Breaking the Codependent Cycle

Do you say yes when you really want to say no? Do you “walk on eggshells” around certain people, believing you can control their emotions? Do you think you must have solutions for other people’s problems?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be codependent.

Codependent literally means “dependent with.” People can become “dependent with,” or on, a substance, such as alcohol or drugs; a behavior, such as irregular eating or compulsive shopping; or other people, such as a spouse or adult child.

How does codependency develop?

All humans are born with basic needs. Our physical needs—food, water and shelter—are obvious. Our emotional needs—love, acceptance and significance—are less apparent but just as important to our development. If we are deprived of these basic love needs, we are affected for the rest of our lives.

If you were born into an emotionally healthy family, your love needs were probably met. However, if you were born to parents who themselves were deprived of love, it’s very likely your needs were not met, either.

Alcohol- or drug-addicted parents, for example, are often unavailable to their children both emotionally and physically. The parent who is not addicted is so immersed in the addict and his problems that she has little ability to meet the love needs of the children. The emotionally deprived children often become codependent adults, struggling through life with what Hemfelt, Minirth and Meier refer to in their book Love Is a Choice as an “empty love tank.”

“In a normal, functional family,” they write, “love is transmitted from generation to generation, poured down from parents to children.” If this does not happen, codependency, “a condition that results when love tanks are running on empty,” can occur.

 The Codependent Response

How can you tell if you, or someone you love, is codependent? There are a variety of behavioral patterns you can watch for.

Codependents try to fill their emotional voids with people, behaviors and things. Feeling empty inside and unhappy with their lives, codependents use people, behaviors and things to control or medicate inner feelings such as fear, unresolved anger or loneliness.

In a family in which one spouse has an alcohol or drug addiction, the other spouse is frequently dependent upon the person with the addiction. The non-addicted spouse sees the addict as “needing to be taken care of” and assumes responsibility for the addict’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

Codependents have a tendency to control. In an effort to control their own emotions, codependents try to control the emotions and behaviors of those around them. What they can’t control, they worry about.

Codependents are motivated by the idea that if they could only get their partners to change, their problems would be solved. Their belief is that others can “make” them angry, happy or sad.

Accompanying the need to control is the feeling of fear. Codependents often fear another’s retaliation physically, emotionally or mentally. They also are paralyzed by thoughts of being abandoned and left alone to handle life’s issues. They minimize their problems, trying to believe the lie that “things aren’t really so bad.”

Codependents become so enmeshed in another’s life and problems that they lose their own sense of identity and self-worth. Constantly looking to others for validation, codependents seek approval at all costs and will do whatever is necessary to please others. The wife of a sex addict may be extremely cautious about crossing her husband, for example, because she fears that if she makes him mad, he’ll look at pornography.

Codependents often lack the ability to set clear boundaries—not knowing when to say yes and when to say no to themselves and others. Fuzzy boundaries are a symptom of low self-esteem. They stem from negative thought patterns such as “If I say no, they won’t like me.” Such constant devaluing prevents an accurate assessment of true strengths and weaknesses, which is the basis for healthy self-esteem and the key to setting healthy boundaries.

Codependents excuse, tolerate and cover up the bad behavior of the person they are dependent upon, even when it is habitual or extreme. Have you ever known a wife who “calls in sick” for an alcoholic spouse with a hangover, or a husband who continues to make the payments on credit card accounts for a spouse who’s a compulsive shopper? Codependents enable rather than help correct the bad behavior.

Finding the Source of the Problem

The issues connected with codependency are so complex that helping a codependent through the healing process is difficult. I usually begin by identifying what the factors were, from active abuse to subtle neglect, that prevented the person’s love needs from being met. I determine how these painful events affected him in the past and how they are affecting him now. Then I help him come to terms with his past and begin to make better choices for the present and future by showing him how to work through the grief process (denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance).

One common hindrance to the healing process is the codependent’s stubborn defense of his dysfunctional family-of-origin. Often a codependent will pretend things “weren’t that bad” and find looking inward very painful. I often hear, “My parents did the best they could.”

Though that may be true, it is necessary for the codependent to see that suppression of a painful past has resulted in his present problems. If he wants to complete the grieving process and receive the healing he so desperately needs, he has to get out of denial.

When codependents refuse to face the reality that past events have hurt them, they “re-create” the past by repeating patterns of behavior under a compulsion to fix their dysfunctional families. In psychology we refer to this as “unfinished business.”

