You have to realize just how this came out of nowhere. I was not watching anything on the television that could have brought this about. There was no discussion going on with anyone pertaining to it. I had not thought of it in detail lately ... I think of it daily though because it is a huge burden on my heart and had the potential to cause my life to turn in directions I did not desire to go. Out of the blue ... as if fallen from the sky ... the miracle showed up. To be honest, I am still trying to absorb all of this. I have to pinch myself to see if I am awake or am I dreaming. Yep, I am very much awake!!
Years ago ... and I have shared this before ... God gave me a vision. The vision was so joyous to my heart and filled with all sorts of promises from God. As time went on and I did not see the vision becoming a reality, I would get discouraged ... very disenheartened. I had only shared this vision in detail with one other person. During my difficult days, this individual would remind me of the vision. I would not want to hear about it during that precise moment because I, as we all do at times, wanted to remain on the pity pot. However, little by little ... I am talking true baby steps here ... God is putting the pieces together to make this vision become a reality. What occurred last night was probably the biggest part of all.
I have to share that I am still struggling a bit with the reality of it all. As I was outside this morning talking to God, I said, “God, it is as if I have this pot of joy in the pit of my gut that I want to remove the lid from. It would then enable me to shout for joy at the top of my lungs and just praise and worship You for your awesomeness. However, there is another part of me that is saying ‘cautious’ ... wait and see what the days ahead are like.” Isn’t that just like the devil? God gives you something so powerful, and then the ole devil fills you with fear and steals away your joy. Well, I refuse to allow that. God giving this to me is too big of a deal to allow any small part of it to be held back. I will rejoice and praise God for His awesomeness. I look back and see all the tiny pieces that God has been working together to make the vision become a reality. It is not complete yet, and some of the best is yet to come, but it gives me so much hope and faith. I find it hard to believe still that it will all come to pass, but again this is only myself allowing the devil to fill my mind with doubt. I will press forward fighting the good fight of faith!
This leads me to the addiction part of this article. Believe it or not, I have addictions. Yes, that is right ... this lady of God who loves the Lord wholeheartedly has addictions. Get real, People, you have addictions too! Do not deny it! They may be small addictions that you feel you can live with, or they may be big addictions you choose to deny, but we all have them. Our flesh wrestles everyday in some way whether you realize it or not.
How did I get from being joyous over what I received to discussing addictions? Simple really! Because of God’s awesomeness I just feel as if I need to do more to be like Him ... I need to do something to show Him how much I appreciate what He has and is doing in and through me ... I need to draw closer to Him and remove those things which may hinder my walk with Him. Do I need to be perfect? Absolutely not! I do not have the capability to be perfect and neither do you. Perfection is not something we will ever achieve in this lifetime so get off your high horse and join the real world ... His world ... which is the only world to be in!
Addictions come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Some struggle with BIG addictions ... some struggle with SMALL addictions. Right? WRONG! No addiction is bigger than the other. It is how we perceive them ... rate them ... justify them. I have rationalized in my mind for years about certain addictions so I could maintain them with a clear conscious. This is what we do. We justify our actions to fit our needs ... we rationalize until our addiction fits our lifestyle and we can turn a blind eye to it ... we need our approval of this addiction so we can continue to have it ... hold on to it ... not have to let it go.
Why do we do this? The answer is really simple ... we feel we need this addiction and to overcome it would be too much of a struggle. Personally, I do not have time for another struggle in my life. My plate is pretty full. The idea of taking on another challenge at this point is more than my finite mind can handle. Truth be told ... I simply do not have what it takes to overcome any addiction. The battle is too much for me! Praise God, my addiction ... or yours ... is not too much for Him! Hallejulah! Makes me want to jump up and dance!
Addictions are anything our flesh desires and we cannot go without ... food, shopping, tobacco, drugs, people, television, video games, work, alternative lifestyles, mismanagement of our finances, and the list goes on. Church can even be an addiction if it is taking more of your time than you dedicate to God and His design for your life. We wrestle with our flesh daily.
What are some of the sins in the Bible ... gluttony (food), lust (relationships - intense desire or need), greed (this covers a multitude of sins), laziness (abusing time God has blessed you with), wrath (anger), envy (desiring what others have), and last but not least, pride (this one is a book in and of itself)! All of these sins are much greater than I have made them out to be in your life but I have highlighted what sticks out to me at this time. Then of course we have the 10 commandments which truly brings the sawdust in your eye to plank mentality!
Are we born sinners? Absolutely! Is one sin bigger than another? This is where things get a bit sticky for some, but I believe the Bible teaches that one sin is no worse than another. In the eyes of man, of course, this is not the case. Some feel if you cheat on your wife and commit adultery it is not as bad as homosexuality. Others will tell you a lie is no where near as bad as murder. Really? Are we not justifying our lifestyles again to fit our needs?
This really hit home with me last night as I watched the movie “Reconciliation”. I was guilty of fitting sins in certain categories to fit my lifestyle. There you have it ... I too am very guilty of this! This movie made me realize that all sins originate in our flesh. It is the desire of the flesh that we battle daily. Our flesh desires food ... we eat. Our flesh desires chocolate though we are not allowed to eat it ... we eat. Our flesh desires another man’s wife ... we commit adultery. Our flesh desires an ulterior lifestyle outside of God’s design for us ... we do it. Our flesh desires to murder out of anger or for whatever reason ... we do it. Do I really need to go on? I think you get the picture.
