In Part 1 of the mini-series, we considered whether or not a Christian can be addicted. Part 2 outlined why we need the Holy Spirit and how he works to deliver people from sin. In this segment, we will look at what the Bible refers to as the heart or the will of a person.
Question: Is there a desire for transformation? A desire to change?
Sometimes people do not want deliverance. Sure, they may say they want it because it’s the “right thing to do” but when you really get down to it and start asking the hard questions we sometimes find that Christians enjoy wallowing in their sin. This is a heart issue.
I have observed too many unfortunate cases where friends and loved ones desire deliverance for an “addicted” person when that person has not desired deliverance for him or herself. This imbalance presents all kinds of difficult problems. Sometimes, we want to play the savior, enabler, and helper while the one we love continues to dig themselves into a bottomless pit.
On the other hand, I get pretty nervous when people nonchalantly say, “Well, sometimes you have to let them hit rock bottom.” I know rock bottom is death, for the wages of sin is death and for those who do not belong to Christ, there is no hope for them in the grave.
So what do we do?
Throughout the Bible, we observe what theologians refer to as a “holy tension” between God’s sovereignty [what God is in charge of and responsible to do in the world] and human agency [God’s desire to use humans to accomplish his good work on earth] or human responsibility [the way we respond to God will for our lives in a particular situation].
We must acknowledge that there is no biblical support for people to come to Jesus and remain as we are. We come to Jesus understanding the simple fact that we all need change.
Through Jesus, we have entered into a new covenant [binding agreement or contract] with God. As mentioned in the previous post, the Holy Spirit forever sustains God’s covenantal promise with us. Through it, God says:
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:33-34
The work of the Holy Spirit is to ensure we know God and maintain a relationship with him. What is our proper response to God’s covenantal promise? Faithfully respond with a “Yes.”
I love going back to my roots of small churches with wood floors and strong, Black “Church Mothers” standing in the pews with their hands raised crying out to God with a “Yes…Say, Yes.” That form of surrender often leads to shouting in the congregation.
That sounds a little too simple, but a large part of our spiritual growth and discipline is simply saying “Yes” to God by agreeing to the work he longs to do in us. “Yes” means we work with God, and not against him, in his process of sanctifying us. In other words, a newly delivered drug addict should not go to a crack house to hang with old friends. A newly converted sister should not go back and continue living with her boyfriend. But saying “Yes” to God is so much deeper than that.
If we want deliverance, we must study and know God’s Word.
Psalm 119:11 reads: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Heb 5:14 Solid food [analogy for God’s Word] is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.
God’s Word, the Bible, guards us from sin, makes us mature so we do not irresponsibly live as rebellious children, trains us to determine good from evil and live righteously before God, equips us for God’s good work, helps us endure, encourages us, and gives us hope. Amen!
The Word provides unlimited promises for God’s children on which we can confidently stand.
Finally, the Word informs us of other spiritual disciplines (good habits) like prayer which can enhance our chances of daily success. For example, concerning the spiritual discipline of fasting, Dr. Tony Evans wrote, “How badly do you want an answer? How much do you want deliverance from that destructive habit?…You may feel like giving up on a problem, but if you haven’t fasted over it yet, you haven’t done everything you can do.”
If you want true deliverance, get into God’s Word to know who you are in him, his promises for your life, his desire for your deliverance, and how to fight against those daily struggles and win. Everyday may be a fight, but you can have victory as God gives the grace needed to make it through today.
Will you say “Yes”?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012