Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wise Counsel in Christian Recovery

Many Christians, especially those coming out of the world and off of drugs and alcohol, get in trouble when they believe they are hearing God when it’s actually the voice of their sinful man coming through loud and clear. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen people in recovery end up relapsing because they were sure that God was speaking and releasing them to do this or that.

For example, it’s common for ex-addicts to want to save their friends who are in the midst of addiction. While wisdom would have them separate from those practicing the sin of addiction – at least until they are stronger and well-rooted in their faith – the devil knows how to connect with the ex-addict’s sin nature to lure them back. At first, the ex-addict is able to resist temptation, but soon they lose their resolve and return to their old ways and their drug of choice.

This reality may make you insecure about whether you are divinely inspired or not, but there is a system you can use to make sure that what you are hearing is truth and/or wisdom. First, check it against Biblical instruction. Second, get in the habit of seeking counsel from your leaders.

Even small decisions can have a major impact on your Christian life. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”  (KJV)  To prove this point, Solomon writes something very familiar in Proverbs 15:22, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

The best advice we can give you is to leave nothing to chance. When you are making decisions, don’t get prideful and religious; get guidance. Most importantly, if several people you trust agree on a solution or a direction, take their advice. This may mean that you have to do something you don’t want to do, or you can’t do something you want to do. At first, you’ll dislike this accountability process, but we guarantee you will totally love the long-term results.

The Solid Rock Road is a Christian Recovery program with a book that promotes 10 Principles of recovery titled “Follow The Solid RockRoad: Pathway to Radical Recovery.” You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Keep the Devil at a Distance: Christian Recovery

God can read your mind, but Satan can’t. However, the devil knows how to manipulate you through fears and questions he perceives that you have. All Satan has to do is watch your behavior, wait for your reactions, observe your body language, and listen to what you say. Since Satan knows the Bible backward and forward, he uses Luke 6:45 to make plans: “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. In other words, he listens for signs of weakness. He 'hears' your heart.
  Therefore, you must quickly get a lot of God and His Word planted in your heart. That way, words you speak will repel the devil instead of drawing him to you. When you talk to God, use words of faith, and claim scripture out loud. Satan hates faith and despises God's words. What a great way to keep the evil one at a distance. 
On the other hand, if you whine about your problems and if you doubt out loud, you can be sure that the devil’s ears perk right up and all the evil familiar spirits get to work reviving your sin nature and self-will.
When the devil hears you talk about your addictions and how weak you are feeling, he will put a drug dealer in your path or have old friends drop by with a twelve-pack of your favorite beer to further weaken your resolve. The devil will stop at nothing to ensure you are fully tempted, to the point where you give in and say out loud, “I can’t resist.” And of course, we know that's not true because God says he has given every one of us a way to escape. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13.)
Satan doesn't just kick you when you're down. He and his posse will also use tactics to tempt you when you’re at your best and in tune with God. The difference is that when you have been reading the Word and spending time with God, you are spiritually empowered, you are prepared for the spiritual battle, and have the Word of God as your weapon of warfare.
If your sin nature and self-will are allowed to dominate, you are destined for trouble. Pride and self-will prevent you from seeking Christian counsel. When that happens, you’ll resist talking to people who might say no to your ungodly ideas and plans. Instead, when you’re in a funk, you'll begin to share your thoughts with those you know will agree with your negativity and not judge you. But beware of those 'friends' who encourage you to take a break from church and give you permission to take the pressure off yourself. They will tell you that you have done well and deserve a reward. Those words will connect with your sinful self and the devil's plan for your life. Before you know it, you've taken that drink or done those drugs. You've literally invited Satan into the center of your life once again.
Godly people will always challenge you to fight harder and to change. You may not have faith for a lifestyle upgrade, but the people of God have enough faith for you! Hang with them.
If you want your life to be great and to continually keep the devil at a distance, find someone whose life is already great and do what they do. Don’t let your past experiences and failures dictate your future. Instead, design your life by finding Christians whose footsteps you can follow. And don't get out of step with them. Trust what you don't understand, and do what doesn't come natural. Before you know it, the devil is at a distance and you're living the good life in Christ.

Jamee Rae Pineda is the co-director of The Solid Rock Road Christian Recovery program in Medford, Oregon and the co-author of the Christian recovery book "Follow The Solid Rock Road: Pathway to Radical Recovery." You can also find The Solid Rock Road on Twitter and Facebook.