Dwight Fletcher | Freedom from influence - Part I
Have you ever found yourself doing something that is harmful, painful, negative or unhealthy spiritually, emotionally, financially, mentally or relationally? You truly don't want to do this thing, but you keep doing it anyway. These habits that we cannot seem to break are called life-controlling habits and they can become extremely destructive. Some examples of life-controlling habits are anger, negative attitudes, unhealthy relationships, substance abuse, sex, or even overspending, and the list goes on. Though you may not feel like you can't change them, you can receive freedom from all these habits.
Do you want to be set free from life-controlling habits that you just can't seem to shake? Awesome! God wants to set you free. As Galatians 5:1 NIV says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free." Applying biblical truth and the power of Christ will set us free from strongholds that have us bound. But for that to happen we must understand our enemy and learn to apply the authority we have.
The enemy wants to keep you from experiencing God's best for your life. There are three great enemies that we have as Christians. The first is the world which has standards that are different from God's standards. The world is constantly enticing us to walk away from God's best and to seek approval and happiness apart from God.
The second enemy is Our Human Nature. When we become Christians, God gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us, but inside, there is a constant spiritual battle between pleasing God and pleasing ourselves. "The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other..." Galatians 5:17 NLT.
The world is pulling us out of God's will towards evil. Our sinful human nature is pushing us out of God's will towards evil, and then layer on top of this our third enemy, the Devil/Satan.
Satan is the most lethal enemy we have. He is a thief whose sole purpose is to steal, kill and destroy us. The Bible confirms his intent in John 10:10a NKJV "... The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." We may believe that if we don't trouble him he will not trouble us. However, we always have to, "... 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 NIV.
No Match for Our Saviour
Satan's constant occupation is our elimination. That is why we rejoice that we have Jesus. Jesus already defeated him. Satan is no match for our Saviour and neither are we. "You, my children, who belong to God have already defeated this spirit, because the one who lives in you is far stronger than the anti-Christ in the world." 1 John 4:4 Phillips Bible Version.
But, Satan is not all-powerful, he's not all-knowing, and he's not all-present, only God has those attributes. Some of the things that have us bound and hold us captive are not only spiritually orchestrated and manipulated, but are caused by our sinful nature.
Sometimes we believe that the only solution for these problems is to read the Bible more, pray more, and follow Jesus more closely. This may not bring change in some of our situations. While reading the Bible, praying, and following the teachings of Jesus, is excellent sometimes we need to be released from the bondage of spiritual oppression.
The Bible clearly declares two objectives of Jesus' earthly ministry. His mission was "to seek and to save that which was lost" Luke 19:10 ... and also to "...destroy the works of the devil" 1 John 3:8. Jesus came to set us free, He came to destroy the works of our enemy; but we can't get free if we don't recognise we are bound.
Jesus wants to liberate us from unhealthy habits, patterns of destructive behaviour, and cycles of defeat. He wants us delivered and set free. Christians underestimate the power, depth and breadth of the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us but scripture tells us "... be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Ephesians 6:10a NKJV. There is a power that we have access to that is greater than any satanic power. This power from God helps us to stand against any work of the enemies we face. We need this power to overcome the strongholds in our lives and get freedom.
By this power we are encouraged to "Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage." Galatians 5:1 NKJV.
Join us next week as we look at how to overcome challenges and walk in freedom.