Step 6 – Renew Your Mind
How to Renew Your Mind
The toxic mind-set that stimulates the series of physical reactions (described in chapter 2) that lead to addictions is a low self-esteem, guilt, shame, self-disapproval, self-rejection, self-bitterness and self-hatred. Therefore in order to overcome addictions this toxic mind-set that causes it needs to be dealt with through renewing the mind which means changing your thinking to the way that God thinks. The first step towards renewing your mind is to find out how God thinks through studying His Word – which is what we did in the previous chapter. This chapter deals further with how to practically renew your mind so that you can overcome a low self-esteem and ultimately overcome addictions.
1. SPEND TIME IN HIS PRESENCE – THIS IS WHERE THE CHANGE HAPPENS!
Galatians 5 v 22 – 23: “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His Presence within accomplishes] is love, joy, peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”
The Bible says that the work that His Presence will accomplish within you is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are characteristics of God’s incredible nature and as a work of the Holy Spirit it should become part of our nature and character! One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit/characteristics of God is self-control which is especially important in overcoming addictions! So we want to change and develop the fruits of the Spirit! But how? Well, Jesus said that the only way you are going to see the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifested in your life is by abiding in the Vine – that means spending time in His Presence in intimate fellowship with Him.
John 15 v 4 – 5 & 7: “Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in Him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.”
Spending time with the Lord in His Presence on a daily basis is a vital necessity to bringing about change and developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. If you try to renew your mind and overcome addictions or bring about any positive change in your life without spending time in His Presence, you are doing it in your own strength and it won’t work – you will fail and just end up defeated, discouraged and frustrated.
The worst mistake you can make after reading this book is to see the truth in it, get excited about it and go off on a mission to change yourself… you cannot change yourself! The only One who can change you is the Lord through His Holy Spirit!
2 Corinthians 3 v 16 – 18: “16But whenever a person turns [in repentance] to the Lord, the veil is stripped off and taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom). 18And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transformed into His very own image in ever increasing splendour and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit.”
Notice in 2 Corinthians 3 v 16 – 18, it says that the change that takes us from glory to glory “…comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
Philippians 2 v 12 – 13: “12…work out (cultivate, carry out to the goal, and fully complete) your own salvation with reverence and awe and trembling (self-distrust, with serious caution, tenderness of conscience, watchfulness against temptation, timidly shrinking from whatever might offend God and discredit the name of Christ). 13[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.”
Philippians 2 v 12 warns us to work out our own salvation (which means to go through the process of sanctification where from glory to glory we become more like Jesus) but then verse 13 says – not in your own strength! It is God who brings about the change! But…the change only happens in His presence! Galatians 5 v 22 says that the work that His Presence will accomplish within you is the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the only way you will bear the fruit (including self-control) is by staying vitally united the Vine!
So the correct way to respond to all this when you see the need for change in your life is to spend time with God because in His presence and His Word is where the change happens! The best way I can explain this is to compare it with a farmer who plants maize in his field. What he does is he plants the seed in the soil and then regularly irrigates the seed with water…and then a miracle happens whereby that seed grows into a plant and bears fruit! He doesn’t go and perform micro-surgery on that seed everyday and try and change it and build it himself into a plant – it just happens as a miracle of God’s creation! The same applies to our journey of sanctification, change and the process of overcoming. You cannot use your will power to change yourself, but you can use your will power to discipline yourself to spend time in God’s presence (that is equivalent to putting the seed in the soil where change can happen) and then regularly watering the seed is equivalent to the washing of the water of the Word – in other words renewing your mind by meditating on the Word every day. And as you spend time in God’s presence and in the Word, a miracle happens whereby you suddenly notice that your thinking and behaviour is changing!… you are becoming more like Him and you see the fruit of the Holy Spirit manifesting in your life…and as you start to develop self-control, love and the other gifts and characteristics of the Holy Spirit…the foundation of addictions is broken and victory is yours!
SO SPEND AS MUCH TIME IN HIS PRESENCE AS YOU CAN – GET TO KNOW THE FATHER MORE!
I suggest that the first thing you must do before attempting to give up the thing that you are addicted to (for example alcohol or cigarettes), is for the next couple of weeks (or months), just draw close to God. If you’re really serious about wanting to be set free from your addiction – spend as much time with Him as you can and enjoy fellowship in His presence. You need to get to know the Father more.
