Years back I watched a very interesting animal documentary on lions. It showed them attacking a herd of elephants. When the elephants stuck together they defeated the lions. When they also surrounded their weak by forming a circle with their hind quarters in the middle and tusks out, they were also able to thwart the lion’s attack. When the weak or the strong were by themselves, however, they lost and ended up as dinner. The lions were now able to attack from all sides without an elephant to keep them at bay.
1 Peter 5:18 describes Satan as a roaring lion on the prowl hoping to frighten believers into taking their drugs of choice. Peter goes on to say that other believers are also being attacked. He says that to give us comfort and to let us know we’re not alone. Others have or are going through the same struggles as we do (1 Cor. 10:13). There are others who can pray for us during those struggles (see Eph. 6:18 – about a special weapon for fighting our enemy) so we can have victory.
The herd of elephants defeated their enemy when they stood firm and fought back as a unit. Believers have a lot to learn from the elephants. We too are stronger as unit when we stand firm in the truths of God’s Word as a team. The Bible promises victory when we do. Are the elephants smarter than we are? I certainly hope not as not only is victory on the line, but lives as well if we don’t.
Set Free Noww“W”
At New Hope yesterday many asked how I was doing. I kept saying, “I’m hanging in there” until finally when asked one more time I said, “You know, I’m not just hanging in there. I’m processing right now. I remember what my friend said in their final note. I’m filtering out the junk and focusing on what the Lord is teaching me through it.” The surprising thing was that this person told me that their father died in the same exact why my friend did. We were able to mutually encourage each other at that point. It felt good to be transparent.
The battle wasn’t over yet. This morning I was able to continue to process my friend’s passing with my Bible Impact Group. Afterwards, I went to the office and still felt like heading to my drug of choice when I picked up that 1,000 lb. phone and texted my other BIG partners asking them to pray for me. They did and I finally snapped out of it.
I’m doing much better thanks to those who are walking with me. There is a saying that goes something like this, “We can run faster alone, but we can walk further together.” There are times the Spirit will give us victory all by Himself. There are other times, however, the Spirit uses other believers to help us get the upper hand.
If only my friend would have processed what was going on in their head with me or some other believer who was in their life. If my friend did, they would still be around to share more victorious moments together. We need each other if we want to be victorious over our drugs of choice/enemy. I was told by my friend’s family that my friend just held things to themselves. One of the tools Jesus gives us for victory is other believers. This journey was never meant to be walked alone. We can hide and lose or be transparent and win. It’s your turn to pick up that phone or text back that you are praying.
Set Free Noww“W”
When we place our faith in what Jesus did for us – lived, died, buried, rose from grave – we become God’s children. Being God’s child was totally dependent upon what He did for us, not what we did, are doing, or will do for Him. He loved us when we were unlovable (Rom. 5:8), when we were complete and utter failures (Rom. 5:6), and when we didn’t love Him (1 Jn. 4:10). Will this all being true, is there anything we can do to make God stop loving us? Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
“In all these things we are more than conquerors (victory is given to us) through Him (not us!) who loved us (and when did this happen? Before we did anything right or loved Him at all!) For I am convinced that neither death (doesn’t say how it happens) nor life, neither angels or demons (those bad boys want us to think some crazy stuff) neither the present nor the future (about sums up all the time we have), nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation (what’s not included in the all, you? Not a chance!), will be able to separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 8:37-39)
As God’s children through what Jesus did, not us, we can never be separated from His love. Wow, we are that secure in Christ! My friend (see entire week’s thoughts), I know I’ll see you again. You are my brother. Because Jesus is alive, I know you are too. Yeah, I’m upset at what you did, but love never fails – Jesus’ for us, and mine for you.
“S”et Free Nowww
I love sitting on my patio looking out over my backyard. I keep thinking, “God, I’m so grateful You gave us this place.” It’s such a relaxing view. Until I see the weeds. Gotta love ‘em, don’t ya? No! I’ve got a few mushrooms by my apple tree and weeds in my crushed DG walkway. All this adds up to work for me. I have to get the little things done in order to keep on enjoying this wonderful view.
It’s the same with our thinking. If we want to enjoy a peace that can’t be described (Phil. 4:6-7), we must discipline ourselves to use our biblically-based truth filter to weed out the little thoughts so they don’t grow into major disappointments in our actions. King Solomon observed that a man who lacks self-control is like a city whose walls are broken down (Prov. 26:28). You’re defenseless, which leads to defeat and disappointment.
I’ve discovered that if I let my guard down in one area of my thinking, it opens up to defeat and disappointment in other areas of my life as well. If we want to keep on enjoying the view of a beautiful yard, we must pull the weeds out before they grow too tall and block our view. If you desire to have victory over your drugs of choice, you must discipline yourself to keep your filter on and through the Spirit’s power don’t let lie-based thoughts roll around in your head. Be self-controlled through the Spirit’s power to focus on the truth-based messages, and you’ll never experience disappointment because of your actions. I only wish my friend would have kept their filter on. They would be alive to enjoy the view with today.
Set “FREE” Nowww
I read many Christian formulas in my search to defeat my anger problem. I read about the following one in a Christian magazine. First, you need to change your environment by changing who you hang out with. You should hang around those who exhibit the behavior you want in your life. Second, you should check your behavior and then put a mark on your calendar each day you accomplished the “right” things, (i.e. focus on the behavior itself). Third, you should have a group of friends who will hold you accountable to doing the “right” things. In Christian circles both step two and step three can be handled in a small accountability group. Then as if he missed something, the writer threw in God’s grace and mercy in case you made mistakes along the way.
This is a recipe for defeat and disaster as it keeps you focused on the wrong person – you and your behavior. Folks, you’re the one who got you into the problem in the first place! How can you be the solution? The biblical process of change is found in the biblical principles Set Free Nowww, which include the previously mentioned tools. Without getting rid of the lies in our head, our enemy’s weapons (John 8:43-44; 2 Cor. 10: 3-6), that lead and keep us in bondage (if practicing the truth sets us free, then practicing lies enslave), however, we will never experience lasting victory and stay free. Romans 12:2 is very clear on this point. We must stop focusing on our behavior and start filtering out the lies in our heads, which is a crucial element for victory.
I only wish my friend would have practiced what we’d been talking about. In this person’s own words, they just couldn’t get the “stuff” out of their head. This “stuff”, the lies, mistakes and disappointments, led to their defeat. Keeping this struggle to themselves, also a lie, led to a disastrous choice. They were not alone!
In making you God’s child, the Father placed tremendous value upon you! Don’t cheapen what Jesus did! Live a Set Free life with Jesus Nowww!
“Set Free Nowww”