"My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires. If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God's Spirit you say "No" to your desires." - Romans 8:12-13 CEV
Thoughts for Today
Problem behaviors and dependencies tend to progress in a person's life. We call this progression "The Trap" because it often ensnares its victims before they realize what's happening. Understanding the phases people usually pass through can help you better understand what might be happening to you or a loved one struggling with a problem.
The first phase is experimentation: We learn to experiment with the substance or behavior that makes us feel good, and we don't see any serious negative consequences. We learn to trust the substance or behavior to help us escape.
How do we enter this experimentation phase? Perhaps we encounter it at a needy time in our life and the behavior makes us feel better. Or friends introduce it to us and we just try it out to go along with the crowd. Or maybe it's something like food or spending or sports that is a part of normal life but reaches a point where it begins to control us.
Whatever the reason, it is so important to get our eyes back on God … to say "No" to anything that hinders us from giving him our best.
Consider this …
Are you at this point in your life? Just toying with a substance or behavior that deep down you know it is wrong, but it excites you and makes you feel good? Perhaps it's drugs … or pornography … or compulsive spending … or … It is so important that you make a decision right now to stop before you fall deeper into the trap. Seem too difficult? It might be impossible to do alone, but if you will turn to Jesus, he's waiting to help you. Don't wait. Talk to him now!
Jesus, I need your help. I feel myself more and more trapped by this problem. I know it's not a good thing and is drawing me away from my commitment to you. Please forgive me and help me to say "No." In Jesus' name …
These thoughts were drawn from …Insight Group: Discover the Path to Christian Character by Jimmy Ray Lee, D.Min. With its emphasis on developing Christian character it is a powerful group for those who want to be sure to prevent life-controlling problems from developing in their lives, as well as for those who need to overcome a current problem.
- It enhances people's understanding of themselves and others.
- It helps people bond together in meaningful relationships.
- It helps prepare people for more meaningful relationships in subsequent small groups like home groups and Sunday school classes.
- It surfaces people for help who may otherwise never seek help.
- It helps break down the segregation of people in churches, turning "those people" and "our kind of people" into just "us."
- It helps prepare people to minister to others.
- It serves as a powerful evangelistic tool by ministering to people's felt needs and then pointing them to Christ.
Note: This curriculum was written especially for small groups, and we encourage people to use it that way. However, it can also be used effectively as a personal study for individuals or couples.
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