Message Recap: Many of us have been trying to get freedom and victory from behavior modification…modifying behavior is not bad, it’s just not complete. Freedom and victory is best found when driven by heart modification. Heart modification happens when we (1) Think Rightly (2) Follow Intentionally (3) Saturate our thinking thoroughly and (4) Retrain ourselves patiently.
Scripture: Romans 7:1-25 (NLT); Romans 8:1-8 (NLT), Judges 2:10-18; Eph. 5:11-14; Psalm 139:23-24; James 5:16; Exodus 20:7
Icebreaker: What is your favorite item you’ve used this year?
- At the end of Romans 7:25, Paul speaks about fighting against wanting to do what is right but also being a slave to our humanity. Have you ever felt the struggle that Paul is speaking about? What are you dealing with that you just cannot seem to break free from? (fear, self-hatred, gossip, control, anger, etc., negativity)
- Christian life is a struggle. We must learn to fight against the flesh and live according to the Spirit; but how, exactly, is this practically done?
- What is a stronghold? What are strongholds in your life that continuously drive you back to a repetitive sin? Ex. A stronghold of shame leads me back to pornography or gossip.
- Read Judges 2:10-18. What do verses 10-11 say caused the nation of Israel to fall from God? From this example talk about how our sin could be an identity issue.
- How do you fix an identity issue? How do we learn our identity from birth?
- Read Eph. 5:11-14, Psalm 139:23-24, James 5:16. How does exposing your sin affect your relationship with God, yourself, and others? Why does Satan want it to stay in secret?
- Read Exodus 20:7. The word “take” is the Hebrew word “nasa” means to bear or carry. The phrase “in vain” is the Hebrew word “shav” meaning emptiness or falsehood. How does this change how you view this command and how it applies to you as a Christian? How does this change your view of sin in your life either exposed or secret?
Digging Deeper (A Personal Study)
To begin a habit of turning from sin we have to start with the first Biblical step of salvation from it-sorrow. In 2 Corinthians 7:8-11 Paul talks about how sorrow is actually a saving grace that God has willed as it turns us to repentance. Our first step towards this salvation is grieving the fact that we are holding the hammer that nailed Jesus to the cross. That acceptance puts us in a position of humbly seeking and receiving God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness. But what if our sin isn’t a “one day of repentance and we are saved” type of sin? What is going on when we feel that we are still slaves to sin yet there’s this promise of victory in Christ?
Some sin is easily recognizable and can be turned from in a day, but others are seeded deeper and have become default habits in our brain without our knowledge. No matter who you are, you are habitual in what you do when a wound or stronghold is triggered. Some may call this an addiction or compulsive behavior. From infancy, God designed our brains to create a domino effect of sorts when we encounter an event that triggers a certain emotion. If we are not taught how to interrupt that first domino of emotion and filter it through Biblical truth (2 Cor. 10:5), that pathway in the brain can make a trail towards an addictive behavior we cannot escape without the renewing of the mind through help outside of ourselves. The renewing of the mind that Paul talks about in Romans 12:2 is a literal science of neuroplasticity. We can re-teach our brain how to stop spiraling down as we relearn the truth of who God truly is, what He thinks about us, and in the end how we view ourselves through Biblical meditation and counsel. We, as Christians, have the ability to take an emotional thought captive and interrupt it to spiral upwards instead of downwards using God’s promises and truths. Sounds easy enough, but it feels like climbing Mt. Everest. You just want…freedom. But you feel it will forever be out of reach and you are alone. Hallelujah that both of those are lies! The power of the cross does not stop short of covering any sin and the Holy Spirit has no limit to His ability to transform us. No sin is too small or too big for us to start turning from. If any of this describes you, ask yourself this question: If I continue down the road I am on today, what will my life look like in a year? 5 years?
Now, what are you going to do about it this week? The enemy may whisper you have no choice and God won’t listen to your cries, but you have an immense power of choice and the enemy’s greatest weapon in sin is isolation. Remember, at any moment in time you have a choice to say, “It’s not going to end this way.”
Celebrate Recovery @ Lakeland (email: email@example.com)
New Life Ministries (www.newlife.com)
Get out of Your Head: Stopping the Spiral of Toxic Thoughts by Jennie Allen
Conquer Series: The Battle Plan for Purity by Kingdom Works