Tag Archives: making or breaking a habit

Deliverance from sin

The problem often isn’t the one sin as such… it is our relation to sin.

The Bible informs us that there is no big and small sin – there only is sin. Sometimes our focus has been shifted to believe that one sin is greater than another. Likewise a dangerous shift in focus occurs when we start being disgusted only by some sins and not by others.

For many of us Christians (and I include myself) the time has come to pray and open our hearts completely… to be again convicted of the gravity of sin and the mercy of forgiveness. So that iniquity, (no matter whether it is lies or sexual sin) again disgusts us in the way it disgusts God, so that we turn from it and sin no more (for we are ALL sinners)…ALSO, I pray that we start LOVING the sinner with all our heart… and do not judge the person …but hate the sin.

No matter which sin. Sin is sin and it will be punished by death the Bible says. Knowingly remaining in sin or maintaining a sinful lifestyle is open rebellion against God.

However know the good news: JESUS died for the forgiveness of ALL our sins, so that we may stand before God without blemish! When we come to Jesus and repent (make a 180degree turn away from it) and ask for forgiveness, He WILL readily and gladly forgive us.

As for today I would like to speak of one sin amongst many: homosexual relationships.

All I ask is read… and allow God.

I will not tell you what the Word of God says this time… not in respect to sin – for you know it already as you feel it is wrong and you feel convicted. Should you have any questions in regard to that though, please feel free to ask. Let me tell you a bit about my relationship that was that way:

I loved her… I had some months before I got to know her, left my congregation for the sake of another woman… I struggled my but off to leave the congregation but my desire was stronger than my faith. Now 4 months later, I was in love with her. She was not one of those ladies that looked lesbian from afar… she was however what I longed for… she had great humour, seemed self secure, yet was vulnerable and no afraid to show it at times… we talked with open hearts when we did… and we both trembled when we first kissed, knowing this was more. To make a long story short… she was all I up to then had ever dreamed of. I loved her… and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

At some stage in my relationship, I started to pray. It had been a long while since I had prayed… and I hadn’t opened my Bible in ages it felt. But I started to pray because –strange as it might sound – I wanted to ask her to marry me.  God is gracious and He used that situation to reach out for me yet again:  I had a dream… and in that dream I found a treasure chest… like in the movies… with a great lock in front of it… and in my hand I held the key. On the key it said: “Jeremiah 2:19”. I put the key into the lock and wanted to turn it. In that instant I awoke. The dream still is vivid in me today as I recalled it then. But when I awoke, I did not know what the scripture contained…nor did I care to look it up till late that day in the afternoon (this was in November 2006). When I did, I actually flung the Bible into the corner of my room… such shock did I get. I later checked and found out, I had never before in my life read Jeremiah – which added to the uproar and unravelling I felt inside.

I prayed over the scripture for about a week… but didn’t get any answers. My life seemed perfect – so did my relationship. However even though I had long forgotten about the scripture, my life in general seemed to change. I cannot describe it really… but I remember my friends at university got worried – they thought I was depressed. I knew I wasn’t. I had been depressed before in my life… and this was something completely different – I was dying… from inside out… and it was spiritual. But how could they understand? I didn’t even want to know about it myself. It was December that year that I started to read my Bible again… away from all distractions and to talk to God earnestly. And it was in early January that I ended up in my old church… and came to a point in life where I knew: “I don’t WANT to live without her, but I CANNOT live without God. And to have both is impossible.” And these were truths that were echoed in my spirit and soul so loud I could not deny them any longer.

So after 3 days and nights without sleep…struggling with God about the decision that was upcoming… I called my friends in the middle of the night. Friends from university… telling them what was up and that I couldn’t help but follow God’s call and terminate my relationship to my girlfriend. They had seen me the weeks preceding and admitted that though they couldn’t understand my decision, they supported me fully.

I was ready to fight. And I did. Later that morning after relentless fighting alone with God and my soul, I asked the pastor to assist me in the final step of my choice. His wife, he and I went into a quiet room… they asked me to repeat after them a prayer of salvation. However they included the sentence: “I renounce the spirit of homosexuality.” It took three attempts until I was PHYSICALLY able to say those words into the spiritual realm… but when I did, the spirit left and I was set free.

I will not lie to you… it was only the beginning of the battle. I still had to go home, call my girl friend, split up with her, clean my house spiritually (i.e. I tossed everything that did not honour God into big plastic bags and into the trash it went!) and continue a battle against my body. I split up…and I have never heard or established contact with her again. I threw away music, videos, photos, clothing, jewellery, and friendships that were connected with that life style. I wouldn’t have been able to make the transition otherwise. I mourned my relationship for quite a while as I had loved. And I knew there would be no easy way. But I had come to the conclusion that I loved God more… and that no matter if my feelings would ever change from being homosexual, I would live a sanctified lifestyle and live it to honour God and in complete obedience to God.

