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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Godly decision making and defeating addictions

1 Corinthians 6:12b All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Over the course of the past couple of days we have been discovering the foundation necessary for making godly decisions.  So far we have discovered two such principles as guidelines for godly decision making:

-Choose based upon what builds up or promotes Christian harmony (Romans 14:19)
-Choose based upon what will yield the greatest benefit for the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:12a)

Today we consider the third principle in Godly decision making:
Choose based upon what will not master me

Addictions and the idea of "who is your master?"
Now when we consider things that master us - we enter into the realm of addictive behavior.  We understand that at salvation, Jesus not only becomes our Savior, but also our Lord. (Luke 9:23-24; Romans 10:9).  As Jesus Himself notes, you cannot serve two masters, you will love the one and hate the other, or despise the one and cling to the other, you cannot serve God and money. (please compare Matthew 6:24). 

So for the Christian, the most fundamental question to ask is this: who owns the rights to my life?  Scripture makes it plain that we are not our own, we have been bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20)  Thus no other person, thing or influence should have mastery over me.  As Paul explains in Romans 6:16 - "Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?"

All addictions have their beginning in the thought-life
The Holy Spirit states through Paul in Romans 6:14 "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace."  Grace is what God does for me that I cannot do for myself.  Grace is given to every believer in Jesus Christ.  Thus when you are dealing with an addiction - you are dealing with a lifestyle that had its root in your thought-life.  Remember this: A thought reaps an action; an action, done repeatedly reaps a habit; a habit done repeatedly reaps a lifestyle; and a lifestyle reaps a destiny.  Now that statement applies postiviely to the things of God, and negatively to addictions. 

The first step to defeating addiction - Deal with "what you don't have to do"
The first step towards defeating an addiction is recognizing that you don't have to do it.  When I am mastered by a controlled substance, or certain lifestyle, or another person, I'm convinced that I have no choice.  Dear friend, if you are a child of God, you can claim the above passage - "I will not be mastered by anything."  Now Paul makes that statement in the realm of lawful things.  However he recognizes that whether they be lawful, or unlawful, being mastered by anything else other than Jesus Christ leads to ruin. 

The second step to defeating addictions - "Understand that you can get out of the addiction"
So if you believe you don't have to be mastered by anything other than Christ, then do you believe that you can get out of that addiction?  This second part is harder than the first.  When Paul makes the statement that he will not be mastered by anything, he is basing that upon the power of God that he has at his disposal.  Every Christian has this  -we call it the scripture.  Philippians 4:13 for instance states - "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength".  Do you believe that?  Say it to yourself, repeatedly.  Romans 10:17 tells us that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ".  As one preacher friend of mine has said: "There is no chain forged in hell that Jesus can't break".

The third step to defeating addictions - use the scripture to get a hold of your thought-life
In this final step, you have agreed with God that you don't have to be mastered by anything other than Christ.  You have agreed that in Christ, you can get out of that addiction.  But now lets deal with the thought pattern that began it.  All behaviors, all addictions, are rooted in the heart and fed by the mind.  If we can cut off the food supply to that addicition, your heart will change, leading to a change in behavior. 

2 Corinthians 10:5 states - "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ."  Again as we take our principle of "choose based upon what will not master me", we look for those thought patterns that are pressing us into the opposite direction of Christ and His word.  By His grace we can control what we think.  We can tell our eyes: "We won't watch this today, rather we'll watch this".  We can tell our ears: "I'm not listening to that, rather I'm going to listen to this".  These are the "gates" to our mind.  Scripture tells us to "be transformed by the renewing of our mind" (Romans 12:1-2).  

Thus this principle, when combined with what we learned from the previous two blogs, gains us entry into a solid foundation for Godly decision making and Christian victory. 

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