Exodus 33 v 13 – 14: “Father show me Your ways, that I may know You [progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with You, perceiving and recognizing and understanding You more strongly and clearly]. And the Lord said, My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.”
You may have been attending church for years… but you still may not know Him. The only way you are going to get to know Him is to spend time with Him. I’m not talking about five minutes here and there, I’m talking about getting serious. I’m talking about setting aside a decent amount of time every single day to just sit at the Father’s feet and fellowship with Him…this involves talking to Him, listening for His voice speaking to you in your heart, getting to know Him though reading His Word, and worshipping Him in that quiet place where it is just you and Him. What is a decent amount of time? Well that’s up to you. It depends how serious you are. You will get to know the Father as much as you want to know Him. John was the disciple who put his head on Jesus’ chest – he was the closest to Jesus (not because Jesus favoured him above the other disciples) but because John wanted to be.
Exodus 33 v 14 “And the Lord said, My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.”
The only true Comforter is the Holy Spirit. John 14 v 26 says that the Holy Spirit is “the Comforter (Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor (i.e. He prays for you on your behalf), Advocate, Strengthener and Standby).” It is too hard to give up an addiction independently in your own strength. “Not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord!” (Zechariah 4 v 6). Only by the power of the Holy Spirit will you be able to overcome your addictions: He is your Helper, Strengthener and Standby. He will enable you to do what you cannot do – and I might add, with ease what is too difficult without Him. If you have never been filled with the Holy Spirit I encourage you to pray, “Father I ask You please to fill me with the Holy Spirit!”
Jesus said in Luke 11 v 11 – 12: “What father among you, if his son asks for a loaf of bread, will give him a stone; or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts [gifts that are to their advantage] to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”
As well as spending extra time with God, I recommend that you go on a fast. In your addiction your body and what you feel has become your Lord. Fasting is a wonderful way to subdue the flesh. The reason you fast is not to get something from God, it is to meet with God. Fasting is about drawing away from the world and drawing close to God – this is where you separate yourself from everything else to develop a more intimate relationship with Him.
2. WHILST IN HIS PRESENCE – HAVE A THINKING TIME!
The first important step is to spend as much time with God as you can – this is where you set aside time just to invest in your relationship with Him in prayer, worship and fellowship with Him. But whilst spending time in His Presence, also have a “thinking time”. This means purposefully setting aside time where you sit and meditate on Scriptures relevant to the area that you need breakthrough and victory in (in this case Scriptures about who you are in Christ in the previous chapter). In your thinking time, close your eyes and purposefully and actively think about, meditate on and speak the Word of God to yourself until you think like God thinks – which is to see yourself as God sees you.
For example, “I am a precious woman (or man) of great value and worth because Jesus, the King of kings, died and paid a great price for me. I am a royal daughter (or son) for I have a crown of glory and honour on my head, and I am wearing Jesus’ royal robes of righteousness (Isaiah 61v10; Psalm 8 v5). God accepts and approves of me (Jeremiah 1 v 5).” As you meditate on these Scriptures you must think about how they are relevant to you and your everyday life – picture yourself wearing Jesus’ robe of righteousness and a crown of glory and honour on your head etc.
3. TAKE YOUR THOUGHTS CAPTIVE DURING THE REST OF THE DAY
2 Corinthians 10 v 4 – 5: “4For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of the flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds. 5[In as much as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought away captive into the obedience of Christ.”
There is no point in having a thinking time where you purposefully meditate on Scriptures about Who you are in Christ and then spend the rest of the day in your old toxic mind-set of a low self-esteem and self-hatred, as you would be cancelling out the benefits of the effort you invested in your thinking time! So you also need to take your thoughts captive during the rest of the day!
How do you take your thoughts captive?
1. Recognize the source of your thoughts: When a thought comes into your mind with a guilt, shame, condemnation, self-hatred etc. in its content, you must recognize that those are not your thoughts even though they come in the first person, they come from the accusing spirit. If thoughts come into your mind such as, “I feel like a smoke or drink”…recognize that that is not your thought – so don’t fall into agreement with it!
2. When you recognize thoughts that are from the enemy, with the help of the Holy Spirit, use your free will to stop yourself from meditating on them (i.e. take those thoughts captive) and instead purposefully chuck them out.
3. Then you replace those thoughts (satan’s lie) with the Truth of God’s Word i.e. the Scriptures about who you are in Christ that you were meditating on in your thinking time.