For example, if the emotional needs (love, acceptance, significance) of a daughter were not met because her father was caught up in sexual addiction, she likely will re-create her childhood by marrying a man who is a sex addict in order to “finish the business” of getting her love needs met. The result, of course, is only the perpetuation of unmet needs.

In facing the “unfinished business” of our pasts, we do not blame or attack our parents. The goal is to try to understand how the way we were raised has affected and may still be affecting us.

Getting Free

As with all of life’s challenges, the solutions to codependency are found in God’s Word. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in His own image” (NIV). It goes on to say, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (v. 31).

This passage of Scripture is telling us that our “original” family-of-origin is God’s family and that we, a part of what God created, are “very good.” We are not forever bound by an earthly family’s dysfunctions when we realize who our true Father is! This is good news for the codependent.

The only perfect parent is our Father God, the one who created us. As we come to know Him, we learn to trust Him to meet our deepest inner needs, and we exchange the chaos of our lives for His peace.

The apostle John tells of a Samaritan woman who had been with six different men in an attempt to have her innermost emotional needs met. It was only when Jesus introduced her to her true Father that she came to realize all her needs could be met in Him (see John 4:14).

Like the Samaritan woman, the codependent must learn some things about God: that His love is unfailing, that He never abandons us, that He is patient and kind, even when we make mistakes, that He always tells the truth, that He always keeps His promises, that He always listens and acts on our behalf—and most of all, that He accepts us just as we are and considers us beautiful.

The Bible’s help to those who feel the need to control others is self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22). God’s grace enables us to live self-controlled lives (see Titus 2:11-12). The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:12 that he “will not be mastered by anything.” Like him, when we are in control of our own feelings and behaviors, we can give to others out of a position of strength, not weakness.

Note that doing someone a favor is not a sign of codependency. Doing good when you freely choose to do it is from godly strength. But doing for others what we cannot do, do not wish to do or cannot afford to do is motivated by weakness and is not of God.

Dealing with unclear boundaries and low self-esteem becomes easier when we know who we are in Christ. Then we do not base our success on the acceptance or approval of others.

Jesus did not struggle with His identity. He knew exactly who He was (see John 4:25-26). We need not struggle with our identity or purpose, either. First Peter 2:9 declares that we “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [we] may declare the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Knowing who we are in Christ makes us powerful in Him. In Colossians 2:9 we read, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.”

In Christ, we are children of God (see 1 John 3:1). We have His attributes and strengths within us. That means we do not have to fear anyone or anything.

We are free to say no without feeling guilty and yes without feeling angry. We are not constrained by fear of abandonment or retaliation. We are able to confront others in a loving, yet powerful manner. And if they respond negatively, we can hold them accountable with godly consequences.

Breaking free from codependency begins with learning the facts about it and getting help. Codependency will not improve over time. Even if circumstances appear to be better for a season, happiness will be incomplete and temporary.

Extreme codependency can lead to severe depression and even suicide, as well as increasingly poor physical health, especially if addictions to substances are involved. Wounds from the past will become strongholds for pain, bitterness and unforgiveness. And the lives of innocent victims may be in danger.

If you are involved with someone who is codependent, seek professional help. Educate yourself. Read books. Attend support groups. Remember, you are not powerful enough to change anyone—only God can do that. It is the Son who sets us free (see John 8:36.)

But He is more than able to accomplish what needs to be performed—to sanctify the codependent “through and through” and to keep his spirit, soul and body “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). “The one who calls you is faithful,” the Bible says, “and He will do it” (v. 24).

 

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Are You Codependent?

Do you say yes when you really want to say no? Do you “walk on eggshells” around certain people, believing you can control their emotions? Do you think you must have solutions for other people’s problems?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be codependent.

Codependent literally means “dependent with.” People can become “dependent with,” or on, a substance, such as alcohol or drugs; a behavior, such as irregular eating or compulsive shopping; or other people, such as a spouse or adult child.

How does codependency develop?

All humans are born with basic needs. Our physical needs–food, water and shelter–are obvious. Our emotional needs–love, acceptance and significance–are less apparent but just as important to our development. If we are deprived of these basic love needs, we are affected for the rest of our lives.

If you were born into an emotionally healthy family, your love needs were probably met. However, if you were born to parents who themselves were deprived of love, it’s very likely your needs were not met, either.

