LESSONS 14 – 15 PRINCIPLE 5: Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make…
Principle 1: Realize I’m not God. I admit that I am powerless
STEP 1: Admit that we are POWERLESS over our addictions, compulsions and our life is unmanageable.
LESSON 1 – DENIAL
If human beings are vehicles, Denial is our bodies’ in-built shock-absorber that cushions the effect of catastrophic-failures, and shocking situations before we adjust to reality. Anna Freud in her book ‘The Ego and Mechanisms of Defense’ published in 1934, explained Denial as a defense mechanism, which involves a refusal to accept reality, thus blocking external events from awareness. Being in denial does not mean the problem does not exist. The earlier we act, the more we can save the problem from further degeneration.
While preaching at the popular ‘Sermon on The Mount, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3, NIV). Popular Christian Evangelist, Billy Graham, once explained this verse in a simpler term when he said, “If you put the word ‘humble’ in place of the word ‘poor’, you will understand what it means”. To receive divine healing from our hurts, hang-ups and habits (the 3Hs), we must come to God in humility. There is nothing to be proud about our weakness when it is gradually eating us away. Sin is spiritual emptiness and poverty, and no one is truly proud of poverty. Therefore, we must remove all feelings of pride in our hearts, and the thinking that we don’t really need God. The truth is that this is beyond us and we need God’s help.
Let’s look at what Denial can do to us in the process of recovery. The acronym DENIAL means:
Disables our feelings: Disabling our feelings means hiding our feelings. While we may point out the problems in others, we live in denial of ours. The Bible says in 2Peter 2:19 “They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of destructive habits—for a man is a slave of anything that has conquered him. ” Denial may keep us, as slaves to our hurts, hang-ups and habits.
Energy lost: The side effect of Denial is that the worries paralyzes us, sapping our energy that could be applied towards productive ventures. The good news is that we can be freed. Bible says “…. the Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous” (Psalm 146:7 – 8).
Negates growth: Living in denial of our weaknesses can result in stunted spiritual growth with resultant problems in relationships, finances, health and personal lives. However, if we ‘cry’ out, God is on a rescue mission and we can be rescued. Bible says “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains” (Psalm 107:13–14).
Isolates us from God: Denial keeps us in the dark and isolates us from God same way it separated Adam and Eve from God after they ate the ‘forbidden Apple’.
Alienates us from our relationships: Denial tend to isolate us from people to minimize the risk of being exposed. People who are suffering from drug addiction and pornography tend to get away from people when they want to indulge. However, it is always better to tell the ugly truth rather than a beautiful lie. Bible says, “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known” (Luke 12:2).
Lengthens the pain: The truth is Denial extends our hurt till it becomes a problem.
Lesson 2 – Powerless
Recovery begins when we stop being in denial and admit that we are POWERLESS. There is nothing to be ashamed of; we are not alone. King David in his own time of despair wrote, “For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me” (Psalm 40:12). God is bigger than all our problems and can heal us completely. Feeling POWERLESS on our path to recovery means:
Pride: Pride undermines our faith in God. “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).
Only ifs: We are trapped in rationalization – “Only if I had stopped drinking”, “Only if this … Only if that…”
Worry: Worrying only means that our trust in God is questionable. “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).
Escape: We try to escape and hide from our hurts, habits, and hang-ups by getting involved in unhealthy relationships and acts. “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Ephesians 5: 13 – 14).
Resentment: We harbor resentment and anger. “In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:26-27).
Loneliness: We feel lonely: “Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:1-2).
Emptiness: We feel empty. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
Selfishness: We become more devoted to caring for ourselves and habits. “Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
Separation: We feel separated from God. But God is never lost, and we can feel closer again. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).
Bad things can happen to good people, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of on our path to recovery. It is not God’s will for us to live in hurt, hang-on, and negative habits. Be willing to take that bold step today to free yourself and walk on the path of recovery. His burden is light, and his yoke is easy, but only if we knock, that door will be opened. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).