Summary: Direction and Encouragement for overcoming sin and addictions
"Where to Do When You’re Hopeless, Helpless and Haggard"
"Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching
the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness
among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people
brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering
severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the
paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the
Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed
him." Matthew 4:23-25
Jesus was just beginning His ministry. Before He began He went into the
wilderness to fast and pray for forty days. I imagine He went to seek
the Father’s direction and strength and blessing.
Why forty days? I’m not sure - but there’s something special about 40
days. The flood lasted forty days. The ten spies explored the Promised
Land for forty days; Moses went up on Mount Sinai for 40 days to get the
commandments of God. Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days before David
killed him. After the resurrection Jesus showed Himself to be alive for
40 days before He ascended into heaven. When there is a major change
needed in life - 40 days seems like a necessity. I don’t understand it.
I can’t explain it. But 40 days is important. 40 days of prayer; 40
days of Scripture study; 40 days of rehab. I think there is something
Spiritual about 40 days. If you need a major change in your life -
commit to doing something about it for 40 days.
Well, at the conclusion of those forty days of intense prayer and
intimacy with God the Father, Satan came sneaking in at Jesus’ weakest
time. Physically, He had to be very hungry. Emotionally, He must have
been drained. Satan thought he saw a chink in the armor - and he went
for it. Isn’t that just like Satan? He hits us where it hurts the most.
He strikes when we are weakest. He kicks us when we are down. Jesus
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy." John 10:10
We need to learn that about our enemy. He is out to destroy us.
Peter warns us,
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a
roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
Peter should know. Remember what happened to him? He vowed that he
would die before he deserted Jesus. But that night he denied he even
knew Jesus, not once. Not twice. But three times. Ever have good
intentions like that - only to fail? You swore you would stop drinking
or taking drugs or seeing that other person or looking at porn or
cursing- but before you knew what happened - you were right back at it.
The very thing you hated so much - had you again.
Listen to how determined Peter was.
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have
prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have
turned back, strengthen your brothers." But he replied, "Lord, I am
ready to go with you to prison and to death." Jesus answered, "I tell
you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times
that you know me." Matthew 22:31-34
Peter swore he would go to prison or even die for Jesus. Good intentions
are not enough are they? Our flesh is so powerful. Our own desires and
needs and urges are sometimes our worst enemy. The Bible says,
"For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the
Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with
each other, so that you are able to do what you want." Gal 5:17
Do you know what Paul is talking about? In your spirit, have you ever
really wanted to live a certain way; stop a certain thing; do something
different in your life - only to be sabotaged by your own flesh? You are
not alone. We all struggle with that - or have at some time in our
lives. You don’t know what that one who seems so perfect is struggling
with. You don’t know what that one who seems so mature has overcome in
his life. We are all pretty much in the same boat. The Bible says,
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all." 1
You are no worse than anyone else. You may not be as experienced or as
mature or as educated in the school of hard knocks - but you can be sure
that everyone has gone through something like you are going through or
they WILL go through something like your trial eventually. So don’t beat