Alcohol- or drug-addicted parents, for example, are often unavailable to their children both emotionally and physically. The parent who is not addicted is so immersed in the addict and his problems that she has little ability to meet the love needs of the children. The emotionally deprived children often become codependent adults, struggling through life with what He felt, Minirth and Meier refer to in their book Love Is a Choice as an “empty love tank.”

“In a normal, functional family,” they write, “love is transmitted from generation to generation, poured down from parents to children.” If this does not happen, codependency, “a condition that results when love tanks are running on empty,” can occur.

THE TELL TAIL RESPONSE
How can you tell if you, or someone you love, is codependent? There are a variety of behavioral patterns you can watch for.

 Codependents try to fill their emotional voids with people, behaviors and things. Feeling empty inside and unhappy with their lives, codependents use people, behaviors and things to control or medicate inner feelings such as fear, unresolved anger or loneliness.

In a family in which one spouse has an alcohol or drug addiction, the other spouse is frequently dependent upon the person with the addiction. The non-addicted spouse sees the addict as “needing to be taken care of” and assumes responsibility for the addict’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors.

Codependents tend to control. In an effort to control their own emotions, codependents try to control the emotions and behaviors of those around them. What they can’t control, they worry about.

Codependents are motivated by the idea that if they could only get their partners to change, their problems would be solved. Their belief is that others can “make” them angry, happy or sad.

Accompanying the need to control is the feeling of fear. Codependents often fear another’s retaliation physically, emotionally or mentally. They also are paralyzed by thoughts of being abandoned and left alone to handle life’s issues. They minimize their problems, trying to believe the lie that “things aren’t really so bad.”

Codependents become so enmeshed in another’s life and problems that they lose their own sense of identity and self-worth. Constantly looking to others for validation, codependents seek approval at all costs and will do whatever is necessary to please others. The wife of a sex addict may be extremely cautious about crossing her husband, for example, because she fears that if she makes him mad, he’ll look at pornography.

Codependents often lack the ability to set clear boundaries–not knowing when to say yes and when to say no to themselves and others. Fuzzy boundaries are a symptom of low self-esteem. They stem from negative thought patterns such as “If I say no, they won’t like me.” Such constant devaluing prevents an accurate assessment of true strengths and weaknesses, which is the basis for healthy self-esteem and the key to setting healthy boundaries.

 Codependents excuse, tolerate and cover up the bad behavior of the person they are dependent upon, even when it is habitual or extreme. Have you ever known a wife who “calls in sick” for an alcoholic spouse with a hangover, or a husband who continues to make the payments on credit card accounts for a spouse who’s a compulsive shopper? Codependents enable rather than help correct the bad behavior.

FINDING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
The issues connected with codependency are so complex that helping a codependent through the healing process is difficult. I usually begin by identifying what the factors were, from active abuse to subtle neglect, that prevented the person’s love needs from being met. I determine how these painful events affected him in the past and how they are affecting him now. Then I help him come to terms with his past and begin to make better choices for the present and future by showing him how to work through the grief process (denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance).

One common hindrance to the healing process is the codependent’s stubborn defense of his dysfunctional family-of-origin. Often a codependent will pretend things “weren’t that bad” and find looking inward very painful. I often hear, “My parents did the best they could.”

Though that may be true, it is necessary for the codependent to see that suppression of a painful past has resulted in his present problems. If he wants to complete the grieving process and receive the healing he so desperately needs, he has to get out of denial.

When codependents refuse to face the reality that past events have hurt them, they “re-create” the past by repeating patterns of behavior under a compulsion to fix their dysfunctional families. In psychology we refer to this as “unfinished business.”

For example, if the emotional needs (love, acceptance, significance) of a daughter were not met because her father was caught up in sexual addiction, she likely will re-create her childhood by marrying a man who is a sex addict to “finish the business” of getting her love needs met. The result, of course, is only the perpetuation of unmet needs.

In facing the “unfinished business” of our pasts, we do not blame or attack our parents. The goal is to try to understand how the way we were raised has affected and may still be affecting us.

FREEDOM
As with all of life’s challenges, the solutions to codependency are found in God’s Word. The Bible tells us in Genesis 1:27 that “God created man in His own image” (NIV). It goes on to say, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good” (v. 31).

This passage of Scripture is telling us that our “original” family-of-origin is God’s family and that we, a part of what God created, are “very good.” We are not forever bound by an earthly family’s dysfunctions when we realize who our true Father is! This is good news for the codependent.

The only perfect parent is our Father God, the one who created us. As we come to know Him, we learn to trust Him to meet our deepest inner needs, and we exchange the chaos of our lives for His peace.

