Step 7 – Cross the Finish Line
The Journey in Victory!
As you come to the end of this Teaching and begin your journey of overcoming and breaking free from the bondage of addictions, I’d like to encourage you with a story that Pastor Henry Wright shared in one of his conferences. It is told as a metaphor but it is also a true story: Henry Wright collects classic cars as a hobby. He had a beautiful convertible 1957 Chevy which had a black top, black leather seats, black plated interior and over-sized mag wheels. This car really purred and growled. People would hoot as they drove past and say, “Hey nice car!” However the truth was that the car was also a bucket of rust. When he would wax and polish it, he had to go softly over the rust bubbles so that they didn’t pop. The car looked pretty good from the pew it: it was dressed right and it had all of its charismatic paint on. It was ready to ride. You might have taken it to the show but it would not have even made the first cut because the judges know what is right. So he’d drive this car and everybody would say, “Wow! Great car! What a good looking saint!” But Henry knew that it was just the opposite. Eventually he got tired of driving his hypocrite car and pretending it was all sinless so he took it to a car shop to try to have it repaired. He walked up to the man in the shop and said, “I need a little paint job on this thing, the rust is starting to show.” The man in the shop looked at him and said, “You’re crazy.” Henry said, “You mean a little religious paint on it won’t help?” The man said, “You can put a little religious paint on it and it will shine for about six months to a year. Then that rust will come right back and eat right through it all over again. I’d love to take your tithe and pretend that the rust won’t come back but I’ve just got to be honest with you. I don’t want to take your money and let you pretend that you are sinless.”
Jesus said that you can’t put new wine into old wine skins. In the medical field, science has proven that you can’t build a new good memory over a toxic memory – you have to first remove the toxic memory by dealing with that toxic mind-set that is was built from! The church has been told to put on Jesus but they have not been told to take off the rust first and then put Jesus back on. If you try to put Jesus on top of the rust, the rust is going to come through. There is one thing about rust: It has a power in it that is unbelievable – there is not one type of paint that can defeat it if it is not eliminated first before you put the coating on. It is the same way with sin: it will eat through every bit of Jesus you coat yourself with until you get it out of your life.
Continuing with our story, the man said to Henry, “I need to take this car and do a restoration if you really want it to be the way it was originally created to be.” Henry said, “OK, that sounds good.” The man then said, “I’ll need this car for two years.” Henry exclaimed, “Two years!!! I thought it would just be a week maybe.” He said, “No Sir, I’ll need it for two years to strip it down to the frame and start over again.”
I have had people come to me for help because they have this rust of life and they want a spray job. They want a quick fix or a light switch experience. They want God to supernaturally heal them in an instant. So when I say it may take a year or two to get them straightened out, they say “See you later!” and go look for a healing explosion elsewhere. They want to look good but they don’t want to go back to the factory to get fixed because it’s too much hard work.
Continuing with our story again, Henry then said to the man, “Well how much is this going to cost?” (This is back in the 1980s when minimum wage was about U.S. $2,00). He said, “About U.S. $13 000”. Henry sold the car the next week. Today the restored car is worth close to U.S. $75 000. Henry didn’t have that kind of vision to put the investment into something that would have been worth a fortune if he had just hung on to the concept. He wishes he had that car today but he can’t buy it back because it is too expensive. Well he could buy as rusty one and start over again but even the rusty ones that need a lot of work are U.S. $25 000.
I share this story because God looks at you like a classic car. There are things from the devil’s kingdom that have joined you in your life to give you rust. That rust is called sin (the toxic mind-sets and addictions that came with it) and it is not looking good on you. But God wants to take you back to the factory for a restoration so that He can remove those things that are not pleasing to Him because He has a higher value of you in eternity than you have of yourself for it is written:
1 Corinthians 2 v 9: “Eye has not seen and ear has not heard and has not entered into the heart of man [all that] God has prepared (made and keeps ready) for those who love Him…”
Don’t sell your birth right for a plate of stew! Let God begin to take those rust pockets out of your life and let God remake you into what He saw before the foundation of the world and what He saw was not an Esau! What He saw was a son or a daughter of God. So would you hold out in your life for what God saw? Would you be prepared to put in the investment required for you to be restored in spirit, soul and body so that you can have and enjoy life and have it in abundance until it overflows!
Galatians 6 v 9: “And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.”
When you get discouraged and the battle seems endless, remember that you are reprogramming a very worldly, fleshly, carnal mind that has had plenty of practice at freely thinking wrong thoughts without any effort and just following the cravings and demands of your flesh whenever you feel like it. Your mind is like a computer that has had a life time of rubbish programmed into it. So reprogramming it to think like God thinks is not going to happen overnight, it’s going to take time and effort. It is difficult but with God’s grace it is not impossible. No matter what the condition of your mind and life is like at this moment – don’t give up! Keep on keeping on! Little by little, with God’s grace, you can take back every piece of ground that the devil has robbed from you. Don’t be discouraged if your progress seems slow. Renewing of your mind will take place little by little.
Deuteronomy 7 v 22: “And the Lord your God will clear out those nations before you, little by little; you may not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase among you.”
God told the Israelites when they were about to enter the Promised Land that He would defeat their enemies little by little so that the “beasts of the field” which is probably pride would not increase among them. It would be very easy for us to get puffed up with pride if we overcame our problems too easily and too quickly. We live in the microwave age where we like things to happen instantaneously. You didn’t get into this mess overnight and sometimes you don’t get out of it overnight. The Bible said, “In the same hour the evil spirit departed.” It didn’t say instantly. Everybody wants the light switch experience – that works about 5% of the time and the rest of it is an application of truth and persevering through the process of renewing your mind.