4. SPEAK OUT SCRIPTURE DURING YOUR THINKING TIMES
In the previous chapter I emphasized the importance of speaking like the new you. When you are having your thinking times – don’t just think about and meditate on those Scriptures – also purposefully speak them out!
Biblical reason why: Romans 10 v 17 says that faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.
Medical reason why: By speaking out Scripture, science says that you will renew your mind three times quicker! When you speak out those Scriptures in your thinking time, you hear what you say and that information goes back into your brain through your ears and you build healthy long term memories three times faster, as well as reinforce them and make them stronger.
How: A practical way to do this is to make a Faith Confession which contains all the relevant Scriptures you need to renew your mind with – in the previous chapter I included a faith confession of who you are in Christ to help you renew your mind and build a healthy self-esteem. I encourage you to speak that faith confession out every day in your thinking times until you have victory in that area. Below is also a faith confession specifically for addictions, which I recommend you also speak out every day – not only in your thinking times, but also in those moments when you are in temptation or struggling with thoughts from the enemy. I recommend that you write this faith confession out for yourself and carry it with you everywhere you go, so that you have it on hand when you need it. The Scriptures used in this faith confession are listed at the end – think on these in your thinking times too!
FAITH CONFESSION FOR ADDICTIONS
I am finished with living with the dissatisfaction of living below my potential, the bondage of addictions and the effects that it has on my body, relationships, finances etc. and of allowing the devil to rob me of years through the lie of procrastination. With the help of the Holy Spirit I choose once and for all to lay this down and not pick it up again because I no longer want any part of it.
The cravings in my body are just a reminder to me of how much I need You and Your love – Father only You can fulfil and satisfy me. So I receive Your love today once again and I believe that You do love me because Your Word says so. John 16 v 27 says that the Father Himself tenderly loves me! I am so precious – and of such great value and worth to You – that You sent Your only Son to pay the price for me (John 3 v 16). I was worth the life of the King of Kings!
Father, I ask You to grant me out of the rich treasury of Your glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in my inner man by the Holy Spirit [Himself indwelling in my innermost being and personality]. May Christ through my faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in my heart! May I be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that I may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love], what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; [That I may really come] to know [practically through experience for myself] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that I may be filled [through all my being] with all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Father, You by Your power that is at work within me are able to [carry out Your purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that I [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond my highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams]. (Ephesians 3 v 14 – 20)
The blood of Jesus has washed away my guilt and shame, and cleansed me of all unrighteousness (1 John 1 v 9) and there is now no condemnation for me in Christ Jesus because I now choose to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Romans 8 v 1). I am now wearing His royal robe of righteousness and crown of glory and honour on my head (Isaiah 61 v10; Psalm 8 v5). God accepts and approves of me and I am in right relationship with Him (Jeremiah 1 v 5, 2 Corinthians 5 v 21). So I accept and approve of myself. I love who I am and the way that I am made (Psalm 139 v 14). I am no longer in bondage to and a slave to fear – for I am a child of God! (Romans 8 v 15 – 16). He is my Father, my King, my Lord and my Master! (Name the substance you were addicted to) is no longer my lord and my master and I lay down that idol at the feet of Jesus (1 John 5 v 21; Romans 6 v 12, 13 and 16)…not by might, not by power, but by Your Holy Spirit Who is my Comforter, Helper, Intercessor, Strengthener and Standby (John 14 v 26; Zechariah 4 v 6).
Father, I dedicate my body to You as a living sacrifice as my spiritual worship. Father I totally surrender my WHOLE being to you – I will love You with my spirit, soul and BODY – come and reign in me. I declare that you are Lord over my body. I am not my own, I was brought with a price and purchased with a preciousness, paid for and made His own…so I honour God and bring Him glory in my body. I declare that my body is Your Temple (1 Corinthians 6 v 19 – 20) – it is holy and devoted to You, it is consecrated and set apart for You (Romans 12 v 1) – that I may be a vessel of honour, ready for Your use (2 Timothy 2 v 21). My health is developed to its maximum potential and I declare that I will live my full 120 years (Genesis 6 v 3) in divine health so that I will fulfil my God given destiny – I will do all that You have called me to do (Ephesians 2 v 10) and I will leave behind a legacy of Your love. I will be an example and inspiration and living testimony of God’s best – I will glorify you in my eating, drinking and in my body (1 Corinthians 10 v 31).
