Summary: All of us need to understand that temptation is universal. If you ever meet someone who is never tempted by anything there is only one conclusion you can draw about that person. They’re dead.
LIFE’S HEALING CHOICES
“Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
For the past seven weeks we have been looking at the hurts, habits and hang-ups that all of us deal with. In this process of RECOVERY we have walked through 6 choices we must make to see healing take place in these areas.
Realize I am not God. I am powerless
Earnestly believe that Go exists.
Choose to commit my life to Christ.
Openly examine and confess my faults.
Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make.
Evaluate all of my relationships. Offer forgiveness.
Reserve a daily time for God.
One of the things that seems to happen when we are dealing with our hurts, habits and hang-ups is that just when we think we have dealt with them completely things come back up. And if you don’t keep your guard up you can easily fall back into your old habits.
• The alcoholic starts drinking again
• The overeater puts the weight back on
• The gambler goes back to the casino
• The workaholic fills up his schedule again
It’s called a relapse and this is how we believe that it happens.
1st phase. We become complacent. Relapse seems to start when we get too comfortable. We are dealing with these hurts and habits—we’re making progress and then we stop working at it; we stop praying about it.
2nd phase. We become confused. We begin to say things like “maybe my problem really wasn’t all that bad; I think I can handle it all by myself. We forget how bad it used to be.
3rd phase. We compromise. We start going back to those places that got us in trouble in the first place. The bar. The mall. Those internet sites. The casino. We go back to that unsafe place….like the gambler who says this year when I go to Vegas I am only going to see the shows. I’m going to the bar with my friends but I’m just going to talk. We compromise.
4th phase. Catastrophe strikes. This is when we actually give in to that old hurt, habit or hang-up. The bitterness comes back; the resentment returns. And we refer to this as a relapse. But this is what we need to understand. Phase 4 is not the relapse. The relapse started in phase one.
The apostle Paul said this….be careful if you are thinking “Oh I would never behave like that”---let this be a warning to you. For you too may fall into sin. LB. The NLT says if you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.” Jesus said “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.
James the brother of Jesus gives a vivid picture of how this takes place. Listen. James 1:13-17.
I want to say before we dive into this passage of scripture that there is not a person here, including your pastor who does not have a hurt, habit or hang-up. All of us do. And as a result they can many times cause us to give in to temptation. Celebrate Recovery is a program that will help people in any of these areas: alcohol or drug addictions, eating disorders, compulsive shopping, sexual addiction, codependency, anger issues and also people who live with those who have any of these issues will benefit. CR is really an umbrella program under which a limitless number of issues can be dealt with. At Saddleback church in California they wrote and started this program 20 years ago. This is what they have seen:
• CR is a Biblical program
• It is based on the words of Jesus, not psychological theory
• Over 70% of those who attend have come from outside the church
• 85% of those who have gone through the program are now active members of the church
• 1 out of 3 deal with alcohol or drug addictions. 2 out of 3 have other issues.
Now a few things about temptation I want us to understand today.
1. All of us need to understand that temptation is universal. If you ever meet someone who is never tempted by anything there is only one conclusion you can draw about that person. They’re dead. From the time we enter this world we are in a battle with temptation.
2. Temptation is personal. There are things that tempt some of you that I couldn’t care less about. They just don’t bother me. And I am sure there are things that don’t bother you that are tempting to me. Satan knows how to craft a temptation that appeals specifically to each of us. And we often say I’ll just do this once or we say this won’t hurt and many times it ends up as an addiction.