The apostle John tells of a Samaritan woman who had been with six different men in an attempt to have her innermost emotional needs met. It was only when Jesus introduced her to her true Father that she came to realize all her needs could be met in Him (see John 4:14).

Like the Samaritan woman, the codependent must learn some things about God: that His love is unfailing, that He never abandons us, that He is patient and kind, even when we make mistakes, that He always tells the truth, that He always keeps His promises, that He always listens and acts on our behalf–and most of all, that He accepts us just as we are and considers us beautiful.

The Bible’s help to those who feel the need to control others is self-control, which is a fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5:22). God’s grace enables us to live self- controlled lives (see Titus 2:11-12). The apostle Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 6:12 that he “will not be mastered by anything.” Like him, when we are in control of our own feelings and behaviors, we can give to others out of a position of strength, not weakness.

Note that doing someone a favor is not a sign of codependency. Doing good when you freely choose to do it is from godly strength. But doing for others what we cannot do, do not wish to do or cannot afford to do is motivated by weakness and is not of God.

Dealing with unclear boundaries and low self-esteem becomes easier when we know who we are in Christ. Then we do not base our success on the acceptance or approval of others.

Jesus did not struggle with His identity. He knew exactly who He was (see John 4:25-26). We need not struggle with our identity or purpose, either. First Peter 2:9 declares that we “are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that [we] may declare the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His wonderful light.”

Knowing who we are in Christ makes us powerful in Him. In Colossians 2:9 we read, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is head over every power and authority.”

In Christ, we are children of God (see 1 John 3:1). We have His attributes and strengths within us. That means we do not have to fear anyone or anything.

We are free to say no without feeling guilty and yes without feeling angry. We are not constrained by fear of abandonment or retaliation. We can confront others in a loving, yet powerful manner. And if they respond negatively, we can hold them accountable with godly consequences.

Breaking free from codependency begins with learning the facts about it and getting help. Codependency will not improve over time. Even if circumstances appear to be better for a season, happiness will be incomplete and temporary.

Extreme codependency can lead to severe depression and even suicide, as well as increasingly poor physical health, especially if addictions to substances are involved. Wounds from the past will become strongholds for pain, bitterness and unforgiveness. And the lives of innocent victims may be in danger.

If you are involved with someone who is codependent, seek professional help. Educate yourself. Read books. Attend support groups. Remember, you are not powerful enough to change anyone–only God can do that. It is the Son who sets us free (see John 8:36.)

But He is more than able to accomplish what needs to be performed–to sanctify the codependent “through and through” and to keep his spirit, soul and body “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:23). “The one who calls you is faithful,” the Bible says, “and He will do it” (v. 24).

 

The Disintegration of Character

desintegration_of_character

The syndrome of chronic moral debility

We live in a morally debilitated and degenerate world resulting in the disintegration of character. Decadence is on the increase. The line between morality and immorality has been blurred so much that most people can no longer distinguish one from the other. Society has engendered such a sharp inversion of values that it has absurdly considered this to be a culturally and modern advance.

The worst part is that this is entering into the church and contaminating it. People who accept chronic moral debility allow themselves to be conformed to the immoral circumstances that routinely confront them. They end up conforming to the ungodly values of the present age.

 

In many churches growth has been accompanied by worldliness due to disintegration of the character of Christ in their respective leaderships. To the detriment of the ethics of character, the ethics of personality, which ignore and violate the basic principles that rule the spiritual world, leave many believers at the mercy of satanic bonds. The problem is that ignorance does not exempt us from the consequences and punishment of breaking the law.

 

A lifestyle wrapped up in moral ignorance gives place to social chaos when we become indulgent with sin calling it “weakness”. It begins with tolerance of sin, continues with collusion, then comes insensibility and finally a damaged conscience, which compromises the foundation of life. Sin becomes a comfortably natural routine.

 

In this generation where society subject’s true laws and values to relativity, the collusion with moral weakness has placed the message and integrity of the church in checkmate. The avalanche of emotional problems that are debilitating modern society is nothing more than a symptomatic collateral effect of the moral disintegration of a passive “prosperity”.

 

Some people think that certain debilities are part of their personality. Many people, some of which are Christian workers, leaders and pastors, have embraced their moral weakness as an evangelical vice, and are trying to convince God that they were born morally weak, but that’s the way they are and there’s nothing they can do about it.

 

However, the truth is that this spiritual debility produces ungodliness and evil. This lack of moral strength gives place to the devil, profaning the work of God and bringing on scandals and destruction.

