what is underneath the addictions?

slides from today > Goliath 16 – Addiction (final)

Jesus’ desire is that you would have life to the full.  If there is any voice saying you’re not going to do it, you can’t accomplish it, things are never going to change – that voice, is not Jesus.  Be certain of that.

It is not God’s plan for you to live with a giant in your life demoralizing you and robbing God’s glory in your life.

Your freedom and God’s glory are intertwined.  These giants must go down.

Addictions – the big ones are there but all of us have some.  Alcohol.  Drugs.  Weed – illegal or not is not the question – is it something I must have to function?  Addicted to money – can’t get enough.  Sex/porn – and that voice that says, “you’re never going to be free of this.”  Stuff/toys – just go and buy something.  It takes my mind off what I don’t want to think about… “retail therapy”.  Accomplishments/awards/promotions – quickly we look to what accomplishment comes next.  Adrenaline – some of us are addicted to the rush.  Pain – some of us seek pain on purpose.  Other people – we’re addicted to hearing from them.

We are the most over-stimulated people in the history of mankind and bored at the same time.  We’re addicted to all manner of things.  We were created dependent on God for God.  We all have a dependent tendency.

The #1 addiction of all (I think) is the Approval of Others.  It really matters what other people think.  Instagram has a “like” box.  Post a picture and wait.  And wait.  You wait to see how many approvals you get.

If Instagram is where you’re getting your approval and it is your addiction … it will kill you.

What is it masking underneath that I don’t want to deal with?

Under the alcohol, drugs, materialism, money, accomplishments, sex, porn and approval of others there is usually something else.  And usually it is a person.  Someone in our world made us feel rejected, inflicted pain on us emotionally, psychologically, physically or relationally and made us feel inadequate, belittled, betrayed or abandoned.

Underneath all these drugs is a fear of failure – “I just can’t cope, and I need something to help me.”  Loneliness is under many of these addictions.  Focusing on why I am addicted to porn or to success or to the need for approval isn’t going to open the doors to break the addiction.  These addictions are symptoms of a deeper problem.  What you are running from is the deeper question.  Go to that root source.  The addictions you run to are medication for a deeper wound.  Healing comes when you face down the deeper wound and deal with it.

Unless I’m willing to look underneath the addictions and figure out what it is in my heart and face up to whatever it is, the giant of addiction is not going to fall in my life.

GO … TO … THE … PAIN.

McManus“Consider it pure joy, my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” James 1:2-4

You will face as many trials as there are colors in the spectrum.  It’d be boring to face the same issue over and over but many of you are.  You just keep repeating the same thing over and over.  You may not have figured this out yet, but you can’t escape a gauntlet you have to go through.  You cannot escape a trial you must go through.  If you keep running from it, you will just keep running back to it.

Advertisements

how much am I willing to give up?

“This is what the Lord says, ‘On the day that I cleanse you from your sins, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and waste places to be rebuilt.  The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by…”

Observation – when your life is apart from God and the addictions have control, those that “pass by” will clearly see the desolation.  A man that is addicted to booze or addicted to self or addicted to finding pleasure … all those around him … know it…

But God will cause those waste places to be rebuilt … “They (those that pass by) will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, ruined places are now fortified and inhabited.”

Observation – when a man truly changes, when he hits the bottom and realizes consuming life for his own gratification is destroying him and those around him, when surrenders control of his life totally to God, he will flourish like the garden of Eden.  From a smoldering pile of ruin that no one wants to be around to a lush, fragrant garden that others are drawn to…

“Then those around you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken it and will do it.”  Ezekiel 36:33-36

Observation – a man that surrenders authority of his life to the Lord and walks it out daily in utter dependence on God for his needs and not the things of this world, that man will amaze.  That man will shock those that had previously observed him.  That man will transform from a mess to a miracle and all those around him will see it and know that only God could have done this.  That man … will become a hugely powerful testimony of, “just look at what God has in my life.”

So maybe you’ve screwed your life up.  Maybe, it is a complete, royal mess.  Maybe you’ll never get back those that you lost.  But don’t you believe for a minute that God is done with you and that your life can never have meaning.  The bigger the mess, the bigger the miracle.  God can do a miraculous work in your life starting right now, right this very instant.

All you have to do is let go.  Let go of “me”.  Let go of getting my way, controlling my outcomes, managing my reputation, making all the money I possibly can, going day to day looking for the next hit of self-indulgence, letting go of the need for approval from others, letting go of getting even or proving I am right.

