Step 3 – RESTORE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
However it is conditional because you don’t receive forgiveness from God if you don’t give forgiveness to your brother. Therefore before you go to God to repent of the sin behind your disease, you need to do an exercise where you forgive everybody who has hurt or wronged you whether they are living or dead.
So take a moment now to be quiet and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you who it is that you need to forgive. He knows your heart better than you do, so listen and be sensitive to His promptings, as He brings the names of people to your mind. Who is it that when you think of them, that high octane ping goes off inside you, your stomach turns and the hairs on your back stand up? Release them and let them go. All the verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, legalism, control, rejection and betrayal that you have suffered… let it all go.
I encourage you to pray a prayer that goes something like this: “Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would minister into my life right now. Look into the depths of my heart and reveal to me where there is hardness, un-forgiveness, bitterness and resentment or anything against anybody. Please bring their names to my heart right now by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I repent to You Father for sometimes repaying evil with evil and feeling justified by it. I thought I was protecting myself when in fact I was behaving no different than the person that did evil to me. Father I repent for participating with the sin of bitterness and un-forgiveness. As an act of my will in obedience to you, I choose to forgive (name the person and what they did). I am trusting you to make my forgiveness heartfelt – to forgive completely just like You do, without looking back. Please take the hardness of my heart and soften it with Your love. Help me to understand what Jesus said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”I pray that Your forgiveness would flow through me. Thank You for the work that You are doing in my heart right now. And now I take up my authority in Christ and I break the power the strongman of bitterness in my life! I also break the power of the spirits of un-forgiveness, resentment, retaliation, anger, hatred, violence, murder and cast them out of my life. And I command the principality of bitterness out of my life in Jesus’ Name!”
You may need to forgive the church. In fact, 99% of the people in the church have been injured, damaged or hurt by some people in spiritual leadership since they were born again…forgive them and let it go. If you are discouraged with the Christian church, I’d like to say that God is not the Christian church. Those pastors and leaders who have hurt you are just men. Sometimes some Pastors don’t understand what being a pastor is all about because they have their own personal agendas, they are full of selfish ambition, they want kingdoms and empires, they want to rule and you became expendable to their system. Well so what, that’s their sin. God will confront them at the judgement seat of Christ, you just let it go. Don’t be discouraged by humans or stumble over somebody else’s failure. Get your eyes off people and those pastors who are weak and who have failed you. Get back up and get on with God! If you have deep hurt in this area, please write to us (contact details on website: www.eagleswings.co.zw) so that loving pastors we work with can minister to you and allow the Holy Spirit to set you free. Sometimes ministry on this level needs to be done personally.
GO AND RESTORE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Once you have spent time with God, in forgiveness towards those who have wronged you, if possible, go and restore your relationship with them. You may need to apologise and ask for their forgiveness in some areas as well. Romans 12 v 18: “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” But if it is not possible to restore a relationship because the person is not willing to forgive or even talk to you, the person has died or you don’t know where the person is, never mind – what is important is that you get your own heart right with God.
If you have something from your past and it is not possible for you to make right with the other person, you just need to make it right with God and it is dealt with because God judges it by the integrity of your heart. You don’t have to carry the guilt any longer. If somebody is holding a sin against you it is their problem, not yours. They have to get right with God just as you do. Whether they do or don’t doesn’t have anything to do with you because you stand alone before God in the integrity of your heart. You don’t have to have it resolved with that person in order to be free.
Note: You do not have to resolve a single issue with somebody that has victimized or abused you in order for God to heal you, so long as you have resolved that issue between you and God concerning them. You don’t have to wait for resolution between that person and you before you get healed – that is just binding you to the tragedy and victimization.
The next area where forgiveness may be needed is that you may need to forgive yourself. Bitterness is not always about others. We can get into condemnation, guilt and shame about ourselves – especially surrounding the fall-out effects that we have on ourselves, others, our job etc. as a result of an addiction. We often speak of forgiving others, but do you have un-forgiveness and resentment towards yourself? Are you holding yourself guilty about an issue from the past?