Defining defeat due to the disintegration of character

What is defeat? From the perspective of approval, we can quickly define defeat as “a cyclic life of reproof”. A vicious cycle is any evil dynamic or situation to which we feel obligated to return.

When someone faces a situation of testing and fails, he or she will be obligated to return to the same type of situation. Each time that we go through a test and we fail to pass it, we have to go through it again.

 

This obligatory return to the point of defeat defines the law of the test, from which no one escapes. Through repeated confrontations with this law, either a character of obedience or an alternative moral failure eventually emerges.

 

However, the draining dynamic of having to return routinely to the same situation, to which we subject ourselves repeatedly, begins to build a picture of defeat. In other words, whenever we take a test we fail! Therefore, we take the test again and we fail again! We repeat the test and suddenly we fail again! Each time the test defeats us more easily and we become convinced that we are a failure. It is just as Jesus declared:

Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. (John 8:34)

We feel defeated and without hope. This has become a periodic cycle in the lives of many people, leading them to spiritual disintegration, apathy and apostasy.

 

In this way, the specific points of testing become oppressive internal giants, building up fortresses that we are convinced are impenetrable. We must learn from David to leap over these walls and overcome these enemies.

The Bible tells us how Goliath, the most famous Philistine hero, challenged any man of the armies of Israel to face him in personal combat. Each day he came at the same time and repeated his humiliating and psychologically crushing challenge to all:

And the Philistine drew near and presented himself forty days, morning and evening. (1 Samuel 17:16)

This represents a cold and calculated strategy, in which the enemy plants a mentality of defeat. Each warrior of Israel had to tolerate two challenges per day. They were defeated each morning and each afternoon every day! Goliath imposed a cyclic process of personal and collective reproof simultaneously.

Because of the terrible challenges of the giant, day after day, each warrior had to accept failure through their cowardice. That became a humiliating routine, destroying the self-esteem of each man of Saul’s army. This represents more than a defeat, it was a massacre!

 

And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him and were dreadfully afraid. (1 Samuel 17:24)

Each of Goliath’s public challenges imposed a deep sense of impotence that immobilized each soldier of Israel. Not only were they already accustomed to the situation of defeat, but also, they were totally intimidated, desperate and terrified. This lasted 40 days without interruption, until God sent David. We have here a true picture of spiritual defeat.

 

This episode reveals what happens in many people’s lives. When they are in the church, with all of the members, they appear to be ready for anything. They pray, worship, preach and zealously testify. However, personally, alone before their internal giants of anger, impatience with their spouse, pornography, debts … they can’t control themselves, they feel discredited and defeated.

Defining trauma due to the disintegration of character

In the dynamic of this cyclic life of reproof resides the true point where our weaknesses are concentrated. It is impossible to speak of defeat without speaking of trauma. Areas of defeat are also areas of trauma. Each new reproof represents a newly inflicted wound. From this perspective, we can define trauma as “the result of wounds and reproof concentrated at the same point”.

 

An example of this would-be children roller-skating without kneepads. Years ago, protective equipment was not readily available or at least sought after by children of that generation. The joy and thrill of racing down a hill on roller skates, during a time, supersedes the fear of falling head over heels and smashing up knees and elbows. Only after several falls and multiple wounds on top of wounds does the fear of falling overcome these children’s fun.

 

This is a good way to describe a trauma: it is when you sustain a wound on top of a wound! The mere thought of someone touching the place that was hurt, causes pain! The terrible fear of being hurt again installs itself, as in automatic defense mechanism.

Psychologically, this point begins to suffer a constant weakening, becoming ever more acceptable to collapse where the structure itself can be broken, like a bone that can be broken, producing permanent damage, or a healing process that takes much longer.

 

Some people after four or five attempts to enter a college or university, who repetitively fail to pass the entrance exam, permanently give up their professional dreams. Similar types of things happen all around us wherever our abilities are tested. All of this describes most people’s moral and emotional life. The truth is that we can rightly claim that almost everyone has struggled or is struggling with areas of trauma and defeat.

Disintegration of character and the process of deepening a wound

Reiterating, each cycle of reproof imposes a new blow on the wound. The level of pain begins to intensify and deepen each time we are subjected to the same type of test. Wounds are sustained on top of wounds. This picture of defeat works according to a type of “spiral effect” deepening the pain and the roots of the state of reproof.

