"You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations." - (1 Corinthians 10:13 CEV)
Thoughts for Today
You may be struggling with a life-controlling problem. You are ashamed and embarrassed. Reluctant to ask for help. You don't want anyone to know. But today's Scripture makes it clear that you are not alone. All of us, at some time in our life, struggle with a life issue that can become a life-controlling problem. Something that blocks our spiritual growth in Christ. The Bible refers to these things as strongholds. (See 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV.)
A stronghold is an area of sin that has become part of our lifestyle. It may be a harmful habit (drugs, fornication, smoking), or it may be an attitude (rejection, loneliness, worry, doubt). We use a whole arsenal of rationalizations and speculations to support these habits or attitudes. But the knowledge on which these strongholds are based directly opposes God's truth. [Charles F. Stanley, Handle with Care. (Wheaton: Victor, 1988), 119.]
Some strongholds are known only to ourselves, while others are obvious to everyone around us. When we are trapped in life-controlling problems, we feel helpless. We want to change, but our failures discourage us. Some people quit trying and never grow beyond a certain point in their Christian journey.
Consider this …
As Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us, sin will try to entangle us and prevent us from progressing in the Christian life. We have to resist the influence of sin as long as we live in mortal bodies. To continue to grow in Christ requires that we always look to the Lord for his help and inspiration. And he promises us, if we do that, he will always show us the way out.
Freedom from our struggles is found only in Christ, and we come to know him and experience his love for us in the pages of his Word, the Bible. If you haven't already, consider forming a habit of spending time with him each day. Have a quiet time of Bible study and prayer. And be more aware of his presence throughout each day. "For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13 NLT).
Father, thank you for reminding me I am not the only one who experiences these struggles. And, even more important, that the answer is in Christ. Help me to refocus on you and your Word.
In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:
Part 1: Learning to Live Free
- Defining Life-Controlling Problems
- Mastered and Trapped by Issues
- Walls of Protection
- Family Influences
- Helping or Harming?
Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups
- The Small Group Strategy
- Effective Facilitation and Communication
Launching a Living Free Ministry
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