Remember I explained in chapter 2 that those feelings of guilt, self-hatred and un-forgiveness that you have towards yourself aren’t even your thoughts and feelings. It is an accusing spirit (Relations 12 v 10) of self-hatred and self-rejection that accuses you to yourself with thoughts in the first person – you believed its lies and you’ve made it part of your thinking as if it was you. Remember your battle is not with flesh and blood (Ephesians 6 v 12) and therefore your battle is not with yourself. You have to forgive yourself – you don’t have an option because there are other diseases that come from self-hatred and guilt lead to death and it is just not worth it to believe the devil’s lies. There is no breaking free from addictions without taking this step. So I want you to say defeat this lying accusing spirit by saying this out loud, “I am not guilty!” Some people are so deep into guilt and self-hatred that the accusing spirit attached to them will not allow them to say it because the minute they get it out and say, “I am not guilty” that lying spirit is defeated. Even if you feel that resistance, you have a free will – say it! I encourage you to say this to yourself, “I’m not guilty. I became one with sin as if it were me and have been blaming myself and have been bitter against myself all these years. I’ve felt guilty, unworthy and ashamed for everything as a result of this addiction. I have felt inferior and have compared myself to others. I repent Father for bitterness and un-forgiveness towards myself and this day I choose to forgive myself. I command the accusing spirit of self-hatred, self-rejection and guilt to be gone out of my life in the Name of Jesus.” It is as simple as that. You may need to have a renewing of the mind to apprehend that over the next month or more..
Are you angry with God? The amount of people who have un-forgiveness towards God the Father is incredible. Many people are harbouring resentment and bitterness toward God because they blame Him for a disappointment or tragic situation or for something that did not work out the way they expected. The devil wants you to blame God because He wants to create a rift and a separation in your relationship with Him. This will steal your joy, love and passion for Him, and it opens the door to the devil in your life. If you have anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness in your heart against God, give it up and let it go. He is not guilty, He is a good Father. God is your friend, not your enemy. Please do not turn away from the only One Who can help you and give you life, real peace and joy.
If you are angry or have been upset with God, I encourage you to pray this pray with me so that you can be released from the harsh results of un-forgiveness and bitterness that you may have mis-directed toward Him: “God, I have held anger against You. I know that You have done nothing wrong, and I am in need of Your forgiveness. But I believe that my saying, “I forgive You” will help me to let go of un-forgiveness that I have misdirected towards You. I forgive You. My problems are not Your fault. You are my answer. I repent for my bitterness towards You and thank you for setting me free.”
FORGIVE FROM THE HEART
To make any further progress in breaking free from the bondage of addictions, you have got to come to the place where you forgive God, yourself and others. However, it is important to understand that these prayers given here are just a guide to help you. If you are just doing this to go through the motions because you want your healing for selfish reasons and you are using this as a system or mechanism, you are wasting your time. God is not interested in rote words – He’s looking into your heart and that is where your repentance and forgiveness must come from.
Ephesians 6 v 6: “Not with eye service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” KJV
Matthew 18 v 35: “So also My heavenly Father will deal with every one of you if you do not freely forgive your brother from your heart his offences.”
Repentance and Spiritual Freedom
The next important step in your journey to freedom is to recognize that the mind-sets that lead to addictions and as well as the addiction itself is sin. This is not to bring you under condemnation so that you feel even more, guilty, as that would lower the serotonin levels even further and lead you deeper into the addiction! It is important to recognize this sin so that you can take responsibility, repent and be set free!
WHY THE MIND-SETS BEHIND ADDICTIONS IS SIN
As explained in chapter 2, the toxic mind-sets that set in motion the series of physical reactions leading to an addiction is the need to be loved unfulfilled and a low self-esteem (which can include guilt, shame, condemnation, self-disapproval, self-rejection, self-bitterness and self-hatred).
In Matthew 22 v 36 – 40somebody asked Jesus what the greatest command was: “36Teacher, which kind of commandment is great and important (the principle kind) in the Law?…37 And He replied to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). 38 This is the great (most important principle) and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as [you do] yourself. These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
The second most important commandment is to love others…and yourself! I don’t mean that we must be puffed up with pride but we need to love ourselves in a balanced way where we have a healthy self-esteem that is firmly rooted in the knowledge of who we are in Christ.