OUR FLESH is our enemy and the devil uses the desires of our flesh daily to keep us in bondage to whatever it may be ... food, people, work, smoking, drugs, relationships and on and on and on. You say, “Well, I cannot help it. I was born this way?” We all say it ... I simply cannot overcome! Wrong again! God said we could and if He said it, then it is! Of course, if you do not believe in God, then you are on your own. Short of God’s favor ... God’s strength ... God’s mercy ... God’s love ... we can overcome NOTHING!!!!
Yes, some people are born with a bigger degree of fleshly desires than some, but let’s get this right ... WE ARE ALL BORN SINNERS!! Just because you are born a sinner does not mean you have to remain in that state. A small infant is born a cocaine addict because of the sins from the mother ... does that mean this child has to live a life of hell because of this addiction? No! However, it does mean this child may have a bigger struggle in life than some. The child’s desire of the flesh is not their fault, but they have a way out if they ‘choose’ to take it. They do not have to live this lifestyle unless they give in to the desires of their flesh.
The same is true of people that ‘choose’ an alternative lifestyle. I do believe they are born with this desire. They did not choose it ... they are no bigger a sinner than the rest of us ... their sin will no more cause them to burn in hell than yours will. No matter, however, it is still a sin and a desire of the flesh which needs to be battled daily in order to overcome. The person struggling with this desire, or any sinful desire of the flesh, has to ‘choose’ to love God more than the desire. It is a daily battle but one that can be rectified through Christ.
Ok, let's get the elephant out of the room! Some will say, "Well, is it fair that a person who lives an alternative lifestyle must live without love because of the sin of the flesh they were born with?" I do not have all the answers, but is it fair that a person has to live without love because their loved one was taken by the hands of another? No difference. I am sympathetic to everyone, and I do not pretend that I know how any one who lives an alternative lifestyle feels, any more than I know what it is like to lose a child. I do know life is unfair. Some of us have bigger battles than others. I wish I had all the answers but unfortunately you will have to wait to ask God. I can only share what He has given me to share.
Before you start sending me nasty little emails and calling me a hypocrite, again I say that one sin is no bigger than another. All sins start in the flesh ... reside in the flesh ... and are daily battles within us. I am not pinpointing one sin verses another. I love people who have committed all sorts of sins ... drugs, mental addictions, stealing, lying, alternative lifestyles, and on and on and on. Heck, I am guilty of quite a few of these sins myself and people choose to love me. Highlighting one sin from another is not what this is about. It is about the desires of our flesh and how it is the root of evil. Good news is that God loves us all and can help us overcome anything. Whether we want to overcome is an entirely different ball game and only you can answer that for yourself.
Does this mean we can continue to sin by giving in to the desires of our flesh? Absolutely not! However, each person is unique in their walk with God. Only He knows where people are in their daily struggles. I truly believe in my heart that no matter what the sin is ... if your heart belongs to God ... if you love God with all your heart, mind, and soul ... if you daily battle the sins in your life with the intent to overcome them ... if you desire to be more like Him on a minute-by-minute basis, then He hears you. People do not judge! If you see a person doing drugs, do not automatically assume they are going to hell. If you see a person living an alternative lifestyle, do not automatically say they are cast down. If you know someone who is committing adultery, pray for them instead of gossiping about them. You do not know the daily struggles they have ... you do not know if they have made progress in overcoming their lifestyle today moreso than yesterday ... you simply do not know what you do not know. Only God can judge and only God can truly see a person’s heart. Only God can know whether they desire Him and are fighting battles daily to be more like Him. Leave all of this to God and simply love! Love is our job so allow God to do His.
Back to me and my addictions ... yes, I have more than one, but I can only deal with one at a time. I want to clean house and start this fleshly battle which rages within me. It is no easy feat for me. I have had this sin for way too long to think I can just lay it down and walk away. I wish it worked as that, and yes there are times when God gives you instant healing and removes the desire. He has done exactly this for me in the past, but He is not doing it for me now. For whatever reason, I have to walk this path. Maybe He is trying to strengthen me for bigger battles ahead. I do not know, but I do know the battle will be a minute by minute battle. I need all of you praying for me daily. I am going to spend this weekend putting on my war gear ... Bible verses printed out on cards ... removing items which would only discourage me ... printing out a statement of encouragement so I can read it throughout my day ... praying ... seeking your prayers ... and fasting one day a week with my son. You do not go into battle unprepared. You either take it seriously and know you must prepare for constant attacks from the enemy or you lose before you ever start. I have fought this battle before and I have won it ... only to allow my guard down at some point and end up back where I was. Addictions do not just go away because we put them on a back burner for a short period of time. They are a lifelong battle and struggle. One in which we can never take lightly or take for granted. Thinking we have overcome and becoming prideful in our victory is exactly what the devil wants us to do. Then he can ever so cleverly ... little by little ... bit by bit ... get you entangled in the addiction all over and before you know it you are back where you started. BUT, if you put on your breastplate of armor daily ... God’s word ... then the battle is His and He will keep you out of harm’s way. I knew this all along. So, you say, why did you not continue to do it? Pride! Yep, there it is again. I thought I had it under control and I no longer needed to war against it. I was "too good" a person to have to continue in this battle. I was victorious and I no longer needed help. Heck, I went so far as to say I did not want to win again because I did not want to give it up. Do not be so foolhardy!
I will share with you daily my struggle so you can pray for me each day and know where I am at during this battle. If I do not write for a day or so, I am struggling really hard or I am on overload, but I will get back on the typewriter at some point. Please, feel free to comment ... to pray ... to share ... whatever! I need you!!! I am entering a war zone and I need my faithful prayer warriors along side of me. From the bottom of my heart, thank you in advance!