 

Morally speaking, we can define the deepness of the trauma as feelings of “shame”. The intensity of the shame and spiritual embarrassment can be determined by the distance between the first and the last reproof.

There is a type of shame that is healthy and promotes decency, however there is another type of shame that is an enslaving feeling that comes as a result of this chronic process of moral debilitation, abuses suffered, losses marked with the feeling of injustice, inferiority and bitterness. As much as we try to flee, that same thing always pursues us and repeats.

 

Invariably, wherever this type of spiritual shame exists, much fear, guilt and pain also exist. The moral shame that torments our memory establishes the depth that this cycle of chronic reproof has dug into our soul.

 

Paul insists that it is necessary for us to be before God not only as a worker, but “as a worker who does not need to be ashamed.” It is fundamentally important to deal with this shame of the soul. We must present this same position and disposition of conscience with that which Jesus faced and confronted all of Satan’s ability to accuse:

I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. (John 14:30)

by Rick Spinos

 

Formation of Character

formation-of-character

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)We all desire to have a character approved by God. We all want to please God and for that reason, we merely wait to discover the rules before beginning to practice them.

The Christian life is not a mere fulfillment of rules and precepts, because we are no longer under the law. We can sum up the Christian life with the phrase “Christ in you”, or in other words, the Christian life consists of the complete dependence on the Holy Spirit that lives within us. He changes our will and He enables us to do His will. He is all in everything. Jesus is our goodness, our meekness, our justice; he is really everything that we need. Everything that we need is already within us in the person of the Holy Spirit. It would be very easy for us to begin to exert ourselves to fulfill a set of qualities; however, this is not our purpose. Our desire is that you have the revelation of the full supply of God for your life, because to the extent that you understand this, your character qualities will develop naturally. The full supply of God for us is Christ Jesus, who lives within us. He is our life. He is our all in all.

It does no good to speak of character and conduct if we do not yet appropriate the full supply that God has for us: the deliverance from the old man from the power of sin, our justification and our regeneration in Christ, our complete dependence on the Spirit and the walk in the Spirit. We need to appropriate these great spiritual realities but not only that, we need to learn to perceive the direction of God in our spirit, to learn to separate the soul from the spirit, and learn the practice of daily renouncing the ego in the principle of the cross. We must understand all of these experiences in the spirit.

When we over emphasize recommended qualities, we run the risk of establishing a stack of rules that are not in the Bible, such as five steps to overcome wrath, 10 steps to overcome lasciviousness etc. These things do not work and divert us from the center of the Christian life, which is Christ (Colossians 3:4).

Many people think that they can be holy if they can just overcome certain types of sins. Others think that by being humble and gentle they are victorious. Others imagine that by praying and reading the Bible more, being careful to fast and pray that they will attain a holy character. Others have the idea that simply by killing the ego they will be victorious. All of these formulas have the appearance of godliness and sincerity but they are vain and useless. We cannot live the Christian life using 1001 formulas for the most varied problems. In practice, none of this works. What God desires is that we understand that Christ is our life, the perfect supply of God for all of our needs.

With this understanding in mind, we will now study some fundamental principles that will increase our understanding that Christ is in fact our life.

  1. The formation of character through God’s dealings with us

The multiform grace of God enables us with gifts to do certain things that would otherwise be impossible (2 Peter 1:1). God, through Jesus Christ, provides us with His own nature. God has granted us certain divine promises (2 Peter 1:4) and the power of God is our guarantee that He will operate the necessary changes within us (2 Peter 1:3).

Only through an attitude of diligence will we be able to perfect our character. We must make the decision to assume the likeness of Christ, to have within us the maturity of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:10, 11).

The Christian life is a process. We attain it gradually, each step corresponds to a new level reached and a new victory attained in a specific area. We must constantly grow.

God’s responsibility is to provide His own divine nature to every Christian through the repentance of sin and faith in Christ Jesus. Man’s responsibility is to apply all of God’s supply to fulfill this reality in his life.

God has given every believer everything necessary for a holy life as a birthright along with power and authority. The Christian has everything he needs to develop a mature character according to that of Jesus Christ.

  1. Describing the process

We have all been born in iniquity and formed in sin. All of us by birth have a fallen nature that may or may not accompany us for the rest of our lives (Romans 5:12). The fallen nature of man is not in harmony with anything of God.

