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Living Free - December 22, 2011

  • 2011 Dec 22
  • COMMENTS

 

The Trap: Stages 1 and 2

Today's Scripture
"We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 NLT

Thoughts for Today
Life-controlling problems usually progress in four stages: (1) experimentation, (2) social use or practice, (3) daily preoccupation, and (4) practicing just to feel normal.

Experimentation: We learn that the substance or behavior makes us feel good. We don't notice serious negative consequences. Return to normal feelings soon follows isolated indulgences.

Social phase: We practice the behavior regularly but set limits for ourselves about when, where, or how we do it. The rules make us feel safe and appropriate, but we are trusting in the behavior or substance for our needs, not in God. Normal feelings are punctuated with more frequent uses, and we seek friends who also indulge.

Consider this …
During the experimentation stage, we will usually rationalize our behavior. We might give excuses like peer pressure, thrill-seeking, curiosity, or a need to relax. As we enter the social phase, we may tell ourselves we want to be with new friends who don't judge our actions. Or we need something to do on weekends or just want to have fun.

But all the time we are falling into "The Trap." Today's scripture refers to "strongholds of human reasoning" and "false arguments." It also says to use God's weapons, not our own, to overcome. When we feel ourselves being entrapped, we must make a choice. The only way we can be free is to recognize our need for God and to ask for his help.

Prayer
Lord, I've been making excuses for what I am doing, but deep down I know it's wrong. Please forgive me. I need your help. In Jesus' name . . .

These thoughts were drawn from …

Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:

Part 1: Learning to Live Free

  • Defining Life-Controlling Problems
  • Mastered and Trapped by Issues
  • Walls of Protection
  • Family Influences
  • Helping or Harming?

Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups

  • The Small Group Strategy
  • Effective Facilitation and Communication
  • Launching a Living Free Ministry

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