The Healing Soul Hope Herald – August 12, 2011 – Featured Article
The following article was written by “John”, a 2007 graduate of Healing for the Soul’s recovery program. We want to express our gratitude to him for sharing personally to encourage you, our readers.
We have all suffered. We have all struggled. We have all failed. We all battle against temptation. Far too often that battle follows a recurring cycle: we are tempted; we toy with temptation; we reach that critical moment when we could go either way; we give in; we feel guilt and shame; we like ourselves a little less.
Perhaps we are victorious for a day, a week, a month, or several months, but many of us reach that day—that moment—when we are too tired, too depressed, or feeling too much in need to fight the temptation. The cycle continues. Our focus becomes scorekeeping—how many, days, weeks, months since we last acted out. Our focus becomes our distance from sin. This preoccupation with a negative often defeats us. Why?
Because acting out on our impulses is what our base nature most wants to do.
We give in because the detonation of pleasure in us dulls the pain in our lives. We are daily doing battle with something that packs a powerful, immediate payoff. The problem with this focus on “days since last acting out” is that it sets the bar too low. We are left with giving ourselves credit for avoiding sin’s payoff.
God designed us to experience intense pleasure. He took the chance that we would make the right decisions at critical moments so that we could experience that pleasure within His plan for us.
We think we can turn our back to God to sin. We don’t want Him to see, so, like Adam and Eve, we hide. No matter where we turn our back, God is always in front of us. He sees. He knows. We are naked before Him. Although God is always aware when we sin, He can’t put blessings in our hands when we think we have our back to Him. He won’t force blessings upon us.
What is the answer to breaking the cycle of sin? We need to raise the bar. Rather than a scorecard for “not acting out” we need to measure how much we are in God’s will. We need to face that ultimate and life-changing moment when we could go either way spiritually and surrender everything we have been hiding, or protecting, or holding back from God. To keep Satan out we need to invite the Holy Spirit in.
Rather than dwelling on when we fall, we need to celebrate as a victory every time we avoid giving into temptation, and then we need to build on those victories, and then we need to notice our expanding self-esteem. We need to decide always to face God and offer our hands to His service and hold them out for His blessings.
We need to stop fearing God’s will for us. Would a loving God design us for a life devoid of joy? We need to surrender those areas of our lives that we hold onto “for dear life.” We need to take down the “Do Not Enter” signs around the corners of sin in our souls and give God access to all that we are.
In our relationship with God we need to stop playing hide and seek, stop insisting on partial control. We need to go all the way.