God has placed before the Christian the goal of perfection (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 5:48; Luke 6:40; 1 Peter 1:15). Spiritual maturity is the biblical goal for all those who are in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes man’s carnality does not permit him to develop his character, as the Scriptures require. God definitively treats human nature by the power of the cross, but the ego is the principal reason why man needs the discipline of God. Each Christian needs the discipline of God to motivate him to continue in the direction of spiritual perfection (Hebrews 6:1, 3).

  1. The purpose of discipline

The Christian needs the discipline of God in his life in order to reveal hidden areas that must be transformed (1 John 1:5-7). God desires to reveal these hidden areas of sin in us, but in a way that helps us to grow. The Scriptures affirm that God reveals such secrets (Matthew 10:26, 27; 1 Corinthians 3:13).

God reveals our hidden sins so that He will not have to destroy us and our ministries. God reveals the dark areas that are present within us so that we renounce them. In order for this to happen, the Christian needs the grace of God because the human tendency is to cover up our own faults and weaknesses. Man always attempts to defend himself and to hide the motives of his heart (Genesis 3:8).

God has given His Holy Spirit to the Christian. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals the spiritual needs of man, probing the heart of the Christian and pointing to sins that must be abandoned (Psalm 139:23; Proverbs 21:2).

The word “reveal” means to remove the lid and the word “conceal” means to hide, to block the vision of, or to cover up the subject. God tries to remove the covering over man, while man tries everything to retain it.

There are several men in the Scriptures that illustrate the danger of hidden sins. The Scriptures drastically contrast the beginning of their lives with the end of them. They began well but ended up tragically.

Every Christian can start out well. Nevertheless, if they have hidden sins, which they have not confessed and continue practicing without repentance, they will destroy their lives and their ministry.

In the second book of Samuel, David, lamenting the death of Saul and Jonathan, called out three times: “How the mighty have fallen” (2 Samuel 1:19). In this lamentation, David described the “mighty” in the beginning of their ministerial life as beautiful, mighty (verse 19); beloved, pleasant, swifter than eagles and stronger than lions (verse 23); they clothed the daughters of Israel in scarlet and ornaments of gold (verse 24).

Every leader needs to remember that the purpose of the discipline of God is to reveal their heart so that they themselves will not fall. The Bible is full of examples of men who began well, but finished in tragedy, for the very reason that they did not understand the purposes of the testing of God in their lives.

The battle for your mind: Sadly, too many loose what goes on between their ears.

 

Since we refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the true knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 Amp.

Sounds great but how many of us take every thought captive? How about if we refuse to listen to the negative lies suggested to us many times throughout the day and night.

Science explains that the mind is located inside the brain.  The brain is the hard drive and the mind is the software, so to speak.  Satan uses evil spirits and fallen angels to control humanity and his main target is the human mind.  If he gains control of the mind he can control the rest of the person.  The mind is the only thing in the world a human can control 100%.  The legendary heavyweight boxing champion, Joe Louis once said; “Kill the body and the head will fall.”  In Christianity, it is the opposite; “Kill the head and the body will fall.”  Satan uses two types of spirits (lying spirits and fear demons) to control people (saved or unsaved).  They almost always work in the same order; the lying spirit strikes first and the fear demon attacks second. 

  • The lying spirit injects a thought (usually negative) into the mind from his hiding place in the unused portion of the brain (Mt. 9:32-33, 12:22).

  • The fear demon usually hides in the stomach or chest area and waits to see if the person will receive and believe the lie or negative thought.

  • If the person receives the thought, the fear spirit will  attack the soul (creating negative emotions) or body (creating pain) which reinforces the lie as truth.

If the person takes the thought given to them captive, the fear demon will strike the soul or body first giving the person negative emotions, feelings or pain.  Once the person labels them, it becomes true to that person.

For example; a negative thought is emitted into the mind from the lying spirit in the brain such as “You will always be alone.  No one likes you.”  Once the person receives and believes the injected thought, the fear spirit attacks the soul and the person “feels” loneliness, fear, rejection, etc.  They are now in bondage.  If the fear demon strikes the soul first and causes the negative emotions to arise in the body, the person labels it “I feel so alone.”  “Everyone rejects me.”  They are now in bondage.

Jesus said “You will know the Truth and the Truth will make you free.  If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”  Once the person learns thru discernment, to reject the lying emotions and thoughts, the spirits lose their power and can easily be cast out.

The person can be cured of mental illness and chronic negative thinking patterns.  This is the root of what I call an Obsessive Compulsive Negative Thought Disorder.

