In How Can I Break Free from my Addictions, Part 1, we discovered that we have been lied to by the evil one himself. Those urgings that keep us viciously addicted can only be broken if we take Jesus’ promises as Truth: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36 NIV). We need to realize that these temptations are only lies, that we can truly live without them!
The process for obtaining our promised freedom, however, can take a while for many of us, as old habits have a nasty way of resurfacing. Remember the Israelites? After wandering through the desert for a while, they longed to return to Egypt, the land of their oppression (See Numbers 11:4-6)! It’s hard to give up something we have, for so long, been so accustomed to!
But at the same time, it’s even harder to continue to live under the obsession of such bondages as discouragement, and depression often sets in, making us doubt the very core of our salvation.
No matter where we stand, let’s never give in to our discouragement. Since victory is often a process, let’s keep looking towards the One who will set us free. Let’s believe in our freedom and see the bondage as it truly is: a snare from the evil one to prevent us from tasting how good God truly is!
That’s where faith comes in. Unfortunately this is a notion many are confused about, and for good reason. So many times in our lives we have trusted untrustworthy people, so many times we have been betrayed by lies and more lies. Only one thing is for sure: God is not like that!
Do you know what faith really is? It’s not some obscure notion that is hard to grasp. It’s really quite simple: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb 11:1 NIV). In other words, faith is taking as Truth what God says. It’s taking Him at His Word!
Look at the list of all those who are mentioned as heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11. Take verse 7 for an example. Imagine being Noah. He lived in a land that had never experienced rain before, and God told him to go and build an ark. Now just imagine building a cruiser in the middle of the Sahara desert! It’s about the same thing! Can you imagine what Noah had to go through? The ridicule of his fellow country men, the disdain of those whose lives were geared to evil? Can you imagine how long it took him to build such a huge boat?
However, “Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.” (Gen 7:5 NIV). He took as truth what God had told him and gave no credence to his senses that were telling him he had set about an impossible and ridiculous task.
Heb. 11:11 is another good example. Abraham had received the promise of a son directly from God. One little problem: he was advancing quickly in his years and his body was changing. Human reality dictated that such a promise from God was truly impossible. In fact, his first reaction was just that: “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” (Gen 17:17 NIV). This was humanly impossible, as “Sarah was past the age of childbearing.” (Gen 18:11 NIV)
However Abraham didn’t put faith in his circumstances. Instead he accepted God’s Word as the truth: “He considered him faithful who had made the promise.” (Heb 11:11 NIV)
Imagine if you had been Abraham. What looks you would have received from your neighbours when your wife, age 90, bore a child!
So what does this have to do with addictions? Just this: Just like Noah and Abraham, we can rise up and firmly declare: “Enough of these lies! I will not believe in these vicious deceptions that rise from these addictions. Instead I will take God at His Word. He is the One who is telling me the truth. In fact, He IS the truth!”
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 NIV)
While in New Zealand I encountered something extraordinary. In many places of this gorgeous country we found one-lane bridges.
The first time we saw one, we weren’t sure who had the right-of-way. Being from North America, we are used to the “first come, first serve” mentality. So as we carefully approached the bridge, we waited for the car on the other side. After all, he had reached the bridge first, and we didn’t want to meet him half-way across!
But nothing happened. At least not at first. “Strange,” I thought.
Finally the car on the other side flashed his bright lights, telling us to go ahead and cross the bridge. Confused, we obliged. We then waved our thanks to the driver to show our appreciation for his unselfishness.
There had been a strange sign with black and red arrows at the entrance to the bridge, but we had no idea what it meant. We would later learn that if the sign had a red arrow on our side of the road, we were supposed to give the right-of-way to oncoming traffic, and if the black arrow was on our side, we had the right-of-way. New Zealanders take these road signs seriously, and there is, apparently, rarely accidents on such bridges. Unless of course, a tourist comes along who, like us, has no idea what the sign mean!
It was actually quite impressive! I couldn’t imagine that such signs would work very well where I live! Maybe we could learn a thing or two from them about what faith truly means.
But what about holding on to faith in the midst of heavy temptation? Can we really take God at His word then? We’ll discover the answer next week. Join us for How Can I Break Free from my Addictions, Part 3!
Putting confidence in these bridge signs sure avoids pile-ups! Faith does work!
(To access the entire “How Can I Break Free From my Addictions?” devotional series, please click here.)