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Summary: We all want to live life to the fullest, yet we seem to be held back. What cages us in? What locks us down? What fences us in? It is a fight to get out, but victory is possible!

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Lights Go Off

Video Intro

Music Intro, Spot Light follows me to front, Stage Lights come back up, round girl crosses stage

(Slide 1) Ultimate Cage Fighting

(Slide 2) Pt. 3 – The Cage of Addiction

I. Introduction

In Round 1, we dealt with the Cage of Fear. Last week, in Round 2, we discussed the Cage of Death. In Round 3 and in Round 4 we begin to discuss some of the greatest cages that trap people in modern times.

In cage fighting matches there are 3 ways to win a victory. The first is by knocking your opponent out. The second is to submit your opponent which is signified by the opponent tapping out. The third way is for judges to grant you the victory based on their scoring of each round. There are some specific areas that a judge watches to decide who wins the rounds. A judge uses the following criteria:

-Clean Strikes

-Effective Grappling

-Octagon Control

-Effective Aggressiveness

The one element of these criteria that I want to mention because it pertains to our topic today is Octagon Control. Octagon Control is exhibited when:

1. A striker who fends off a grappler’s takedown attempt to remain standing and effectively strike is octagon control.

2. A grappler who can takedown an effective standing striker to ground fight is octagon control.

3. The fighter on the ground who creates submission, mount or clean striking opportunities.

(Slide 3) 4. The fighter dictates the pace, place and position of the fight.

Isn’t that a pretty good picture of addiction? Addiction dictates the pace of our life, the place and position of our life!

It may seem weird or odd that I would address addiction in a church setting. We are supposed to be the free ones. We are supposed to be the chain free folks. However, I would suggest to you that addiction is running rampant everywhere! Even in the church!

Did you know that in the USA:

• (Slide 4a) 2 million compulsive gamblers

• (Slide 4b) 16 million with compulsive sexual behaviors

• (Slide 5a) 4 million binge eaters

• (Slide 5b) 1 out of 20 on drugs

• (Slide 6a) 1 out of 4 men addicted to tobacco

• (Slide 6b) 1 out of 6 women addicted to tobacco

• (Slide 7) 1 out of 14 abuse or are dependent on alcohol

• (Slide 8) 4 out of 5 people use caffeine and ½ of those 4 use it excessively

• (Slide 9) 1 out of 20 compulsively shop

The truth of the matter is that the cage of addiction is not limited by race, gender, social status or religion.

Some of the most addicted people in the world attend church on a regular basis. Addiction is defined as being unable to stop even when you want to even though you recognize the negative impact something has on your life.

I think Paul, in his discourse on the battle with sinful nature, in Romans 7:15-24 may have best described the Cage of Addiction:

(Slide 10-23) What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can’t be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God’s command is necessary. But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can’t keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don’t have what it takes. I can will it, but I can’t do it. I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time. It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question?

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