Summary: If we are to find our freedom in Christ, the first step is admit our need.
In this series: “Finding Our Freedom in Christ,” we're going to talk about how to overcome hurts that can overwhelm us, habits that can overtake us and hang-ups that can overshadow us. We live in a world full of hurting people. And hurt people hurt people. So, we're hurt by others; hurt others; and hurt ourselves. Which brings us to our text.
This series is designed to coincide with the launch of our "Celebrate Recovery" ministry. It's a series is for everybody, unless you've lived a perfect life. But if you haven't lived a perfect life, if you've ever been hurt, ever had a hang-up or a habit that you'd like to get rid of, you need to find the freedom available in Christ. The good news is whatever you need recovery from, the steps to recovery are the same. In this series we are going to use the word "recovery" to consider eight Biblical principles that lead to finding our freedom in Christ.
The "R" in "Recovery" stands for Realize.
I must realize I am a sinner by nature; and because of my inclination toward sin, I hurt myself and others. I must admit I am powerless to control my tendency to do wrong and my life is unmanageable.
Do you ever know the right thing to do but you don't do it? Do you ever know something is wrong but you do it anyway? Have you ever known you should be unselfish but you're selfish instead? Have you ever tried to control somebody or something and as a result found your life out of control? If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, welcome to the human race. We're all sinners in need of recovery.
1. The cause of our problem: our sin nature.
We get into trouble because of our tendency to go our own way rather than God's way. The Bible calls this tendency to go our own way rather than God's way, our sin nature. My sin nature gets me into all kinds of trouble. I do things that aren't good for me. I do them even when they're self-destructive. I don't do things that are good for me. I act in ways when I'm hurt that only increase my hurt; and then hurt others around me. I try to fix problems and often make them worse. Sin is the reason why the entire world is a mess, including my own private world.
"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." - Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)
A person without Christ has but one way to live: by the dictates of their sin nature. That's why Christ came, to make it possible for us to be delivered from sin's penalty - hell. He took our hell for us at Calvary, so we wouldn't have to. Now He calls as many as will receive Him to do so before He returns, so heaven rather than hell, will be their eternal home. One day He will return and make this world new by removing sin, Satan, and Satan's people. We'll be delivered from sin's presence. But until then, those who have trusted in Christ as our Savior must learn how to walk in the freedom from the power of sin in our lives.
As we said, sin is our going our own way, rather than God's way. It's our wanting to be God instead of letting God be God in our lives. People say "I don't want anybody telling me what's right and what's wrong. I want to call my own shots; make my own rules, be my own boss. I want to put myself at the center of the universe. I want to live my own way, I don't want anyone telling me what to do with my life." That's called playing God. And it says, "I want to control." And we try to play God by trying to control people, our problems and our pain.
A. We try to control what other people think of us. We play games, wear masks, pretend, we fake it, we want people to see certain sides of us and we hide other parts, and we deny our weaknesses and we deny our feelings: "I'm not angry; upset; worried; afraid."
B. We try to control how other people behave around us. Parents try to control kids; and kids, parents. Wives try to control husbands; and husbands, wives. We try to control others at work, school, and church. We use guilt, fear, praise, silence, or anger.
C. We try to control our problems. We say: "I can handle it, I'm O.K. Really, I'm fine. I don't need any help and I certainly don't need counseling." But the more we try to fix our problem, the worse it gets.