Wilderness: Deliverance & Why We Can’t Do It on Our Own

In Part 1 of this mini-series, I asked the question, “Can Christians be “addicted” to sin?” and presented my conviction, based on the definition of addiction and freedom found for the believer in the scriptures, that Christians cannot be addicted.

 

There are two critical reasons why I believe this position is so important:

A. It removes the sinful desire to place blame on the enemy. Placing blame on other people as a result or excuse for our own sin is a direct consequence of the original sin observed in The Garden. Sinful humans like to incorrectly believe it is someone else’s fault that we sin. When we excuse ourselves and those around us by blaming other people, the sure way out is to blame the devil. After Adam blamed Eve for his sin, Eve’s response was to blame the serpent. How did God respond? God rightfully and justly punished Adam, Eve, and the serpent, for each of us has to deal with the consequences of our own sin before God.

B. Accepting this truth brings us to the point of ownership and confession of our sin. This is what God wants from us.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).”

Confession must be sincere and specific. Confession ends with the acknowledgement:

I can’t do this on my own and God, I need your help.

This brings me to the second point of discussion in this series:

The Powerful Work of the Holy Spirit

I won’t elaborate on this point too much because it may take eternity to fully understand this biblical truth, but I must acknowledge the truth here because it is a critical part of the deliverance process. There are two theological terms used when discussing salvation—justification and sanctification.

Justification is simply a matter of being “just” or “standing in a right position” before God. We take on this “just” position as a result of the work that Christ has done on the cross to cleanse us from unrighteousness. We cannot work to justify ourselves. Christ did the work, offered this life as a gift for our deliverance, and we have the choice to accept it.

Once we accept Christ’s gift, the Holy Spirit begins the work of sanctification in our minds and hearts. Sanctification is simply a process of making our character more like Jesus’ character. Romans 8:28-29 best covers this biblical principle.

Therefore, someone who was once an addict and unbeliever, can accept Christ and still have the same “addictive” desires and the responsibility is for the church to speak God’s truth, deliverance, hope, and victory into the life of that person.

Incorrect language: I know you are an alcoholic, therefore, [offer some insufficient approach to “do better”].

Correct language: I know that you were an alcoholic, but you are now a child of God and there is hope for you to live in victory over this idol—the desire you have to indulge in alcohol. This is a sin against God and improper for his holy people. God wants to completely deliver you from this sin. He will do it if you desire to submit to his will for your life in this area.      

The Apostle Paul provides an excellent model for this communication here: 1 Cor. 6:9-11. Addressing the sin in this manner humbles the new believer and teaches him or her about their need for God and the process of continuous confession and repentance. Properly addressing sin in this way, removes the deception that the devil is in control. “He made me do it.” This approach also causes the believer to take ownership of the sin and selfish desire in their heart. Read James 1:13-16.

There are many works of the Holy Spirit but I will only highlight a couple relevant works here. The Holy Spirit:

a.) Teaches us all things and reminds us of everything Jesus has taught in the Bible—John 14:26

b.) Gives us power to know what God desires, controls our mind, teaches us to submit to God’s requirements and how to please God, sanctifies us—makes us righteous by killing the sinful desires within us, helps us overcome our sinful nature and produce God-honoring fruit with our lives—Rom 8:5-11, 12-17 and Gal 5:10-25

After accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the next real step to deliverance from addiction is acknowledging that you need God’s help and cannot make it on your own. Trying harder to not sin will not cut it. Having a desire for God to change you, will. God is in the business of miraculously changing people and their hearts when they come to him for deliverance. Earnestly praying for the Holy Spirit to do this work in confidence is a bold first step!

Do we really believe that the Holy Spirit is all powerful to completely deliver? Do we believe the Apostle John’s writing, “You, dear children [that’s us], are from God and have overcome them [the spirits that are against Christ], because the one [Spirit of truth] who is in you is greater than the one [spirit against Christ] who is in the world (1 John 4:4)?”

© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012

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