We are alive to what we are feeding. How we live our lives continually feeds our appetites and they grow. Whether we feed our flesh or our Spirit the principle is true: Whatever we feed or give into will grow. Whatever we don't feed or give in to will shrink and lose its power. Galatians 5:24 says: “those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires – verse 25 since we live by the Spirit let us keep in step with the Spirit.” So step-by-step or choice-by-choice we decide to please the Spirit. We feed the Spirit of God in order that He grows stronger in us. Then we can be easily led by God. But while the sinful nature is strong in us we may wrestle with making right decisions. Our flesh may be so strong that it shouts louder than His Spirit for our attention. Let me use an example from my life. I smoked for a few years when I was a teenager. When I met my husband he always had a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, in those days, you could smoke at work. One day my mom prompted us to quit smoking. We both chose to quit but it was a battle for me. Immediately, my flesh screamed out for me to smoke. It was demanding, loud and strong because I had given into it for years, but now I was choosing to starve it, causing it to lose its power in me. My flesh did not go down without a fight. I was engaged in a battle for control of my thoughts, body, and flesh for 30 days. And on two occasions I gave in to my flesh and "snuck" a couple hits of a cigarette. It is amazing how dizzy I got from the poisons in those two cigarettes. I then could see some of the negative effects on my body. As the days passed, its screams became less often, less intense, and I finally won the battle. Our mind and body can work against us when we are trying to do what is right. But how do we win these types of battles? The same principles that helped to set me free from cigarettes still work today to free us from our addictions:
I did not give in and smoke. (Except for those two times)
I reminded myself of the truth. If I smoked my husband would smoke. I knew that smoking could ruin our health in the future. I did not want to lose him.
I began to reprogram my mind with other truths. I even reminded myself of other’s words. One day just before quitting smoking I had to take a customer somewhere and when I got into his car, smelling cigarette smoke on me, he said, "You are too pretty to smoke." Surprised by his words I just smiled and did not say a word. Although his words really spoke this truth to me, "Your smoking makes you smell terrible!" I repeated those words to myself over and over again.
I repeated words such as: “You smell when you smoke.” “I really hate to smoke.” (Though I really still desired and liked to smoke) I constantly told myself the truth I wanted to live by.
Most importantly, I PRAYED ALL THE TIME FOR GOD’S STRENGTH and WILL for my life.
Scriptures such as: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, comes to mind.
Why did I succeed? I succeeded because my love for my husband superseded my desire to feed my flesh. Though my flesh was incredibly strong, my love and desire for my husband was stronger. Freedom is always possible. I have seen God set people free from drugs and alcohol. They are still free! With God all things are possible. I know heroin addicts who completely destroyed their lives. They turned to God and He accepted them, forgave them and renewed their life. They are happy and set free still to this day. They became free when they stopped feeding their addiction and started feeding their relationship with Jesus. They started depending on Him for their inner strength. He equipped them to walk in freedom! Everything in our life has been fed, including bad attitudes. We can feed negative emotions such as anger. I know it is hard to starve a habit or a pattern of living. But I have found that God’s freedom is worth the inner struggle. Is there an area in your life that you want to be FREE? Let’s join with Christ and remind ourselves that, WE CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS US! Again, nothing is impossible with God. I know if we continue to feed negative thoughts about our self or others they will grow and they will become like truths to us. Feed yourself the truth about God. Know His love for you and His love for others. His truth and inner strength will bring about His freedom in your life. I want us to be FREE!!! More importantly Christ died that we CAN BE FREE! The next blog will help us to overcome negative thoughts. May the Lord be with you as He leads you and guides you into all that is right. May you walk in His freedom all the days of your life! Thank YOU Jesus for enabling us to walk in Your FREEDOM! Love in Christ,Dawn