10 & Ephesians 3:20-21).
  8. Because our success belongs to the Lord, we need to remain humble.

Ecclesiastes 9:13-18

Common responses:

  1. This story says different things to different people.
  2. Wisdom is better than strength and weapons.
  3. We should rely on the Lord’s wisdom rather than our own strength.
  4. People may turn against us when we rely on the Lord, but God will bless us.
  5. Wisdom is usually quiet, so we need to listen for it continually.
  6. Our sins can damage others.
  7. We are like the helpless city, attacked by sin. Jesus became poor for our sakes, and by His wisdom He defeated the enemy of our souls.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Any Christian can be called to be like the poor wise man who saves the city (I Corinthians 1:18 & 25).
  2. We are trying to bring Christ to our culture and to save it with God’s wisdom (I Corinthians 1:20-21).
  3. Our culture sees us as foolish (I Corinthians 1:22-24).
  4. Jesus sees us as pardoned sinners who have become His righteousness (II Corinthians 5:21).
  5. The poor man received no recognition. Because he was wise, he probably did not ask for any. He was just happy his city had not been conquered.
  6. The great king probably felt humiliated for the rest of his life. People probably laughed at him. His failure was probably written in the history books.
  7. Ask them who they would prefer to be: the poor wise man, or the great foolish king.
  8. We should pray when it is quiet and we are alone, and listen for God to speak His wisdom to us.
  9. Throughout the history of the Church, spiritual awakenings and revivals have often begun at the bottom of society among the poor and the outcasts. Cultures and nations have been transformed as a result.

I Corinthians 1:26-28

Common responses:

  1. God choose us in order to display His power in our lives.
  2. We are foolish if we rely on our own strength instead of God’s.
  3. God chooses people who are weak, poor, and uneducated, and uses them.
  4. Choosing worldly things will gain us nothing in the next life.
  5. Only God should get glory, not people.

Points to emphasize:

  1. God will use penitent sinners, including ssa/ma/tx overcomers. (The author has seen incarcerated sex offenders become ministry leaders in their own prisons.)
  2. Jesus came to save people at the bottom of society. If He did not, none of us could be saved.
  3. The world may not think well of them, but God will show the world what He thinks of them.
  4. People who have overcome ssa/ma/tx are often willing to follow Christ without compromise, while ignoring society’s objections.
  5. We should never stop praying for revival in the location and country where we live. It might start with any one of us.
  6. Refer to Luke 12:15 and Matthew 16:26.

1. On a scale of 1-10, how much re-building have you done?

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary. By this time, numbers are usually on the high end of the scale.
  2. Most add enthusiastic descriptions of ways in which they have changed.
  3. Many add comments about God’s faithfulness and provision.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any progress and Biblical responses.
  2. Encourage them to re-build their lives on their position in Christ as pardoned sinners (Psalm 103:8-14).
  3. Encourage thanks and praise to God for any progress.
  4. Avoid criticizing a low number. Try to find out the reason for it. They may have encountered unexpected obstacles.
  5. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Some still think lustful thoughts.
  3. Others mention low self-esteem, resentment, controlling behaviors, relationship problems, anger, fear of failure or rejection, and pride.
  4. By this time, very few mention sins of deeds. They are more likely to be concerned about their thoughts and how they speak and relate to others.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Encourage them to change their habits based on their position in Christ as pardoned sinners (Psalm 32).
  2. Assure them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.
  3. Encourage using memorized Scripture and the Emergency Prayer to block ungodly thoughts.
  4. Encourage them to ask the Holy Spirit to show them the lies behind their temptations.
  5. Remind them that when we are in a negative mental state, we can be tempted more easily.
  6. Remind them to be aware of situations that are tempting, make plans for how to deal with those, and bring their weaknesses before the Lord in prayer.
  7. Assure them that they can bring all their negative emotions to Jesus (I Peter 5:7).
  8. We can ask God to give us joyful relationships with helpful, caring people.
  9. If they are focused on sins of thoughts rather than deeds or words, remind them that they have made progress.
  10. We always have to be alert for the sin of pride.
  11. Encourage them to read the Psalms, especially if struggling with emotions; the Psalmist brings a full range of emotions before the Lord.
  12. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Some realize they need to speak more kindly and encourage others.
  3. Some realize they need to stop swearing, gossiping, or talking disrespectfully.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. Encourage them to change their habits of speech based on their position in Christ as pardoned sinners (Romans 8:5-10).
  3. Avoid criticizing any shortcomings they confess. We all need to improve in our speech and choice of words.
  4. Assure them that God will bless us if we use our speech to bless others.
  5. Our witness to others will improve as we give up swearing, gossiping, and talking disrespectfully.
  6. If we have given up gossiping, we can ask God to protect us from those who gossip about us. God can only protect us if we do things His way.
  7. We need to see goodness in ourselves so we can see goodness in others.
  8. The mentor’s manner of speaking to the overcomer should always model kindness and encouragement.
  9. Encourage them to read about Barnabas in Acts. His name means “son of Encouragement”. He encouraged Paul when no one else would associate with him (Acts 9:26-27).
  10. Sometimes people need to be confronted. We should always pray before we do so, and ask God to show us if, how, and when to confront the person. The goal is to bless the one we confront, not to display our own righteousness or be prideful.
  11. No one should give reproof if one has not learned to accept reproof.
  12. We can pray daily for the Holy Spirit to guard our lips from wrongful speech.

