"We are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead." - James 1:14-15 CEV
Thoughts for Today
When we choose to look to a substance, behavior, or relationship for help only God can provide, we have chosen to follow an idol—and we find ourselves dealing with a life-controlling problem. Life-controlling problems usually trap a person slowly and progress through a predictable pattern.
A person is often lured into experimenting with a dangerous substance, behavior, or relationship because it provides a feeling of exhilaration. We call this pattern "The Trap" because it often snares its victims before they realize what is happening. Dr. Jimmy Ray Lee, founder of Living Free, states, "Addiction is death on the installment plan. No one ever plans to be trapped by a life-controlling problem, yet it happens all the time."
Consider this …
Life-controlling problems usually progress in four stages: (1) experimentation, (2) social use or practice, (3) daily preoccupation, and (4) practicing just to feel normal. Not everyone progresses through all these stages; however, there is no way to predict which people who begin the pattern will continue to stage four. The best time to deal with a life-controlling problem is before it begins. We need to be honest with God and with ourselves. Is there an issue in your life that is tempting you and dragging you into a trap?
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
Father, search my heart. Help me see anything within me that is developing into a life-controlling problem. Forgive me, and help me turn from it. 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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