Father I can do what You say I can do! I am a victorious over-comer (1 John 5 v 4; Revelations 2 v 11), a mighty man (or woman) of valour a champion overcoming warrior, who possesses dignity and honour (Judges 6 v12). I am more than a conqueror! (Romans 8 v 35). All circumstances are under my feet (Psalm 8 v 6). In all things I gain a surpassing victory (Rom 8 v 37) and in all things God leads me to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2 v 14). Through my union with God, I am strong in the Lord and the power of His might (Ephesians 6 v 10). I have strength for all things in Christ who empowers me. I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; Because I believe in, lean on, trust and rely on God, I do the things that Jesus did, and greater things will I do, for His Spirit within me knows no limit. (John 14 v 12 – 14). Therefore I believe that all things are possible and limit not the Holy One within me (Philippians 4 v 13). I received power when the Holy Spirit came upon me and now I have the anointing of discipline and self-control…and I would rather have the pain of discipline, than the pain of regret for missing out on all God has for me. Thank You Father that You are using this area of my life to teach me to sow to the Spirit and not to the flesh – to allow the fruit of discipline, self-control, faithfulness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and gentleness to be developed in me which will then flow over into other areas of my life (Galatians 5 v 22 – 23); I have been delivered out of the control and dominion of darkness and have been transferred into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1 v 13). I have authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10 v 19) so I no longer need to give into him because Jesus defeated the devil on the cross and made a public display and an embarrassment of the devil and his kingdom as He triumphed over him – and I will do the same with each right choice that I make because He gave me the authority and the victory to say no to temptation and to defeat and overcome the devil (Colossians 2 v 15). I am a child of God and I belong to Him and have already defeated and overcome this addiction because He Who lives in me is greater and mightier than he who is in the world (1 John 4 v 4). I am determined in Him – I will not give up or give in (Galatians 6 v 9) – I will be consistent and faithful in obedience day after day after day until I cross that finish line of this journey to freedom in victory. As Jesus is, so am I in this world (1 John 4 v 17) and the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God is on the inside of me! (Ephesians 1 v 19). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me! (Ephesians 1 v 20). And with this same power I am set free from the bondage of addictions…and whom the Son sets free – is really and unquestionably free! (John 8 v 36)
How the Bondage of Addiction is Broken Physically
Let’s revise it briefly and then I’m going to explain how the series of reactions that lead to addictions will be broken through taking the steps I have guided you through in the previous chapters.
REMEMBER HOW THE BONDAGE DEVELOPED
Revelations 12 v 10 says that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. An accusing spirit gave you thoughts in your mind in the first person such as “I am unworthy, I am not loved, I am unwanted, I am no good, I hate myself, I feel so guilty and bad about this and that etc.”. Because those thoughts came in the first person, you did not realize that they were not your thoughts, but that that they came from the spiritual realm, from an accusing spirit…and so you followed that way of thinking as if it were you and developed a toxic mind-set of the need to be loved unfulfilled and a low self-esteem, guilt, shame, condemnation, self-disapproval, self-rejection, self-bitterness and self-hatred. As you meditated on those thoughts in your mind which is your soul, you built a toxic long term memory in your brain. So that guilt and self-hatred which was initially spiritual became a part of your soul through thinking and then a part of your body physically in the form of long term memory. You have become one with an accusing spirit in spirit, soul and body. That toxic long term memory of a low self-esteem, self-hatred and guilt caused the hypothalamus in the brain to lower the serotonin levels which is the feel good hormone.
A deficiency of serotonin results in you feeling bad about yourself and depressed.
Because you are feeling low, you want comfort and so you bring something (the substance you are addicted to e.g. cigarettes, alcohol, drugs etc.) to your mouth which is the contact place for love and security. The lips are the nurturing point.
Bringing the substance to your mouth stimulates the release of the pleasure hormone, dopamine in your brain, causing a temporary comforting, fulfilling, pleasurable sensation (which drowns out the serotonin deficiency and emotional pain)
The dopamine rush is short-lasting and when it wears off, you go back into real life and you bump into your old feelings of a low-self-esteem and being unloved. So you sink into a low and in that moment you are drawn to the memory of the fulfilment you felt when you brought that substance to your mouth and so you reach for it again…and the vicious cycle perpetuates.
Furthermore, after the food or alcohol binge you have just been on, you feel guilty and bad about yourself…and you develop self-loathing, self-disapproval and self-hatred for the effects the addiction is having on your body, your relationships, your finances/job and other areas of your life….and this takes you back to the beginning as in response to those thoughts the hypothalamus lowers the serotonin levels even more…leading to a deeper level of depression…which leads you deeper into the bondage of addictions.