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary. Affirm any Biblical responses.
  2. Some have difficulty trusting others.
  3. Some are still struggling against lustful thoughts.
  4. Sometimes people who gossip also have difficulty trusting others. Guilt about their gossiping may cause them to become paranoid.
  5. Some still have not forgiven everyone, and they struggle with anger.
  6. Many realize they need to trust God that His ways are best.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. Emphasize how our position in Christ as pardoned sinners influences our thinking (Romans 12:2 and II Corinthians 10:5).
  3. Avoid criticizing any shortcomings they confess. Try to find out the reasons for it.
  4. Encourage them to seek God’s advice on how to respond to others. We all need to improve at this (Romans 12:3 & 10, & Philippians 2:3).
  5. Philippians 4:8 shows us how to improve our thinking.
  6. Encourage them to review the material on forgiveness. Give reassurance. Forgiveness might take a long time.
  7. Encourage them to trust God with their relationships.
  8. Encourage them to build their faith through the Word.

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

Common responses:

  1. Many now take responsibility for their own bad choices and no longer blame others.
  2. Others no longer blame themselves for having been abused.
  3. Some feel at peace because they have forgiven others.
  4. Many are now shocked at their former sins. As God changes them, they like themselves better.
  5. Many are looking forward to a better future under God’s will.
  6. Some realize that the pain in their lives caused them to seek after God.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response. Many have made significant changes. We were all once dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1-5).  
  2. Emphasize how our position in Christ as pardoned sinners causes us to view our pasts differently (Romans 6:17-23 & I Corinthians 6:9-11).
  3. Our position in Christ as pardoned sinners also causes us to view our futures differently (Philippians 1:6 and 3:13-14).

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

Common responses:

  1. Many realize that they need to stop judging others.
  2. Many are learning to be more kind, helpful, empathic, honest, and supportive towards others.
  3. Some express difficulty trusting others.
  4. Many have long-standing habits of presenting “false fronts” to impress others and so that others will like them.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. From our position in Christ as pardoned sinners, we can improve our relationships with others because we can admit it when we are wrong, and because we are now free to treat others in a more Christ-like manner.
  3. Encourage them to be patient with themselves. Forming relationships based on trust may be unexplored territory for them.
  4. Encourage them to ask the Holy Spirit to point them to trustworthy people. Proverbs has good advice for dealing with others.
  5. Sometimes it is best to trust people in small matters, and if they seem trustworthy, then try trusting them with more significant issues.
  6. The mentor’s manner of relating to the overcomer should always model best practices in relationships. You may be the best role model the overcomer has ever had, and you may be the first person he/she has ever trusted.
  7. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Many have angry, confrontational fantasies.
  3. Some are often tempted to judge or criticize certain people.
  4. Some have difficulty giving up their “false fronts”.
  5. Some have difficulty reaching out to others or accepting friendly overtures.
  6. A few are still very self-critical and perfectionistic.
  7. Some are still feeling shame because of their sexual issues.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Confrontational fantasies need to be blocked immediately with the Emergency Prayer and memorized Scripture.
  2. Such fantasies serve no useful purpose. We use them to give us a phony sense of power to compensate for our feelings of fear and helplessness. Such fantasies prevent us from facing fear and gaining real power.
  3. However, if a painful memory keeps recurring, they can ask the Holy Spirit if some lie in their memories need to be exposed. He may be ready to bring an unconscious thought to their conscious awareness and speak truth against a lie.
  4. When we feel a negative emotion for which there seems to be no reason, we can ask the Holy Spirit if distorted thinking is causing the negative emotion.
  5. Judgmental thoughts also need to be blocked immediately. They should pray for the salvation of those whom they are tempted to judge.
  6. Low self-esteem is the reason they put up a “false front”, hesitate to reach out, and resist friendly overtures. They need to love themselves better so they can love others better.
  7. If they think negative thoughts about themselves, they can ask the Holy Spirit, “Is this true?” They can then listen for the answer.
  8. Low self-esteem leads to alienation from others, which often leads to lustful thoughts, because sex has been their primary way to connect with others.  
  9. Shame over their ssa/ma/tx issues keeps them alienated from others, which in turn leads to more lust. They need to identify themselves as pardoned sinners who are saved by Jesus’ forgiveness as a free gift of mercy, and not identify themselves by their sins.
  10. Temptation is something they have, not something they are. They need not be defined by their temptations. Jesus on the cross despised the shame (Hebrews 12:2), so we can despise our shame also.
  11. We deal more effectively with others when we are no longer ashamed.  