You are extremely precious! You are of such great value and worth that the Son of God who is the King of Kings paid the price for you with His life! If you were the only one on earth, Jesus would have still died just for you. I know this because the Bible says that there is more value in the one sheep over the cliff than the 99 safe in the fold (See Matthew 18 v 11 – 13). The Bible says that nobody is expendable. Everybody has value.
John 3 v 16: “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal lasting life.”
God loves you, He said it and He proved it when He sent His only Son to die for you. Therefore when you disagree by not accepting yourself, and you hate yourself, you have called the God who created you and loved you from the foundation of the world a liar. You have declared that He made a mistake in saving you. If you have a poor self-image and you do not love yourself, you are in direct opposition to God and you open yourself up to the devil to agree with you. When you have a low self-esteem, you have a major crack in your foundation that the devil will use against you!”
The devil wants to rule your life. If you allow him, he will continue to fill your mind with unloving thoughts that will lead to a chemical imbalance in your brain which is the which is the lowering of your serotonin levels so that you start taking steps to enter into various arenas of counterfeit fulfillment. As long as you have these toxic thinking patterns where you feel unloved and you do not love yourself, the enemy knows that there is no way that you can increase your serotonin levels unless you take a drug. As long as you take the drug, you feel better about yourself, but you still have that unloving way of thinking as part of your nature. So even though you are on the drug, you still do not feel satisfied, just more tormented in the bondage of the addiction. The enemy alters your body chemistry through your thoughts when you buy into the lies that say God does not love you, you do not love yourself and others do not love you. Then he gives you chemicals to alter that chemical imbalance back into an artificial chemical peace. Firstly, chemically altered states in your brain violate creation because it is not of God. If God wanted you chemically altered, He would have created you in a different chemical state. If He wanted you smoked, He would have made you that way! Secondly the artificial short term peace that the chemical provides is a cheap substitute for the love of God, the peace that Jesus gives and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. As explained in chapter 2 and 3, the deep void and thirst for love within each one of us can only be filled and satisfied with the love of God the Father. Anything else that you try to fill it with as a substitute for Him is an idol which will lead you into bondage.
1 John 5 v 21: Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life].
WHY THE ADDICTION ITSELF IS SIN
Galatians 5 v 19 – 21: “Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you before hand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The above scripture talks about the works of the flesh which are sin. The word sorcery in the above scripture is translated as witchcraft in other Bibles. The word sorcery or witchcraft that was used here is not the Hebrew word for witchcraft. That word ‘witchcraft’ is only used once in the New Testament and it is the Greek word pharmakeia, (Strong’s number 5331) which means medication (pharmacy, sorcery) and is taken from the Greek word pharmakeus, which means drug, a druggist (pharmacist or poisoner, that is, sorcerer). The word witchcraft in this scripture is referring to the use of legal or prescription drugs. The word drunkenness in this scripture represents illegal drugs (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, alcohol abuse etc). The Greek word “do” in the above scripture means “they that habitually practice as a way of life” as opposed to “a single act”.
To put all of the above information in a sentence “The chronic or long term use of prescription drugs is sorcery or witchcraft and they that habitually practice this as a way of life will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Firstly it is important to understand what “not inheriting the kingdom of God means”. Many people misinterpret this as to mean they will lose their salvation. According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word for “kingdom” in this verse is “basileia” (G932), which means royal power, kingship, dominion, and rule. It refers to the right or authority to rule over a kingdom and should not be confused with an actual kingdom i.e. it is not referring to Heaven. When Jesus died on the cross, He gained authority and victory over the devil and his kingdom. Then He gave that authority (basileia) to us and He gave us the victory to overcome sin. In Luke 10 v 19, Jesus said that He gave us power and authority over the enemy – He gave us victory over principalities and powers of darkness (the kingdom of Ephesians 6 v 12).
Luke 10 v 19: “Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.”
COLOSSIANS 2 v 15: “God disarmed principalities and powers that were raged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in the cross.”