No one can be set free from listening to lies.  They must be mentally renewed (Ephesians 4:23).  Only by receiving and believing truth can a person be loosed from the power of darkness (Luke 11:36).

Only the Holy Spirit can heal a wide range of mentally ill patients including schizophrenia and severe bipolar.  Understanding Satan’s methods of mind control is a major key to restoration.   Repentance is the key (Acts 3:19).  You can be free of Satan’s destructive control of your mind if you repent of receiving negative thoughts and emotions as you own, go through deliverance and re-new your mind on the Word of God (Ephesians 4:23, I Corinthians 2:16, II Corinthians 10:4-5, Philippians 2:5, I Peter 1:13, 4:1).

Why don’t Christian Drug, Sex & Alcohol Programs seem to work very well?

There are several Christian based treatment/rehabilitation programs throughout the country that are designed to help people, Christian and non-Christian, overcome their chemical addictions and live lives of sobriety and productivity.  Unfortunately, the effectiveness of these programs could drastically be improved by adding an essential missing ingredient.  Fortunately, most Christian based programs tend to demonstrate statistically superior success rates when compared to secular ones.  AA and NA experience approximately 85% to 97% relapse rates.  Treatment centers and hospital programs exhibit similar patterns.  The AMA estimates that up to 40% of all patients in general hospital beds in the U.S.A. are there for some problem related to chemical dependency.  Most Christian based programs have higher success rates for their graduates but also have significant drop out and relapse rates.  Typically, 50% to 85% of all patients that start a residential treatment program quit before completion. The Christian programs generally rely on educational tapes, sermons, guest speakers, strict discipline, videos, individual counseling, group therapy, Bible studies, chapel worship, family visits, work details, annual award dinners, recreation and fund raising activities.

My experience working in Deliverance, Inner Healing and Bible teacher in several of these types of programs for many years has allowed me to observe a dramatic missing ingredient:  The programs do not implement productive methods of dealing with unclean spirits.  Unclean spirits are the key tools Satan uses to cause life destroying addictions (drugs, alcohol, sex, food, exercise, gambling, money, etc.). They penetrate or infect the person’s brain and body (Mk. 5, Lk. 13, Mk. 1, Lk. 11, Dan. 4, Job 4, I Tim. 4:1-3) causing internal cravings and anxiety that the patient cannot permanently overcome and does not understand.  Program directors mistakenly think that chapel services, Bible studies, discipline training, prayer and Christian fellowship alone will correct the problem.  Unfortunately, it is incomplete because something miraculous is missing.  The Holy Spirit is the only person who can completely heal a person of an addiction.  He must be given freedom to move in, through and among the clients and patients.  He alone can cast out the demons of addiction and heal their bodies; allowing the person freedom to pray, learn and grow.  I have frequently seen many in rehabilitation programs who cannot be successful because they don’t know they have unclean spirits or they don’t know how to remove them.  Every addict is out of control and has unclean spirits.  Almost none of the treatment programs in the United States allow for teaching about unclean spirits and how to remove addiction demons.  It is a vast area of spiritual ignorance among Christian leaders.

I have personally seen many addicts and ministers delivered from demons who improved dramatically in treatment programs as opposed to those who constantly struggle because they have not been able to overcome their internal cravings given to them by the spirits in their bodies.  Relapsing is common.  Drop outs are common.  Unfortunately, most leadership in rehabilitation programs do not understand demons and are afraid to deal with them.  Many of the leaders are themselves infected with spirits from their own prior drug/alcohol usage.

What needs to be done?  

Restructure the programs:  Priority

  • (1) Genuine repentance and a born-again experience must be ascertained for EVERY new inductee.  I have personally led many men to the Lord for the first time in their lives who had been working a program for months or years.
  •  (2)  Cast out the unclean spirits of addiction.  If a person graduates and still has addiction demons in their brain or body they will probably relapse within few months.
  •  (3)  The Baptism of the Holy Ghost must be required before any patient graduates.  If the programs would give the Holy Spirit the preeminence, the relapse statistics would drop dramatically (Acts 2, 8, 10, 19).  Patients who do not have their own Heavenly prayer language are at significant risk for relapse.
  • With these implementations relapse rates will drop dramatically and a permanent cure of the addiction can be actualized.

House of Healing

Are you IN?

For IN Him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, for we are also His offspring. Acts 17:28.  

 The Apostle Paul places emphasis on the fact as to where we are, and in whom live and have our being. The entire first chapter of Ephesians is laid out with this theme.

 1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Question, how many times do you see “IN”?