I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything for a little while. A sinus infection rocked my world for a couple weeks and has been unfortunately resilient. I’ve almost kicked it and after two weeks of no writing I’m ready to get back in the game.
This week’s post will be a little more casual and less organized because I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. I’m going to mix together some thoughts from my quiet time today with a reflection on a new program I started at church and see what comes out.
With the help of my church small group, I recently decided to start a 12 step program at our church called Regen. The program is for those with hurts, habits, and hangups in their lives. This sounds like everybody because in reality it is.
We all have something in our lives which sits somewhere beneath the surface and causes dysfunction. It might be small or large, but it’s there nonetheless. I held back from starting this program for a long time because I assumed my problems were too small.
I was wrong by the way.
Porn and codependency felt like the only big struggles in my life. Experiencing freedom from those problems through the power of Christ were two incredible victories. I felt I didn’t need anymore major victories in my life; that wasn’t the case.
Beneath both of those problems laid a web of past wounds and related sin problems. These problems are easier to ignore and explain away because they are more subtle. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous though.
These problems are self-righteousness, need for approval, and loneliness.
Those three don’t seem to hit with the same force as ‘addicted to pornography’ or ‘codependency’. They still cause plenty of trouble in my life because they lead me to believing lies and destructive behavior.
My self-righteousness causes me to look down on other people and think I’m better than them. This terrible lie gets in the way of loving those people the way I should. When God reminds me that I’m no better than any one of His children, my heart, relationships, and ministry all flourish.
My need for approval and my struggle with loneliness also bring problems into my daily life and my relationships. At the same time, these problems are awesome opportunities to deepen my relationship with God. Without these problems, I wouldn’t have the need to seek God’s help on a daily basis and grow closer to Him.
Labour to maintain a sense of thine entire dependence upon the Lord’s good will and pleasure for the continuance of they richest enjoyments. Never try to live on the old manna, nor seek to find help in Egypt. – Spurgeon
Spurgeon is referring to Exodus 16 when God sends manna, literally bread dropped from Heaven, down to the Israelites as they wander through the desert. In verse 20, some of the people keep the manna overnight, which God said not to do, and woke up the next day to manna filled with worms. They didn’t trust that God would continue to send manna and decided to hoard what was in front of them in case He didn’t come through the next day.
This stuck out to me because I felt this way as I signed up to begin Regen.
I knew God had delivered me from porn and codependency and acknowledged the impossible greatness of those freedoms. I still held back because I wasn’t sure if the difficulty of working through my current struggles was worth the even greater freedoms waiting for me. I wanted to just hold onto the provision God had given me and pass on trusting Him in the struggles of the new day.
It’s important to note that enjoying God’s deliverance is not a bad thing. If you read through the Old Testament, almost every book references God bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. Stephen brings it up as a major point in his defense of the faith in Acts 7.
God wants us to enjoy our deliverance and praise Him for it out of the overflow of our hearts. He also wants the deliverance to increase our trust in Him and cause us to seek deliverance from the other problems in our lives. Maybe these problems can’t be helped with filtering software, maybe they need a daily humbling and rigorous pursuit of God in order to experience freedom.
I look forward to working through the twelve steps because each one can help me lean in further to God. This closeness will lead to life I cannot now imagine. I look forward to experiencing it and telling you about it.
What has God delivered you from? Are there any hurts, habits, or hangups you could work on with God’s help? Do you think there is even more freedom, joy, and life yet to be found?by