COLOSSIANS 1 v 13: “The Father has delivered and drawn us to Himself out of the control and dominion of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
So bottom line: Jesus has given us His authority so that we can be set free from the control and dominion of the devil and his kingdom. …so that we are now able to conquer Satan and His kingdom…. so that we can be set free from the bondage of sin. However, when you choose to continue living in sin, your authority is compromised (although it does not mean you are no longer a child of God i.e. that you lose your salvation). A true story to demonstrate the principle: A pastor and his wife drank wine on a regular basis – but only behind closed doors so as not to offend anybody. One Sunday during their worship service a lady had a demonic manifestation. They took this lady to the back of the church and attempted deliverance – they commanded the demonic spirit to come out of her – but a male voice spoke out of this lady and said: “You think nobody sees you when the two of you are drinking in secret, but we see you and we don’t have to listen to you!” As born again Christians we have been given authority (Basileia) to command evil spirits to leave (Luke 10 v 17 – 20, Mark 16 v 17 – 18). However this pastor and his wife lost their authority over the devil in this woman because of their secret sin – this is an example of an area in their life where they had not inherited the kingdom of God! They did not lose their salvation – they lost their authority. They were not able to walk in the victory and authority over the devil that Jesus gave us.
When we choose to continue in unrepentant sin, instead of experiencing the abundant life that Jesus gave us, we open the door to the devil to come in and steal, kill and destroy (John 10 v 10).
GALATIANS 5 v 1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
We need to exercise our full authority that Jesus gave us (over toxic sinful mind-sets and the evil spirits where those mind-sets come from) for healing and to enjoy good health and the abundant life of John 10 v 10 that He died on the cross to give us. If we sin (and continue in that sin as a way of life without repentance), we lose that authority and give that authority to the devil who now has the legal right to bring disease and bondage….and when we continue in that sickness without repentance we are taken into deeper bondage with having to be on life-long medication with the side-effects and chemical dependency (addictions) that they bring.
Galatians 5 v 19 – 21 paraphrased: “The chronic or long term use of prescription drugs is sorcery or witchcraft and they that habitually practice this as a way of life will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Now we understand what it means to “not inherit the kingdom of God”. The next important point to emphasize is that it is not wrong to take prescription drugs. Sometimes it is very necessary in an emergency to get you into a place of safety or to save your life. It is ok to take medication in the short term but the problem comes in when it is taken on a chronic basis as a way of life without the underlying problem being dealt with. God does not want you artificially maintained and manipulated by prescription drugs for the rest of your life. This is just another form of bondage. He wants to heal you and set you free completely.
JOHN 8 v 36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
God has designed your body so that when you love God, when you love yourself and when you love others, your body releases the proper hormones and chemicals that make you healthy and make you feel good. God has given you the chemical fix that you need from enjoying an intimate love relationship with Him as well as Godly relationships with others. That is why long term use of prescription drugs which is sorcery and drunkenness from illegal drugs are works of the flesh which is sin. They are substitutes for your relationship with God and the peace that comes from that relationship. The Bible says not to be drunk with wine but filled with the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5 v 18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.”
Proverbs 20 v 1: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; and whoever errs or reels because of it is not wise.”
This scripture is saying that when alcohol is taken in a quantity that alters your consciousness, the drunkenness will produce a chemical imbalance in your body that is going to impair your ability to differentiate right from wrong – all so that you can drown out your pain.
OUR BODY IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
When we smoke or abuse our body with alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity or any other form of addiction, we are in fact abusing the temple of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 6 v 19-20: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honour God with your body.”
Romans 12 v 1 – 2: “I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your body [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”
Jesus not only wants to be our Saviour, He also wants to be our Lord. When we are enslaved to an addiction, that substance is our lord and master. Jesus wants to be Lord over our spirit, soul and body. Instead of abusing our body with the things of the world, we need to set it apart (that is what to be holy means) – holy, devoted and consecrated to Him as a form of worship. When Jesus is our Lord and Master we are set free. When another substance becomes our lord and master, the devil leads us into slavery and bondage.
John 8 v 36: “So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.”
Galatians 5 v 1: “In this freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].”
2 Timothy 2 v 21: “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”
TAKE THE NEXT STEP TO FREEDOM AND REPENT