SOURCE: Adapted from an article by Karl Benzio/Lighthouse Network/Stepping Stones
When we are dealing with a life-interfering problem … whether it is a behavior, thought pattern, or feeling … we may begin to think, “What’s the use? I’ll never overcome this. I’ve tried a number of times, and failed … again and again. I just don’t have what it takes to get things right.” Or “After all this effort to do something about my issues, I haven’t made any progress.”
Two common explanations I hear when patients come into my office for a psychiatric evaluation are, “You know doc, I’ve tried to change so many times, but I guess this is the way God made me and I am stuck like this,” or “This is the way I was born and there is no escaping it.”
Here’s the Bad News. Do you know what? All these statements are true to some extent.
We probably don’t have what it takes. Step 1 of AA got it right: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol (you insert whatever habit or life-interfering pattern you struggle with) — that our lives had become unmanageable. Then follows Step 2: We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Now the Good News! We know this Power.
The real Big Book (This is what the AA Book is called), The Holy Bible, promises us that we can do all things … through Christ who strengthens us. If we are willing to commit our lives to Him, He will give us the wisdom, strength, and most of all, the courage we need to do what is right. He will guide us on the right path. And we are rarely alone as He often sends other people to us, to help in these various areas of support, along the way.
But growth doesn’t just happen overnight and growth never happens randomly. Satan has a strategy to defeat us. So, in order to experience growth, we need a strategy to defend ourselves and fight back. This is what we call the sanctification process … our spiritual journey. Putting on the Armor of God. What strategy do you usually tap into each day? How intentional are you at implementing your plan throughout the day? How is your strategy working?
To receive this power from Christ, we need a strategy. First, we need to admit that we need help. Knowing we are in trouble and admitting we will accept help are two different things. Many see they are struggling, but few are willing to relinquish control to someone else. We need to be honest with ourselves, with Him, and with others. We need to take off the mask of self-sufficiency and get real. We must quit using our own instruction manuals and start using His for all of life’s situations. We must start seeing life through the Godly lenses of His Holy Bible. That’s what transformed my life, and it can certainly transform yours.
Today, if you’re dealing with a problem that seems hopeless … take the first step. Admit you need help. Then, ask God for His plan. Ask him for strength through Christ. Admit to safe and caring people that you need help. Whether you apply the Bible (Best Instruction Book for Living Everyday) to develop your daily strategy or you use the instruction manual you are making up on the fly is your decision, so choose well.
Dear Father God, I’ve been trying everything I know to overcome my problem with short spurts and shortcuts, but nothing seems to work for the long run. I need … and desire Your strength and guidance. Help me to be honest about my need for help by sharing with those You send to help me. Help me remember that I can succeed … through Christ. Next I need to know how to apply that. Help me learn to apply Your word to my life, minute by minute, instead of using my own understanding. I pray this and all prayers through the One whom You sent to compensate for all my shortcomings, Jesus Christ; AMEN!
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:5-8