Many times you hear people say that the first step in overcoming addiction is admitting you have a problem. I would whole-heartedly agree in that denial and/or deception will always keep you from freedom. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves, but most importantly, honest with God when it comes to overcoming our hang-ups and addictions.
One of the greatest passages I have read in the Bible concerning overcoming sin is found in Psalm 51. I want to highlight a few key points that will help bring the power of freedom over any and all addictions you may be facing.
Psalm 51:1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
1. Freedom proceeds an awareness of the goodness and compassion of God. When we have the realization of the goodness of God it frees us to come to Him with our addictions and sin. Many times people are fearful to come to God with their junk because they believe that He is just waiting to punish them, but this just isn’t so. He is full of mercy, love, and compassion toward His children, and when you truly believe this, you will not run away from Him, but will run to Him with any, and all issues you may be facing.
Psalm 51:2-4 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.
2. Freedom comes when we acknowledge that our sin is ultimately against God. So many times we continue with our sin until we get caught, and then we hate the fact that a person caught us, but all the while God is constantly aware of our behavior. We need to be people who are more concerned with our Father who sees us at all times, than a person who may “find us out”.
Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.
3. Freedom comes when we release the shame we’ve been holding on to, and understand that each of us battle various issues. Many times Satan will make you feel isolated in your struggle like you are the exception, but the truth is that we all have various struggles we need God’s help with on a daily basis.
Psalm 51:6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
4. Freedom requires getting honest with ourselves, God, and others. The saddest thing is that the majority of Christians live in a world of deception and pretense. Freedom will come when we make the decision to be real with God, and with safe people He has places in our lives.
Psalm 51:7-9 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities.
5. Freedom is not obtained by ourselves, but accepting the power of the blood of Jesus, His forgiveness, and strength. His blood was shed so that we would be as clean as though we had never sinned before. Many times we try to hold our own sins against ourselves, but that is devaluing the power of the blood of Jesus. Know today that His blood is enough to cleanse you from even the filthiest of sins.
Psalm 51:10-12 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.
6. Freedom is sustained when we allow God to do a deep work of healing and cleansing in our hearts. We need to constantly ask the Lord to search, and purify our hearts. Our sinful actions do not happen overnight, but they begin deep within our hearts. That is why it is most important that we learn to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). The enemy will come to bring pain or offense to our hearts, and if left un-dealt with, it will eventually lead to sinful behavior which serves as a coping mechanism.
Psalm 51:13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.
7. Freedom is not to be contained, but is used to produce a ripple affect in the lives of others. When you have truly been set free, you cannot be silent about it, but your desire will be to spread the joy of your freedom to all you encounter. God can use the sin and addictions He frees us from as a powerful testimony that will bring hope and freedom to others!
If there is an area of sin or addiction you can’t seem to overcome, perhaps God is leading you to be honest, face it head on, and to allow His grace to set you free. Always remember that Satan wants nothing more than to keep you bound by shame, and hiding in the darkness. It is only when we bring things into the light of Christ that the darkness is expelled, and freedom comes.
You may be wondering why I am wishing you a Happy New Year in mid September. Well, according to the Hebrew calendar, sundown of September 4 through sundown of September 6 is the marking of a new year, or what the Jewish people call Rosh Hashanah. Significantly enough, Rosh Hashanah is not only observed on the 1st two days of the Hebrew calendar, but also is said to mark the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve.
So what is the importance of Rosh Hashanah and what does it mean for us as Christians? I want to cover five points which can be taken away from Rosh Hashanah, which I believe have great spiritual significance which we can gleam from.
May each of us allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate in our hearts the valuable spiritual significance found during this Jewish New Year holiday, Rosh Hashanah. And as the Jewish people would say, “Shanah Tovah”, or “Have a good year”!
Oh that we would grasp the words of Peter, “Lord, to who shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” He had gone through life as a fisherman, a businessman if you will. He had learned the art of commerce, and caring for himself through his trade. However one day as he sat casting his net into the sea, he had a collision with destiny. Jesus came walking by Peter along his brother Andrew and called to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” This had to be a very strange moment for them. After all, what did it even mean to become a fisher of men? Although a peculiar statement, there was something very different about this man Jesus. His words and gaze penetrated deep into their souls unlike no person had ever been able to do. Before their minds could completely grasp what was happening, they immediately dropped their nets and began, what would become a lifelong journey of following Christ.
You see Peter had heard a different sound from the lips of Jesus. In world full of noise and many words, his heart was suddenly awakened by words of life. Beloved those same words still call to each of us today. Stop chasing the old way of doing things, and being, and let your heart be awakened by the words of life. Jesus beacons each of us to come on a wonderful journey of no longer rationalizing our life, or planning our destiny, but immediately dropping what we think we hold in our hands and wholeheartedly following Him. Will you take the full plunge today? Will you begin to follow the glorious sound from heaven which bids you to come, and join the cry of Peter by saying to Jesus, “Lord, to who shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”