All you have to do is surrender your life – all of it, every nook and cranny – to God.  Initial salvation, sure, I’m talking about that but I sense this goes way beyond that.  I’m talking to the man that has “always” been a Christian – the going to church, being good, never cheat on my wife kind of man.  I’m saying there is more.  More to give up to God.  More closed doors open to him, more territory to give him.

I loved you enough to give it all for you.  How much will you give for me?  How much of your life are you willing to give up to Me?

image

To be candid …

Here are the slides from today > Goliath 15 – Addiction (3)

Do I truly love the Lord?  I mean … trulylove Him?  And how, exactly can one demonstrate his love for Jesus and the Father?

In this on-going discussion on our addictions, I think the above question is the one we need to be focusing on.  And, my friends, that question drives right at this one > “where am I giving the enemy an opening?”

Romans 8:5 gives us a glimpse of this battle – “Those who live according to their flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…” and as we’ve discussed with all these addictions, they begin to take on a life of their own.  I shift from being a partial consumer of these things to waking each day just looking for my next fix of self-satisfaction.  “What is going to entertain me today?”  Maybe it is pornography or taking a drink.  But maybe it’s setting out each day to find affirmation, attention, a place where I can be “right”, a place where I can be in control.  Maybe it is a new car or TV or a great hunting trip or the next luxury vacation.  Maybe it is moving towards my wife just to get my physical needs met.  Or maybe it’s just a really great meal.  Whatever the case, we can become very self-focused in our approach to life and the danger is, these addictions start small and quickly grow into all-consuming animals that destroy life.

addictions7.PNG

From the devotional New Morning Glories“If you love the gifts and not the Giver, your heart will never be satisfied, but if you love the Giver, your heart will be content and you will be able to enjoy His gifts while keeping them in their proper place.  Every human’s life is a quest to find something to love and a quest to be loved.  That means you’re always surrendering the affections of your heart to something.  Whatever commands the love of your heart also shapes the direction of your life.”

Love the Lord first and above all else … the direction of your life goes one way…

Or – Love self and always be on the lookout for the next thing that entertains or satiates your desires (life pretty much is about me and what I need) … and the direction of your life will go in a vastly different direction.

He continues… “The desire for good possessions is not wrong, but it must not rule your heart.  The hunger for comfort and ease is not ungodly in itself, but it must not rule your heart.  (remember the rich young ruler when he was asked to give up his money.  what ruled his heart?  God or his money?)  The desire for the love of another person is not wrong, but it must not rule your heart.  A desire for a good thing becomes a bad thing when that desire becomes a ruling thing.”

And this is the point … what is the Lord of your life?  Is it The Lord?  Or is it self?  How much of your life have you given to the Lord?  Maybe you accepted Jesus as your Savior but have you given Him your life?  All of it?  Does He have access to any part of your life?  The money, the reputation, the perfectionism, the indulgence in things, your sex life?

Man, I know this is tough and I may be sounding preachy but brothers, I am shouting this to myself as I write it.  Believe me!  I’ve been knocked off my high horse yet again.  

But here’s the thing I want you to hear.  Unlike the preachers of old who shouted down sinners, I want you to focus on the “more”.  Man, I have stumbled in these areas big time.  I’ve seen new things revealed to me and yes, if I focus on my failure, it can be a shaming thing but what I continuing to hear Father say to me is, Son, these things are limiting you.  I can only take you as far as you will let Me.  If you’re going to wall off parts of your life as being none of My business, then there are limits in what you will accomplish in the Kingdom.  There is so much more I have for you.” 

Men, everything needs to be on the table.  Like that song we play by Hillsong in manschool, “I surrender” … “here I am, down on my knees again, surrendering all.”

I think the Father is saying this to us…

addictions8.PNG

And I’ll leave this post today with this last picture.  Fire purifies.  It restores and makes the ground fertile for new growth but it isn’t a pleasant process.  We have some things growing in our forest that have gone crazy and taken control of parts of our lives if not all of it.  It’s time for a purifying fire.  We’ve got to be willing to be vulnerable and open the parts of our lives to God that are limiting us…

addictions9.PNG

More to come…

As frank a conversation as you’ll hear at church … next Wednesday’s Manschool

Join us next week at Manschool as we continue to unpack this study on Goliath Must Fall and this section on addiction.

We’re going to continue to push hard into this area.  We are not holding back.  You will hear from three of us as we share our struggles in this area.  It will be candid and frank and very real.  We won’t pull any punches.

There is such power in testimony.  As the listener, it is freeing to hear another man open up and share his heart and his struggles.  That frees you up to realize, “Hey, I’m not in this alone” … and there is power in that.  As other men bring their struggles into the light, it will help you consider doing the same.