I entered a process of filling my spirit and nourishing my spirit again with the Word of God, reading the Bible… going to church, praying regularly with prayer partners who knew the whole story and meeting once a week with an evangelist that worked through deliverance with me. It took 10 months… but then things had changed. I had decided to renounce the lifestyle, no matter if God would change how I feel about women. But HE delivered me completely. I have never since seen in a woman what I have seen in women so many years of my life. I do not feel that kind of love any longer for women… and never have since. Instead I feel that kind of love for men.

What once was, is part of who I had been… it serves as a testimony today, to reach others with the love of God… but does not determine who I am in Christ, for I am a new creation and was fully restored.”

That is my story. Perhaps it will encourage you to share what at this stage you are afraid to share … I have come to know my weak spots spiritually. There are days when I cannot watch movies others take as ‘normal’ … there are books I cannot read at times. I have learned to respond to the Holy Spirit immediately, because if I do not… I trip and fall into sin. So I try to be sensitive to the Spirit at all times… respond as vigorously and immediately as I can fathom and stay as far away from sin as possible. Today I do no longer struggle to maintain friendships even with people who feel they are homosexual. God has given me a powerful testimony and has blessed me with the ability to share it without condemnation.

You have to choose. No one can take that from you. And the choice isn’t an easy one – but the struggle and fight is worth it and you do not stand alone… an army of angels will be right there by your side…and Jesus with them.

I have tried to show what I believe is a problem with many Christians… the fact that we judge too quickly and that we are no longer disgusted by sin itself. We have started to choose which sin may disgust us – but God doesn’t make that distinction… and God loves the sinner and made a way for every one through Jesus Christ.

Likewise I have opened my past, for you to gather a glimpse to see and be a witness that I speak out of love… not condemnation.

I cannot and I will not choose for you. I will pray for you. I will not bible-bash you to decide the one or other way. I have said what I was led to say… and will not pressure you with it. You know my heart and my story now. It might not be yours… for all I know yours might be completely of a different nature… but I pray you will be able to transfer of it what you need to hear.

I am your friend…and I will stay your friend. And I refuse to judge.

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Hurting to show them you are hurting

I have met many people who inflict injury to themselves … I myself have done it years ago… but why? I have met many people who ask ‘why’ and do not understand. In this article I will not deal with the psychological side of things, as there are others that will do much better on it, but I’d like to look partially at the spiritual side of it.

Have you ever been angry enough to feel like hitting the wall or a door? Have you ever been faced with actions of stupidity that almost hurt? Have you ever wished you could turn an emotional hurt into a physical, because that would be more bearable? Have you ever visited a doctor, physiotherapist, biokineticist … just once more than necessary, just because the attention felt good? Or as a child, have you ever hurt your arm…and it did hurt… but a bandage or sling wouldn’t have been necessary for you – but somehow it felt good?

Well… that is basically the same thing… it comes of the same origin. Though most self inflicted injury has an addictive potential and is much worse, the idea… the need behind it is the same.

It is attention seeking. When hurting emotionally, we feel the need to be noticed… the need for someone to notice our hurting inside. Most people would go and consult a friend (up to the point of throwing a pity party) or talk to a partner. Sadly not everyone has someone in their lives that will understand…so they turn to other means, for their need is real and it feels like it is slowly killing them. For even if a doctor won’t attest their hurting emotionally in most cases, at least he will acknowledge and listen. For even if a wound, self – inflicted, isn’t pretty … it will cause people to ask and be interested in how YOU feel.

But what does God say about it? What is HIS answer to this situation?  In the Old Testament, the Bible tells us of cults in which people cut themselves as part of their cult rituals. And it states clearly that God despises this behaviour. Other Bible verses confirm that a person may hurt but still smile as to hide their true feelings and that people cut themselves during a time of mourning.

But perhaps the question isn’t so much why God despises it (for most people would rather stop it sooner than later, if they found their need met and the addiction to fade), but rather, what does God offer to prevent, heal and stop it.

God never wanted you to feel alone in such a way that your only way out is to be noticed by people using all and any means! He loves you! He had His son, Jesus Christ suffer on your behalf to give you healing – even of this! He promises to be with you even in your darkest moments of despair!

Consult in HIM. Turn to Him with your need. Draw near to Him. Call out to Him… for He will hear you and answer you and He alone can heal your heart and fill it with His unconditional love and peace and joy.

Many people inflicting injury to themselves have been doing so for very long. If that is you, I advise you to seek professional help (there are Christian counsellors and Christian psychologists, who will help you from both: medical and spiritual side). But trust in GOD… He is the answer and the source of healing! It may require you to break away from friends with the same habit and problem… it might require you more will power than you expected… but there IS deliverance and healing.

May God be with you on this path! Be it understanding and praying for those that are affected or being affected yourself.  May HE guide you and bless you! Remember, the answer lies in Jesus! 