HOW THE CHAINS OF THE BONDAGE ARE BROKEN
When you repented from your heart, you removed the legal right that the accusing spirit and spirit of addiction had to your life. Then when you commanded those spirits to leave in Jesus’ Name – your removed the root where the problem began and you were set free to begin to renew your mind.
When the need to be loved is filled with the love of God the Father (as explained in chapter 4 and 5), when you have restored your relationships with others (as explained in chapter 6), when you renew your mind and build a healthy self-esteem (as explained in chapter 8 and 9), when you spend time in His presence and meditate on His Word (i.e. Scriptures about you are in Christ) and speak it out (e.g. those faith confessions) – you grow healthy long term memories of love and a good self-esteem in your brain which will replace the old toxic memories of the need to be loved unfulfilled and a low self-esteem. When the toxic memories are removed, there is nothing to stimulate the lowering of serotonin in the brain and the series of physical reactions that follow leading to an addiction.
(An in depth teaching of how the brain works, how thoughts from and how they can become toxic leading to the building of toxic memories, as well as how toxic memories can be replaced by healthy memories in the brain is included on pages 7 – 23 in the 4th Edition of the book “Healing Begins With Sanctification of the Heart” as well as in session 2 of the DVD series “No Disease Is Incurable”– see website www.eagleswings.co.zw for details as to where the material is available)
The more you meditate on those Scriptures of who you are in Christ, the stronger and bigger those healthy memories become. At the same time, when you think on those good thoughts again (in a thinking time each day), the hypothalamus in your brain will sense your fulfilment and signal the brain to release chemicals which flow through those healthy memories you have built in your brain and it generates an electromagnetic wave which reactivates those healthy memories, causing them to squirt out healthy chemicals – for example endorphins and encephalins which are your body’s natural de-stressing hormones, they are your body’s natural pain killers and they have incredible healing properties. Two other chemicals which are released (which is particularly important for addictions) are dopamine and serotonin!
Now that serotonin is being produced, it corrects the serotonin deficiency and your spirit, soul and body are in balance again. When the serotonin levels are raised and dopamine is being produced (through the experience of a wholesome love relationship with God, yourself and others), you no longer feel depressed and need comfort –therefore you will no longer have the urge to put the substance you have been addicted to (alcohol/food/cigarettes etc.) to your mouth and hence the cravings and cycle of addictions is broken. Eventually the point will come where you are about to smoke or pick up a drink, and you’ll say, “You know what, I don’t need this.” And you’ll put it down for good…and it’ll be done in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in your own strength. Now you are healed of depression and addictions and that is sanctification of the body – the removal of disease and everything that destroys it.
So now that you understand how the bondage of addictions is broken on a spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical level, I pray that you are encouraged, inspired and motivated with the knowledge that you can be set free!
PRAY WITH ME:
“In the Name of Jesus I command my brain and my basal ganglia to be normalized, reformed and conformed to the way it was created from the foundation of the world. I command my genes and my DNA to be made whole and perfect as God originally created them. I command that defective chemistry and that THIQ chemical to be eradicated as a work of the Holy Spirit. I release that craving physiologically from my body – I command it to be gone in Jesus’ Name. I command my taste-buds, throat, lungs, intestines (and any other damaged body part) to be healed, restored and made whole in Jesus’ Name! Calling things that are not as though they were, using the gift of miracles, I speak a creative miracle and a new liver (name any other organ that has been damaged) into being in the Name of Jesus! Father, I have a covenant of divine healing with You (Isaiah 53 v 5). You forgive all my sins and heal all my diseases (Psalm 103 v 3). Therefore on the authority of Your Word and in the Name of Jesus, I claim and declare healing and complete wholeness in my spirit, soul (mind and emotions), brain and body. (Isaiah 61 v 1 – 3).” AMEN AND AMEN
Isaiah 61 v 1: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good news to the meek, the poor and the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.”
powers are cast out and all people are set free; I have authority over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt me (Mark 16 v 17 – 18). As Jesus is, so am I in this world (1 John 4 v 17) and the immeasurable, unlimited and surpassing power of God is on the inside of me! (Ephesians 1 v 19). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in me! (Ephesians 1 v 20).
Cross the Finish Line with the Final Addiction Freedom Step