I hear frequently from you how valuable Manschool is to you.  I’m frequently told, “I am hearing things here that I’ve never heard at church before.  I’m experiencing transparency and authenticity like I’ve never experienced with a bunch of church men.”  Amen!

What we have is truly quite special.  If you’re reading this and not coming to Manschool, all I can tell you is that you are missing out on something very unique and special.

Join us this coming Wednesday.  I think you will be glad you did.

controlled burns (addiction 4)

here are the slides from today … Goliath 14 – addiction (2)

We’ve been repeating this same question, “Lord, where am I weak?”  Today, we tweaked it to, “Lord, show me where I am giving the enemy an opening”.

And that’s the thing, these addictions we dance with are openings.  They are an invitation, an open door that your enemy will exploit.  Not “might” … but “will”.  He is crafty, he is cunning, he studies you, knows your weaknesses and he will exploit the openings you give him.  Make no mistake about this.  You’re playing with fire.  Literally.

If you have a family history of alcoholism, you’re playing with fire drinking on a regular basis.  If you know you have an issue with lust/temptation/other women, you are foolish to play around with pornography.  And let me say this for all of us, whether lust is an issue or not, pornography must be a “no go” area for all of us.  A man that says, “I don’t struggle with lust so I can take a peak at porn” is being foolish.  Maybe you didn’t have an issue but when you opened that door to take a peak, you invited the destroyer into your soul.

addictions6

My actions, my steps, my decisions in these areas … they are giving Satan dominion over my life.  Rather than giving God dominion over all my life, I am, instead, giving these areas over to my enemy.  I’m inviting him in and just asking for trouble.  He will gladly oblige my foolishness.

We’ve all done it.  Adam & Eve did it.  They gave the enemy dominion.  But that isn’t final.  As we’ve learned this entire series on Goliath Must Fall, Christ defeated Goliath. The Cross marked the turning point in the story, it marked the death of Satan.  His end is assured yet even though he is on his way to ultimate destruction, he is “dead but still quite deadly”.  He knows the end game.  He knows what Jesus did that resurrection day and so he is raging against humanity to strike as many blows at his ultimate enemy, God.

Scripture warns, “Don’t give the enemy a foothold”.  You have a territory God has entrusted to you.  Don’t invite the enemy in.  Don’t give him a seat at your table.  He’s a destroyer.  These addictions are very serious things – we don’t mean to make light of any of this.  If you struggle with pornography or lust or alcohol, that is real and powerful and it will be a battle to beat it.  But, it can be defeated.  Satan doesn’t have dominion over everything.  Jesus does.  Death holds no sting.  You can claim victory over the power of these addictions in Jesus name.  You can take back your territory, your Promised Land.  You can show the enemy the door and lock it behind him.  In Jesus’ name.

We talked this morning about controlled burns and how critical they are to maintain the health of a forest.  If left unchecked, small weeds in a forest become 30 foot tall briers.  Sweet gum trees pop up and multiply like rabbits.  A dense undergrowth grows.  If left unchecked, a non-managed forest becomes a disaster just waiting to happen.  The undergrowth grows, dead trees fall, the pines start to struggle and the forest is one lightning strike away from a devastating forest fire.  So, you manage the forest via regular “controlled burns”.  You burn out the undergrowth.  Get it out before it becomes a real problem.  Deal with it.  It’s messy.  It’s dirty.  It isn’t pleasant but there is reward on the other side = you get a healthier forest and bigger pines.  Growth comes after the burn.  (COME NEXT WEEK – we’re going to talk about that exact point)

controlled burn

You see the charred ground left behind from the fire.  But that’s healthy.  It promotes healthy growth and it is fuel for the future growth of the pines.

And so, the analogy for us is this … we’ve all got areas in our lives that are small problems today.  They are private things.  Things I believe I have under control.  Little things that “everyone does”“Healthy desires that all red-blooded men have”.  These are things we justify.  Things we rationalize.  And at their base stage, they are relatively harmless – or so they appear.  These things that we cordon off from God and don’t give him access to, they are areas of the forest untended and that’s where a real problem with devastating implications lurk.

Bill Gaddy gave a beautiful testimony to this exact thing this morning.  He had a private area of his life that started small and grew into a situation that erupted into a forest fire with collateral damage way beyond himself.  He begged us to not repeat his mistake – that if you have an area you struggle with, confess it, bring it out into the light, share it with other men you can trust.  Admit you have a problem.  Face it.  Deal with it now before it grows into a disaster.