 

 

40 days: wisdom on making and breaking habits

Jesus fasted 40 days… praying and being tested by the devil… in the desert, before He started His ministry.

40 hours after being buried His grave was opened and after His resurrection He spent 40 days amongst His people.

Moses spent 40 years in the Desert to be prepared by God to lead the Israelites from captivity to the Promised Land.

Then Moses spent 40 days on the mount Horeb to get the Ten Commandments from God.

It rained 40 days and nights during Noah’s flood.

To just name a few.

So what is it with this opportunity given?

I do not think it is the amount of days we spent… but the intimacy we have with God that determines many things. However 40 days does something for you.

This will be interesting to you, even if you are NOT Christian, so go on reading.

Existing of Body, Soul and Spirit, I believe fasting and praying… but primarily spending quality time with God changes your life.

Teaching physical education at a school and having fasted a couple of times for the named length of time I have noticed the following.

No matter in which area (body, soul or spirit) of life, you can break and make a habit within that time span.

Here some examples

FOOD:

Say you have the habit of eating junk food and only little physical activity, thus picking up weight. You want to loose that habit. So here you go: Make it a 40 day thing.

It will take you (that is to my own experience) round about 2-3 weeks (14-20 days) until your body doesn’t crave for such food every other minute. Your moods will be a challenge to all of the people around you, but to you just as well.

Given the fact that you want to break the habit, you might wanna try a health balanced diet. All self cooked food, sweets only a little bit and only for dessert. Also you wanna take a lengthy walk a day… be it in the park or on the beach or where ever you live.

These first few weeks are no fun. They feel like torture at times but they are worth it. After these 2-3 weeks, your body will have gotten used to not having the stuff it likes all the time. It will also have gotten used to the taste of healthy food – perhaps not liking it that much yet, but getting used to it.

However it will probably take the rest of the 40 days, till your body will actually ask for the extra activity and the healthy nutrition instead of the junk food and will not like the taste of the old stuff any longer.

Once you have gotten this far… it is your choice. Decide to extend the time period for another 40 days…and another …and another until it becomes a habit, or go back to where you were. But remember…you have a choice.

The same as above goes for physical activity, sleep (which requires sleep hygiene) and many more.

TV or INTERNET:

Same goes here. Try fasting from it for 40 days. You will hate the first two of three weeks.

You might say…I need the internet for work. But to be honest…most people only need it to retrieve emails, and that can be done via Outlook and similar programs and can be limited to 3 times a day.

But once you are over the worst stretch, you will actually discover, you have time to do other things you really cherish.

More important than with food still, is that these media have addictive tendencies… meaning you fall back into the habit easily. So keep away from temptations. Decide to find stuff and DO stuff you really like and that get you away from them (like taking a walk).

You’ll be astonished as to how much time you suddenly find for relationships, for reading, for forgotten hobbies and long walks that make you remember the essential stuff in life.

After about 40 days you’ll find that TV/Internet doesn’t give you what it once did. Now you have a choice. Remember the old habit is easy on coming back. But you have a choice.

After almost 5 months without TV in my life, I must say I don’t regret my decision.

The same way goes for any media addiction by the way.

SIN vs. FAITH:

Many Christians nowadays complain that they fall into sin so often and cannot help it.

We might all know how difficult some sinful habits are to break and temptations are to avoid.

(Sexual immorality, substance abuse, taking offense, bitterness, cursing/foul language usage, comparing and jealousy, just to name a few.).

The fact that is often overlooked here is this: What you fill your heart/mind/soul with, it will run over with.

We all live in a secular world. The society we grow up in is hedonistic and most of us will probably come from a democracy.

BUT as Christians we live in a kingdom with GOD as the king of kings. He tells us to NOT be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2). We look at sensual advertisements; look at media that manages to break all of Gods commandments within 10min of watching television at times, listen to music that tells us how to see things and what is cool, even though it is contrary to the Word of God.

So no wonder, sin has influence on our lives more than we would like it to have.

Try refraining from reading anything but your Bible for the 40 days fast. Decide NOT to watch TV or listen to secular music but instead get up and spend 30 minutes alone with God before you do ANYTHING else in the morning. Decide to proclaim a blessing instead of a curse every time you really get upset about something and decide NOT to share your up setting moments with best friends, colleagues or family before you at least spent 30min sharing with God on it.

You’ll see… your spiritual life will be rebooted and you will stand in amazement of what GOD does within 40 days at the latest.

So to sum it up…

I don’t think there is any magic behind this number… but there certainly is wisdom behind it.

I have tried most of the above named fasting myself…it works.

From some I have refrained after a while again due to laziness and other reasons. That doesn’t say they do not work though. It just shows me, I need to go for a check up every once and again and let GOD influence my life anew.

 

I pray GOD will bless you and help you break any ungodly habit and draw you near!