There have been times when to my surprise the person was instantly healed after simply repenting for the sin behind the disease. However, most people have had to apply the principles of renewing their minds for several weeks, or months as they gradually recovered until they were fully healed. For some people it has taken 30 days, for others it took 90 days and for some it even took one to two years of renewing their minds before they fully recovered from their diseases. I cannot predict God and tell you exactly when you are going to be fully set free from the bondage of addictions. He is Sovereign and His ways and thoughts are far above mine. He heals each person in a different and unique way, depending on the work He wants to do in your character.
So if after praying you don’t see an immediate manifestation of your desire, do not be dismayed or go into doubt and unbelief because that means nothing – in the hours, days and months ahead God is performing that which you have set your heart upon. However it is going to be how He wants to do it and it is in His time. There are blocks to healing and one of those blocks is telling God how He is going to do it. You cannot expect God to heal you and set you free on your own terms according to how you think it should be done. As God begins dealing with your heart, work with Him and in time your cravings will disappear. If you are not healed within a reasonable time, don’t go into guilt and into anger because that is going to slow you down for several years.
Joyce Meyer says that “Sometimes God takes His time in bringing about our full deliverance because He uses that difficult period of waiting to stretch our faith and let patience have her perfect work. (James 1 v 4).” My grandfather has a saying which I often quote, “God doesn’t always pay on Fridays, but He pays on time.” When we have to endure the slow progress of being set free from sin and wrong ways of thinking and the bondages that come with it, we learn that apart from God we can do nothing (John 15 v 5). We are kept humble as we learn through experience that we are totally dependent on Him and that we can accomplish nothing long lasting in our own strength. When we attempt to change ourselves in our own strength, fail and “suffer a little while,” we realize that only God can deliver us. When the freedom finally comes, we deeply appreciate it because we know that God has done for us what we could not do ourselves.
1 Peter 5 v 10: “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace [Who imparts all blessing and favour], Who has called you to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, and strengthen and settle you.”
When you fail – and you will as you go through the process of changing your thinking and renewing your mind – it doesn’t mean you are a failure. You only fail when you give up. Don’t get discouraged when you mess up and have a bad day. Just pick yourself up, wipe the dust off your face and keep on keeping on. As Joyce Meyer says, “When a baby is learning to walk, he falls many, many times before He enjoys the confidence of walking. However, one thing in a baby’s favour is the fact that, even though he may cry for a while after falling, he always gets right back up and tries again.” The Bible says that though the righteous fall seven times the Lord with His hand shall lift them up (Proverbs 24 v 16). Wow, what a promise! Another good saying is, “Three steps forward and two steps back is a good day.” But what happens when you haven’t yet learned how to overcome is that when you take those three steps forward and you lose those two, you just forget that you still got the one! That one step is the foundation for the next step. The Bible says from glory to glory (i.e. little by little) we are being changed into His image!
The devil will do his very best to hinder and discourage you in the process of changing your thinking and renewing your mind. The reason is because he knows that he will no longer control your life and health because he can no longer control your mind. He will no longer be able to keep you in the bondage of addictions once you have removed the mind-sets that cause it. So another way he will try to stop you is with condemnation when you mess up. When he brings those thoughts of condemnation to your mind, you quote Romans 8 v 1 to him. Tell him, “Take your condemnation and hit the road jack! There is now no condemnation for me in Christ because I walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh!” The issue with the devil is that he has already been defeated at the Cross and he is a sore loser. He’s in a panic because he knows that his days are numbered (Daniel 5 v 25 – 28) and he only has a short time left. He’s going to try to convince you that God has lost and he has won. So when the devil discourages you and condemns you with your past – just remind him of his future – he and all his angels are headed for eternal banishment in the lake of fire – that’s their destiny.
Revelations 12 v 12: “…for the devil has come down to you in fierce anger (fury), because he knows that he has [only] a short time [left]!”
Remember it all starts in your thoughts: if you choose to meditate on thoughts like “It’s too difficult, I just can’t do it. I’ll never overcome this; nothing seems to be changing so I may as well just give up. When I pray it’s like talking to a brick wall. God is probably disappointed because I keep failing and messing up, so that is why He is not listening to my prayers.” If you think on thoughts like these you are going to get discouraged and feel condemned. So purposefully choose to take those thoughts which are lies from the enemy captive under the obedience of Christ when they come and replace them with thoughts of encouragement. Joyce Meyer has a very good saying that may encourage you when progress seems slow: “I’m OK and I’m on my way, I’m not where I need to be, but thank God I’m not where I used to be!” Do you already feel uplifted and encouraged by this kind of positive thinking?
Some progress is better than no progress at all – at least you are in the right direction and you are on your way to freedom. Remember it is God Who is all the while at work within you – He is the One bringing about the change and He will be faithful to bring the good work He has started in you to full completion.
Philippians 2 v 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 1 v 6: “And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up until the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.”
So be determined not to give up until you cross the finish line of this journey in victory and experience the freedom that Jesus paid such a high price to give you!
OH AND BE CAREFUL NOT TO FALL INTO THE DEVIL’S CLEVER TRAP: THE LIE OF PROCRASTINATION – putting things off until tomorrow is another form of disobedience that the devil uses to rob us of years, one day at a time. Prayerfully set a date and stick to it!
Want more Freedom ? Then Continue to the
12 Steps to Spiritual Freedom !