recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “May 2015”

The Battle For Freedom

God loves us.  He wants our relationship with Him to be unhindered. Many of us enter recovery looking for freedom from the battle against a particular sin. We hope to walk away from recovery untroubled by that sin.

But freedom in Christ is not the absence of trouble or temptation. Jesus told us that we would face trouble and temptation living in a sin-filled world (John 16:33). Freedom is being able to fully experience God's goodness unhindered by sin while living on a spiritual battleground.  As we rely on Christ through our battles, we die to our sinful nature, allowing us to experience God's power, goodness and freedom.

Read this brief story of when God revealed true freedom to Nate in the middle of his battle against a pornography addiction:

One day, after years of sobriety from a pornography addiction, I was greatly tempted to act on lustful thoughts while at work. At lunchtime, I told a friend about my temptation but after praying together my battle still raged on. The first half of 2 Timothy 2:22 was the only scripture I could recall. Desperate for relief and unable to focus, I realized that if I did not leave I would give in to temptation. I fled my office. As I drove home, I was ruthlessly attacked by lustful thoughts. I tried recalling scripture and focusing on God’s goodness, but porn images of the past yanked on my mind. I tried thinking of my wife only to have sexual imaginations that I had never seen flood my brain. My heart raced and my hands shook. I was desperate. I did not want this struggle. I wondered out loud, “Am I crazy?” “Am I really this sick?” “Where is the freedom?!” “After years of sobriety, where is the freedom?!” I cursed, then yelled, “WHERE IS THE FREEDOM, LORD?! What about the "light" burden and "easy" yoke? You promise!” (Matthew 11:28–30)

Out of nowhere a question flashed through my mind; "How would this drive have been five years ago?" . . . Five years ago . . . I would have looked at porn. I would be dreading my arrival home; feeling great shame, guilt and failure. I would be sick. I would wonder, “How do I face my wife? Kids? Friends? God? How little can I share to be rid of my guilt? I can never share it all.” In coming weeks I would approach God out of obedience rather than passion—my relationship with him dry. Conviction would haunt me when reading the Bible. Prayers would focus on my forgiveness. I would fake smiles at church and only have shallow conversations. I would isolate, staying unknown and distant in my relationships. Satan would accuse me: "Guilty. Not worthy. Fraud. You cannot share Christ. You are not free."

In that moment I realized . . . I AM FREE. I have not surrendered to the battle. I have nothing to hide! I am free to go home to face my wife and my kids.
Free to face God. Free to share my struggles. Free to worship. Free to indulge in God’s goodness and to enjoy him. His strength is perfect when I am weak.

Arriving home, I tell my surprised wife, "You married a crazy man. I do not know why but today my mind was wild—that is why I am early. But, honey, I have nothing to confess other than . . . I love you. None compare to you.”

A week later as I recalled the temptation, I savored the joy in our home and my opportunities to delight in God. My relationships were at peace. I had been refreshed by the richness of God’s Word and intimate prayer. I reflected on the oneness created in our marriage as we explored my battle together and thanked God for the beautiful, godly woman he gave to me.

As I prepared for bed, a television advertisement suddenly flashed a picture of a disrobing actress. I turned my eyes and headed to bed. My first thoughts were, “She has nothing I want. I have all I need. God is good.”

Nate Graybill, re:generation Director

 

God wants you to pursue and embrace everything that He has for you.  He wants the best for you. The life He offers you is far beyond what the world can offer.  Each temptation or hardship you face is an opportunity to see the wonder, power and goodness of God while living in a broken world.  If you decide to trust Him and remain steadfast through hardships you will know true freedom in Christ.

 

Is Rigorous Honesty Important For Recovery?

Rigorous means “severe, harsh, exact or accurate.” When was the last time you had a rigorous (severe or harsh) work out? You know, when you sweated a little harder by running ten minutes longer, or by lifting 20 extra pounds on the weight machine.

Although it hurts at the start, over time, rigorous workouts generate clear results. Your muscles are firmer. Your energy is higher. Your stamina increases.

The same is true in recovery when you exercise your “honesty” muscle. Half-hearted efforts produce little or no change, while rigorous honesty changes you.

For most of us, when we finally become aware of our need for recovery, there are things that we’ve been dishonest about. Our addictions and sinful patterns have caused us to twist or hide the truth from others and ourselves. Perhaps you have been hiding for so long that you’ve forgotten who you truly are. Or you continue to distort the truth because the truth is too painful to face. An honest review will help you come clean, freeing you from your secret prisons.

Remember to tell on yourself (with specifics) to God and to others. Rigorous honesty is speaking the truth with no wiggle room. It is a commitment to thoroughness and to not blurring the truth.

As you are freed from protecting the past, you then can begin moving forward, honestly recovering your day-to-day thoughts and actions.

The idea of rigorous honesty might sound frightening or overwhelming, but if you really want to get well, there are no other options.

The truth will indeed set you free.


MAIN POINT

Honestly revealing specific thoughts and actions is essential for your recovery.

KEY SCRIPTURE 

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10)

APPLICATION

Commit to telling on yourself today. Call a person you trust and tell them, with rigorous honesty, something that you’re struggling with. Bringing your sins into the light will begin your healing and lead you to peace.

PRAYER

Dear God, you see every part of my life, both past and present. Thank you for loving me in spite of what I may have hidden from others and from myself. Reveal to me my true thoughts, motives and actions.  Please give me the courage to tell that truth without exaggeration and without cover-up.

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recovery in Christ when life is broken.