In twenty-seven years of ministry Cheryl and I have seen a lot. We have counseled with thousands of people in all types of situations including substance abuse, depression, suicide, marriage difficulties, financial challenges, and everything in between. We have seen people set free from bondages and addictions through many types of ministry including prayer, deliverance, instantaneous miracles, laying on of hands, inner healing, twelve step programs, and many other methods and processes. This article will deal with none of those type ministries but will outline what we have learned to be the single most powerful answer to every type of sin and bondage. We have found over the years that God’s most powerful tools are very simple. They are so simple that we tend to miss them or discount them, thinking that the answer to our particular situation must be more complex and complicated.
We have a ministry friend that was once a motorcycle gang member and was the baddest of the bad. He was mean and was hooked on everything imaginable. When he met Jesus he was radically saved and his life began to change. Some of the addictions in his life fell away immediately and some took a little longer, which included smoking cigarettes. He really wanted to quit but couldn’t seem to break this particular habit. One of his Pastor friends suggested that he get a blank business card and write on it “Could I see Jesus doing this?” and place it in his shirt pocket where he kept his cigarettes. Our friend said that was one aggravating card. Every time he pulled his cigarettes out to light up that card would fall out of his pocket. He said he tried to throw it away one time and it stuck to his finger. He eventually quit smoking because he said it did not matter how hard he tried he could never envision Jesus smoking a cigarette.
What was the secret and power behind our friend’s victory? Was it his persistence? Was it the card? What exactly was the secret? Do you remember what Jesus said when he was asked in Matthew 22:36-38 what was the greatest commandment? He said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment “. Our friend’s victory was brought about simply by his tremendous love of God. He loved God so much that he did not want to do anything that he could not see Jesus doing. Do you remember when Jesus said he did not do anything that he did not see the Father doing and did not say anything unless he heard the Father saying it (John 8:26-29). It is that type of love that breaks bondages and moves mountains. It is that type of love that creates a powerful protective shield around us so that the temptations of the world just fall off or bounce off. You might say it acts as a vaccination against the disease of stupid, which we are all subject to be infected by.
We have counseled with so many people over the years that say they love God but at the same time they are involved in all types of sin. These two things are not compatible!!! If we say we love God, and are in the midst of an adulterous affair, we are liars. If we say we love God, and are hooked on pornography, we are liars. We have somehow been deceived into believing that we can separate the love of God from our actions. The love of God and our actions are not disconnected ! Our actions reflect to what extent we love God. The more we love God then the more we do not want to bring him into bars, crack houses, porn websites, adulterous relationships, and other personal areas of sin. We need to examine ourselves, and our actions, to see if we really do love God or do we just love ourselves and are concerned solely with our own fleshly feelings and emotions. The following are just a few questions that may help in this evaluation process:
Do you love God enough to:
1. Say no to your spouse.
2. Say goodbye to longtime close friends.
3. Go to a different church than your relatives.
4. Flee fornication (including porn) and witchcraft (including drugs).
What happens when your spouse or a friend ask you to do something or go somewhere that you know would not be pleasing to God? Do you go along anyway just to keep the peace or do you establish a firm boundary? Are you willing to give up lifetime friendships with people that are not living for God, and are bad influences on you and your family, to have a closer relationship with God? Are you willing to walk away from the traditions of your relatives (which may or may not be good) to find out where God would have you and your family worship? Is your worship and love of God more important than your worship and love of your ancestors? Are you willing to flee pornography and drugs? Did you know that the root Greek word used in the Bible for fornication is “porneia”? This is where we derive our English word pornography (1 Corinthians 6:18). Did you also know that the Greek word for witchcraft is “pharmakeia”? This is where we derive our English word pharmacy (Galatians 5:20).
The original sin in Genesis by Adam & Eve, that got us into this mess to start with, is an excellent example of how dangerous misplaced love can be. Adam had been commanded by God in Genesis 2:16-17 not to partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil but in Genesis 3:6 Adam went along with Eve in partaking of this very tree. Why do you think that was? This is what I think. I think Adam loved Eve so much that he was willing to do whatever she wanted just to make her happy. I think he loved Eve more than he loved God. He probably would not have admitted that or even thought that but his actions shouted it. Your love for your spouse should never exceed your love for God!
Jesus said in John 14:23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him“. Our emphasis for years in the church has been on “keeping my words” when the real power is in “loving God”. If you really love God with all your heart, soul, and mind (might) (Deuteronomy 6:5) you will not want to participate in the sins of the flesh and keeping God’s Word and His commandments will not be grievous or hard. Your heart will be protected from fear (Isaiah 35:4), your emotions will not rule you, and your mind will be at peace (Isaiah 26:3).
We encourage you to spend quality time with God. Spend time in His Word. Spend time in prayer. Spend time worshipping Him at home, as well as at church. Spend time doing the Word and not merely hearing the Word. Be a follower and not just an observer.
The more time you spend with Him, the more you will get to know Him, and the more you know Him, the more you will love Him.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also“.
(1 John 4:18-21, KJV)
“But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love“.
(1 Corinthians 13:13, NAS)
We hope this “Nugget” has blessed you. Thank you for your prayers and financial support of New Life Network.
In His Service,
Rev. Ed & Cheryl Henderson
New Life Network, Inc.