Precious Testimonies Ministry Encourager
GOD’S GRACE IS THE KEY TO OVERCOME SIN AND ADDICTIONS - OR IT'S NOT
By: Norm Rasmussen
You’re a born again Christian (I’m assuming). You desire to be full of the Holy Spirit every day of every year (don’t you?). You truly want to be pleasing to God in every way (shout “Yes!”) … except there is one little problem. Just when you think you have mastered sin, temptation arises, and you blow it again. Can you relate?
Here’s something that might help you get victory over that besetting sin. Let’s do a little reasoning together first.
Can you agree that God has all power? Can you agree that God has supplied you and I with all power necessary to help us conquer every stronghold of sin in our lives?
“Uhh … now wait a minute, Norm,” you might be thinking right about now. “I’ve asked God to strip this besetting sin out of my life I don’t know how many times, and it just seems to be going nowhere. If God has all power to help me stop committing this sin … why do I keep committing it?”
This may sting just a little, but let’s be honest with ourselves. We sin because we like it. There’s not a doubt in my mind that if you take a hammer and bop yourself in the head with it about ten times in a row, you won’t do that again in the foreseeable future. How can I know that? Because it’s isn’t enjoyable. It hurts! We don’t do what we don’t enjoy doing, pure and simple. Every sin we commit, if we’ll be honest, we somehow consider it either to be enjoyable or expedient, just prior to committing that sin, anyway. (Our perception might change quickly after we’ve committed it, but during the temptation phase, there is something about that sin that convinces us it is a sin worth committing).
In fact, if our flesh couldn’t provide for us a “rewarding reason” to commit that sin, we would just shrug off that temptation and never give it a second thought.
The alcoholic – the drug addict – the compulsive gambler – the compulsive overeater – the compulsive spender – the compulsive outbursts of anger - the sexually addicted … there is a promise of a pleasurable reward if we’ll commit that act of sin, sometimes if only for just a few brief seconds, correct? Afterall, if there was no promise somehow of any “reward,” we simply would not give in to the temptation.
Back to the power of God. Millions have testified over time about God bringing victory to Christians in helping them conquer strongholds of sin in their life. Yet maybe there’s that little pesky sin or two you can’t seem to get victory over – YET.
“Heavenly Father, I ask in Jesus’ name that the words I write from here on will be quickened to certain ones reading this, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will help readers conquer controlling sin/s in their lives, and impart to them the wisdom and power to overcome strongholds of sin in their lives, to YOUR glory.”
What you and I need to conquer strongholds of sin in our life is a weapon we can bop ourselves in the head with and not see stars. So, set aside your hammer, and pick up God’s weapon of GRACE. A secret to having power released in your life and my life to conquer strongholds of sin is God’s weapon of GRACE.
This weapon – GRACE – is more powerful than a hundred million atom bombs detonated all at one time. This weapon not only has the power to cast a mountain into the sea, but then dry UP the sea! Am I getting a little far-fetched here? Try this for size. GRACE is sufficient to save the most vile of sinners, which as far as I’m concerned, happens to be the one writing this – yours truly.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under GRACE. – Romans 6:11-14
See … right there it is! It is God’s grace that is our weapon to conquer sin in our life. The law says, “Don’t do that. Do this! You can’t do that. You must do this!”
Grace changes the whole thinking process: “You know that isn’t good for you. If sin was good for you, I would tell you plainly in My Word it is good for you. Are you aware that when you have tried every other means to stop committing that sin, there is My power released through grace to have power not to give into it?”
Let’s say over-indulgence in alcohol is your besetting sin. Everything you have tried to this point simply hasn’t worked. You are so discouraged. You know alcohol is taking years off your heart, making it old before its time. It’s affecting many different areas of your life, yet you can’t seem to say no to a drink when temptation arises.
Try this. Just before taking that drink, ask yourself this question. Is God’s grace sufficient to say “No!” to that temptation, or not?
No matter how many times you STILL keep taking that drink, keep asking that question. “Is God’s grace sufficient to receive power to say no to this alcohol, or is it not?”
When you get upset enough at alcohol having power over you (or whatever your drug of choice might be, or the sin you are tempted to commit), perhaps you’ll get desperate enough to break through … and receive from the Holy Spirit the power that is behind God’s promise:
“My graceis sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (See: 2 Corinthians 12:9).
When we finally reach the point where we come to the conclusion that we simply don’t have power within ourselves to say no to our sin, that is the very moment when we are the most ABLE to receive power from God we were never able to tap into before. That’s when the power of grace is exceedingly sufficient to empower us to say “No!” to that temptation whenever it should come our way.
