Jesus’ love can and does conquer addictions

Addictions

Addictions are something that plagues many people today, whether addiction to food, sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, spending, masturbation, porn, etc. Some inexperienced deliverance ministers might go after a spirit of addiction, which may bring freedom, but more often than not, it doesn’t bring lasting freedom. Many times there is a root that needs to be pulled up, along side casting out any residing spirits that are holding the person in bondage to the addiction. Getting to the root of the addiction is the key to bringing a person lasting genuine freedom. I am going to address the most common roots to addictions, and hopefully give you an idea of how this particular type of bondage works so that you can minister lasting freedom to those caught up in this type of bondage.

We are all created with a basic need to be loved. God created us to both give and receive love, but though damaged emotions, our capacity to receive love can be dramatically hindered. Ignorance of God’s love will also hinder us from receiving the great and glorious love that He has for us. The root of most addictive behaviors is a lack of love being received by that person. Many of us have been damaged emotionally by rejection, abandonment, abuse, etc., and thereby our capacity to receive love has been reduced. Only an emotionally healthy person is capable of both giving and receiving love as God intended.

Self-worth issues can hinder love

Self-worth issues are rooted in believing that we are not worthy or deserve to be loved. When we believe that we are unlovable, we will unconsciously reject any love that comes our way. We won’t believe the love, because we believe in our hearts that we are not worthy. Self worth issues are all rooted in our failing to see who we really are in Christ.

Many times, we have self-unforgiveness issues because we blame ourselves for something, or we’ve done something we deeply regret, and we simply cannot let it go. We need to realize that Jesus has forgiven us of all our failures, and we need to start seeing ourselves as forgiven. Otherwise, we’re denying the work of Christ in our life! If God forgave you, and you’re still beating yourself up, then you don’t really believe what Jesus did for you. It’s that simple!

Just as we must forgive others (see Matthew 18:21-35), we need to forgive ourselves just the same. Self-hate has been known to be the root behind diseases such as lupus and Crohn’s disease, as well as other auto-immune diseases. We need to stop holding ourselves accountable for that which Jesus has set us free from.

If we want to be in faith, we need to BELIEVE what Jesus did for us, and part of that believing is seeing ourselves as forgiven and clothed with the righteousness of God, which is upon all who believe in the finished work of Christ. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (see Hebrews 11:6), so if you want to please God, start taking the finished work of the cross seriously, and begin to see yourself as forgiven, washed clean, and clothed in the righteousness of God. For the righteousness (right standing with God) is upon all who believe:

“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe…” (Romans 3:22 KJV)

Unforgiveness is rooted in a lack of realization of how much God has forgiven us, and therefore we’re not thankful for the steep and terrible price that Jesus paid for our own failures. This is why it is so important to mediate on what Jesus did for us, until it transforms our heart. The message of Jesus’ work for us is what causes faith to arise in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out (read Romans 10:8-17).

Learning to see yourself as God sees you and forgive yourself because you want to please God and be in faith and be thankful for what Jesus did for you, is the biggest step in overcoming self-worth issues. Of course, there are spirits that may need to be driven out as well, such as self-hate, guilt, condemnation, etc.

Receiving the love God has for us

When it comes to God’s love for us, that’s very obvious, considering how He loves even the sinner so much that Jesus came to die for them. Anybody who knows the message of the cross, has some knowledge of God’s love for us. However, many times, we blame God for our problems, and so we don’t believe the love that He has for us. Not only do we blame Him for our problems, many times we think that God gave us the sickness or problem in our life to teach us something. Nothing could be further from the truth! Jesus tells us clearly who came to kill, steal, and destroy, and who came so that we could have life and have it in abundance.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV)

If we are going to receive the love that God has for us, we need to get our thinking straightened out. He’s not the one behind our problems, but rather Jesus paid the full price so that we can be forgiven all our sins, both physically and emotionally healed, and blessed.