These giants in our lives, they can go down.  They must fall.  They taunt us and tell us, “you’re never going to beat this, you’ll never be anything more than this addiction.”  That isn’t the case.  Goliath can go down.  You can’t take him down alone.  Only Jesus can but you’ve got to take the first step to surrender your life, give up these “private” areas, and give Jesus dominion over all your life – over your sex life, over your desires, over what you eat and drink and what you watch in entertainment.

Jesus wants to know how much of your life you’re willing to give Him.  He gave it ALL for you.  How much will you give Him?

addictions5

man the grills?

The church picnic is Sunday, April 29th at 4pm.  We need 5-8 men to help “man the grills”.  You’d start grilling about 3pm and the food line opens at 4:30.

If you’d like to help grill, please comment below.  THANKS!

Signs… (addiction 4)

Listen, I know this is hard stuff to hear.  It’s hard for me.  This morning, there was a fog over the room.  A malaise, heaviness.  Why is that?  Why is this so hard to hear, so hard to fight through, so hard to face?  Because you live in a world a war and you have two enemies fighting you on this.  Satan doesn’t want you dealing with your addictions and your flesh is going to fight you at every step along the way.  But Jesus is triumphant.  He walked out of the tomb and, as a believer, He is restoring you.

So why fight it?  Because these things limit you.  They limit all you can accomplish and all you can enjoy as a son of God.  He has so much more He wants for you but you’re going to have to give some things up.  Abraham was asked to give up his one and only son, Isaac – to sacrifice him on an alter.  Abraham was obedient to the end and did exactly what God asked of him.  God stopped him and a ram was offered up as a substitute for Isaac … but … Abraham was willing.  He was willing to give it all up.  And because of his obedience and his faith, God said this to him, “Because you have not withheld your only son, I will multiply your descendants as the stars of Heaven.”  (Gen 22)

There is nothing wrong with the beauty of Eve.  To delight and enjoy in the beauty of your wife, that’s a good thing.  A fine meal, a great hobby, the glorious beauty of nature, a sunset, time alone in the woods … all these things are good things.  Sex within the confines of a marriage, what a wonderful gift that is!  The things themselves are fine, it’s what we do with them that can be the problem.  We can easily take a good thing, distort it and make it “the thing”.   Stay with me on this…

I read this morning from Paul David Tripp’s excellent devotional “New Morning Mercies” … he gave an example of a family trip to Disney World and he wonders what it would be like to stop at the “Disney 120 miles” sign along the Interstate.  Would that suffice for the real thing?  He says we do this all the time …

“There is one thing that you know for sure – the sign is not the thing.  The sign was created to point you to the thing.  The sign cannot give you what the thing can deliver. The sign can only point you to where the thing can be found.  So it is with the physical glories of creation.  Here’s what you need to know – only two types of glory exist – sign glory and ultimate glory.  Sign glory is all the wondrous display of sights, sounds, colors, textures, tastes, smells and experiences of the physical world that God created.  These glories were not designed to satisfy your heart.  They were not made to give you contentment, peace, meaning and purpose.  They have no capacity to give you life.  Earth will never be your savior.  Rather, all of creation was designed to be one big sign that points you to the One of ultimate glory who alone has the power to give you life and to satisfy your heart.  God alone is able to give you life.  He alone is able to give rest to your searching heart.  He designed his world to point to him, not to replace him.  (read Psalm 19)

Where will you look for life today?  Will you live like the father having his vacation next to the “Disney 120 miles” sign along the highway or will you run to where the sign points?  It really is true that your heart will only be satisfied when it finds its satisfaction in Him.”

And to the point above about all these worldly pleasures we can enjoy, too many of us have turned to them for life.  I may not officially be an addict to booze – or – to sex – or – to lust – or – to the need for approval from others – or – to money/success – or – to control.  I may not be “addicted” to these but am I relying upon them?  Depending on them?  Are they (or others) what provides me relief from a long week at work?  Do I hit one or more of them from time to time when I need to draw upon something to sustain me?

We get into trouble when we shift our focus on these things and we start needing them as our life source.  We get into trouble if we find ourselves, more and more, needing to be entertained by these things.  As the pressure mounts, as the bills come, as the demands at work grow, as my family needs more and more of me … what am I drawing upon for “life”?  

I’ve asked you to ask yourself and the Father, “Where am I weak?”  Yes, do that.  But also, how about, “On what am I dependent?” and “What do I draw upon for life?”

I’ll just pause here and leave you with this one thought…

addictions4