Coming to grips – coming to the full realization that we are simply too weak to obey God and stop sinning – is a most priceless place we can come to, because it is there that we then receive something from the Holy Spirit we were simply unable to receive before that moment in time: The delivering and keeping power of God’s grace.
We are promised that “Christ in us is our hope of glory.” (See: Col. 1:27). Are you aware of the fact that it is the “grace of God in us that is our hope of glory as well?” Christ is the grace of God personified. Christ in us is God’s grace in us. At the point of our greatest weakness is when we can allow Christ to become more fully formed in us. The Apostle Paul came to understand this incredible revelation as he wrestled with his painful thorn in the flesh, as recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:8-10:
Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
What did Paul hear God say to him? “My grace is your solution, Paul. The answer to getting victory over your difficulties will be found in My grace. When you discover you do not have power within your own resources to obtain victory over distresses, dig deeper into My grace, which is the power of Christ available to those who are Mine.”
The thorn in Paul’s flesh transformed Paul’s use of spiritual power by forcing him to focus not on what he as a person was able to do but on what Christ could do through him despite the thorn in his flesh.
(It should be noted: In Paul’s situation, he was not dealing with a besetting sin. However, being tempted to be puffed up with pride due to all that was revealed to him when he visited the third heaven, may well fall into the realm of a potential “spiritual addiction”).
No matter what happened to Paul in this life, at the greatest point of his weakness, he was now more capable than ever before of tapping into the power of Christ released through God’s grace that gave Paul the ability to rise above it and continue to serve God with a joy that is not found any other way in this life … even we can surmise, in his weaknesses.
The strength of Christ is found in grace. More grace is released to us when we press in and actually boast how in our infirmities (how powerless we are within our own power – our own abilities, in other words), rather than complain or remain frustrated in them. God says there is sufficient power available for all our trials when we are able to fully surrender in our human weakness to the sufficiency of God’s grace for each particular situation.
The thorn in Paul’s flesh transformed Paul’s understanding of spiritual power by forcing him to focus not on what he in himself was able to do, but on what the power of Christ could do through him despite the thorn in his flesh.
By faith we agree with the Apostle Paul and God’s Word, that God’s grace is available and sufficient, which is what releases God’s overcoming power in us … or … we try to intellectually figure out what in the world Paul is talking about, and are left with only our own limited ability to cope with our trying situation, which then means failure to conquer our “addiction thorn.”
It is difficult to fully understand all that this statement entails: “The power of Christ is released for me as I acknowledge my weakness, and by His grace, that power is greatly made available to me as I trust Him for it”.
Perhaps it is better understood in this manner. In Alcoholics Anonymous, one of the first things you learn is that until you admit to yourself and others that your addiction has power over you, you won’t get any lasting victory over your addiction. But when you are able to reach the place where you admit and believe that you are completely powerless to stop your addiction, that is when you will be able to tap into your “higher power” to be able to conquer your addiction. There is no higher power than the Creator of the universe. The Bible says Jesus Christ is that person (Along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, of course. People can disagree; that’s their choice, yet they can’t prove that Jesus Christ isn’t the very “highest power.”)
Here’s a suggestion you might consider to get grace from your head to your heart. Obtain for yourself a 3 x 5 index card and write on it:
God’s grace is totally sufficient to help me say no to my sin - my addiction - or it isn’t. What’s my decision going to be?
On the flip side of that card, you might consider writing:
It’s okay for me to admit that I am powerless over this sin – this addiction – because NOW I can trust Jesus Christ to release HIS power into my life to help me conquer it!
See – to begin to allow God’s grace to be released into overcoming your addiction - your besetting sin … you must will it to happen. You have to make up your mind whether God’s grace is totally sufficient - or it isn’t. It often takes total desperation for many to agree that God’s grace is totally sufficient, and to begin trusting God to allow the power of Christ to have its delivering effect in their situation.
Another wise spiritual discipline you may find helpful to employ is to go to the Lord in prayer each morning before you go about your daily routine, and after asking God to keep you from temptation that day as well as deliver you from evil, (as the Lord’s prayer says we are to do: See: Matthew 6:13), ask the Lord to provide His strength to say no to temptation to sin, should temptation arise. What could such a discipline possibly hurt?
The power of Christ is made perfect in our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit is the one who said so, as He moved the Apostle Paul to write:
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor. 12:9-10
Who of us want to be so pridefully stubborn and unwise as to refuse or hinder the power of Christ to help us in our weaknesses? To help us stop our addictions? To help us say “No!” to temptations to sin? To help us obey Holy Scriptures? Surely no one reading this.
Note: To read more about this subject, you are encouraged to click on the following link: http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/1991/766_Christs_Power_is_Made_Perfect_in_Weakness/
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