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. Some are feeling convicted of sins that did not used to bother them.
  3. Some are feeling led to reach out to others more, witness more, or step into leadership roles.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.
  2. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

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

Common response:

  1. Most say ‘no’.
  2. Rarely does someone say ‘yes’. Usually those who do have committed a violent crime, often against a child.

Points to emphasize:

  1. If the answer was ‘no’, encourage them to praise God for their faith in His mercy (Psalm 32:1-2, & 5).
  2. If the answer was ‘yes’, refer to I Timothy 1:12-17, Acts 26:10, Acts 22:19-21, and I Corinthians 15:9-11. God has a job for the worst sinner who repents.
  3. Remind them we are all sinners, and none of us will ever stop needing forgiveness until we get to Heaven.
  4. Encourage them to put their own names in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for (your name) who is in Christ Jesus,” and in II Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin on (your name’s) behalf, that (your name) might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

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

Common responses:

  1. Some say that the pain is less.
  2. Some are more understanding of their parents.
  3. Some see more of their own responsibilities for their broken relationships.
  4. A few still have difficulty forgiving some people.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical insights and godly changes. Most have gained a lot of wisdom.
  2. Emphasize how our position in Christ as pardoned sinners helps us to pardon those who wronged us and to regard our pasts differently.
  3. If necessary, review the material on forgiveness. More will be said about this in Units IV and V. Forgiveness might take a long time.
  4. Counsel based on your knowledge, experience, and what you have learned from working with this person.

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

Common responses:

  1. Most are doing well.
  2. Those who have slipped into sexual sin often notice that 1) the feelings are not as strong as they used to be, and b) they feel worse afterwards than they used to.
  3. Some are more concerned now with other sins, such as ungodly talk, or negative thoughts and attitudes.
  4. Some have come under conviction of sins that did not used to concern 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 are using their time, or if anything 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 slipped into sin but noticed that the feelings were not as strong, that is a sign of God at work in their lives. Encourage them to confess it, accept God’s forgiveness, and get back on track.
  8. If they feel worse after sinning than they used to, that is a sign that God has made their consciences more responsive to His will. They can be thankful for their awakened consciences; they used to be dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1).
  9. Remind them that I John 1:9 and Romans 8:1 always apply.
  10. Encourage them to retrace their steps and ask the Holy Spirit to give them insight into what weakness led to the fall.
  11. Encourage them to confess sins of thoughts (Romans 12:2) in order to more easily avoid sins of words and deeds.
  12. Continue to encourage them to use memorized Scripture to block tempting and negative thoughts. Encourage use of the Emergency Prayer.
  13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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 possibility 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. Encourage them to pray for rescue immediately when tempted.

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

Common responses:

  1. Answers will vary.
  2. By this time, most have learned to use the Word effectively against temptation.
  3. Most are using it against the sins of deeds. Some are still learning to use it against the sins of thought.

Points to emphasize:

  1. Affirm any Biblical response.

13. 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.
  2. Most report that things are going well.
  3. A few are beginning to emerge as leaders in their church/fellowship group.

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.

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 as necessary.)

  1. Affirm any Biblical responses.
  2. Give lots of encouragement for any valid ideas on how to make changes.
  3. Encourage confession of sin and receiving forgiveness for the areas of their lives where they identified a need to make changes.
  4. We must never lose sight of the fact that 1) we are sinners, 2) God offers forgiveness in Christ, and 3) we are pardoned by His mercy.

Additional points:

  1. As they seek to re-build their lives and relationships, many are realizing that they need to grow in their ability to love. This awareness leads to unique challenges.
  2. Some are finding other people who are helpful role models to show them how to love better. Church should be a good place to find people who will teach them to love, by their own example and by loving the overcomer.
  3. However, many are also realizing that there are difficult people in their lives who are hard to love. These people refuse to respond favorably to any loving overtures.
  4. The Bible gives instructions for how to deal with hostile people. Our sinful human nature will protest these instructions.
  5. Refer to Romans 12:19-21, Philippians 4:5, I Peter 3:9-18, and I Corinthians 13:4-7.
  6. They should be warned to not evaluate the quality of their love by the response they get. Sometimes they might win over an enemy by kindness. Sometimes the opposite occurs.
  7. Kindness sometimes aggravates the other person’s guilty conscience, and he/she will try harder to provoke the overcomer to anger in order to justify his/her own anger.
  8. God will reward us for obedience even if other people do not. God might put us in these relationships to develop our ability to love well.
  9. We are to pray for the ones who hate us (Matthew 5:44-45). We may be the only ones praying for their salvation.
  10. If they do not repent, we will at least experience victory and power in Christ (I John 4:4 & 5:4). If they do repent, the relationship will be reconciled in Heaven if not on Earth.