“When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word and healed all that were sick: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” (Matthew 8:16-17 KJV)

Look at how good God’s heart is toward mankind! Not only did Jesus heal them, but He proved the blessings of the covenant we have with Him today concerning our healing and deliverance. Isn’t He good toward us? The reason why bad things happen to us, is because we live in a fallen world that is under the control of the evil one. It’s not God’s fault. He loves you. Jesus died for you.

Settling the fact that God loves you and is good toward you is crucial to restoring your God-given capacity to receive His love. If you can’t receive His love, then you need to stop and ask yourself four questions:

  1. Am I blaming God for anything bad that happened to me?
  2. Have I been emotionally wounded in such a way that it is hindering my ability to freely receive love as God intended me to?
  3. Do I have knowledge and revelation of how much God loves me? Do I have a solid Biblical understanding of how I am loved with the same kind of love that the Father has for Jesus?
  4. Is there a self-worth issue that makes me feel unworthy to be loved?

Settling these issues lays a foundation for breaking free from the power of addictions. You must repair the damage and faulty thinking which hinders your ability to receive the love that God has for you.

How do you know if you are receiving God’s love or if it’s hindered? If you are not passionate about Jesus, then somewhere your ability to receive His love is hindered.

If you are living a life without receiving God’s love in your heart on a daily bases, you are missing out on the most fulfilling life you can have here on this earth. To know God’s love, which surpasses all understanding (see Philippians 4:7), dispels all our fears and gives us a sense of peace and joy that we could never otherwise know.

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:16-18 KJV)

What exactly is an addiction?

An addiction is formed when we try to use something other than God, to meet our need to be loved. When our ability to receive God’s love into our hearts is hindered, we will feel like something is missing, and seek to fill that void with something else. When that thing, whatever it might be, fills that void, we grow to love it because it’s meeting a need. Over time, we establish a relationship with that thing, and when it comes time to depart, it’s like breaking up a relationship. That’s why addictions are so addicting; we’ve relied on that thing to meet a need and we’ve established a relationship with it. Now when it’s time to break up the love, it isn’t so easy to say goodbye.

See yourself as lovable!

The key in uprooting most addictions is to deal with the underlying issues which are limiting their capacity to freely receive love from God and others, along with dealing with any self-worth issues by establishing an understanding of your true identity in Christ. Coming to a place where you believe you are lovable is key to receiving love in general, so dealing with self-worth issues is an important key to breaking down the walls which keep us from feeling loved. The only way to obtain a true sense of worth and value is to get a revelation of how much you are loved by God the Father, who sent His son Jesus to die for you.

Discovering the root

To discover the root of your addiction, you need to get real honest with yourself. Many times, we are in denial about the pain we are feeling. Figuring out what the root of a bondage is all about asking the right questions, and that is especially important when it comes to uprooting an addiction. Why don’t we feel loved? Do we feel unlovable? (Let’s stop right there; if we feel unlovable, then you’ve just discovered a self-worth issue that will need to be addressed.) Are you passionate about Jesus? If not, then something in hindering you from realizing how much you are loved by Him who died for you. Do you see yourself as forgiven and loved by the Father because of what Jesus did for you?

As you discover emotional wounds, you’ll need to forgive (others, yourself, and God) and invite Jesus to come and heal the damage in your heart. If you don’t realize how much God loves you, then you’ll need to spend some time learning about what Jesus did for you on the cross, and what a terrible price He paid because He loved you so very much. Often breaking out of an addiction is a combination of emotional healing, learning about who you are in Christ, forgiving (yourself, others, and God), overcoming self-worth issues by changing how you see yourself (in light of how God sees and loves you), and casting out any spirits that came in and are enforcing the addictive behavior. Spirits behind guilt, condemnation, etc. also need to be driven out, as they seek to keep us from fully seeing what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Dealing with the issues underlying an addiction is key to uprooting it permanently. If you want lasting freedom and wholeness in this area of your life, you will have to deal with the issues that have limited your capacity to receive love, especially the love that God has for you.

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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).

 

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