Focus: Progress that leads to blessing
James 1:25 (NKJV) But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.
It’s hard to believe how many people make a considerable amount of progress in their recovery from depression and addiction—and then ‘fall back’ into the same trap from which they struggled so hard to be free. To someone who hasn’t had problems in these areas, the ongoing fight seems futile and difficult to grasp. There are a number of reasons why a person in recovery can continue to be so easily drawn back.
For starters, the fact that a person has made some improvement can cause them to feel like the battle is over and they don’t have to use as much self-discipline anymore. A false sense of confidence in their accomplishment sometimes leads them to believe that the real battle is over and they are ‘beyond’ ever falling as far as they fell in the past, again. With this attitude, they let their guard down. From there—it’s a short distance to where they were before.
Another reason is, the lifestyle of a person who has battled in these areas has usually led them to relationships with others with the same difficulties. ‘History’ takes a toll on many who have made some progress in recovery—as they continue to associate with people who may not be trying to recover.
When a person has spent a considerable amount of time in the lifestyle of depression and addiction—making the decision to work toward recovery is like moving to a foreign country. Everything in the past has been centered around their behavior problem. Their whole existence has become connected to their area of weakness. It is such a total involvement that even when the choice of recovery has been made—there can be a ‘loneliness’ for the past. No matter how painful the past has been—it is, after all familiar. The patterns and behavior tied to their weakness have become so ‘second nature’, the person no longer knows how to live any other way.
Making the decision to ‘look into the perfect law of liberty’ isn’t just a simple exchange of their old life for a new life. There is a need for constant exposure to the Word of God so that their mind not only becomes renewed, but maintained on a different level. Layers of complicated soul ties need to be broken. There must be an active pursuit of a new lifestyle that agrees with wholeness and righteousness.
Progress can only be measured at the end of each day—for that day.
As you are working toward your own recovery, you will experience many different emotions. Some days you will be stronger than others. You may go through periods of time where your past is the last thing on your mind and you are moving forward by leaps and bounds. And then without notice—you may wake up one day feeling melancholy and not as confident about your future and your ability to keep making progress.
After you’ve made some improvement—you still need to keep a sharp eye out for the tricks of the enemy of your soul. Remember, he can be relentless. He doesn’t want you to win. He will try in any way he can to get you right back to the bottom of the pit. He has fooled people who were smarter than you into thinking they could ‘lighten up a little bit’. And that’s all it took.
James 1:25 is one of those verses you might want to print out and hang on the wall. It’s simple, but profound. What it really says is that God wants to bless you in your efforts to walk in liberty. He has made a way of escape for you through the power in the Word of God and the blood of Jesus that covers your past and all your failure. But in order to receive the blessing He offers—you have to do your part. You have to continue seeking liberty instead of bondage. You have to keep hearing the Word of God and not think you’ve already heard enough and you can just slack off on that. You need to be doing what the Word of God says in all areas of your life day after day.
‘Being free’ is a gift from God. It’s not something you can do on your own, but you do have to cooperate. Freedom and liberty are blessings, or ‘rewards’ given to those who sincerely want to recover from a past of failure and bondage. Blessings are for the present and the future. To live in the condition of being blessed by God means you are ‘being continually blessed’. It means you constantly have something to look forward to because the mercies of God are new everyday. God’s blessings for today and for your future, are worth more than anything behind you.
Continue to work with God. He is ‘for you’. He wants you to win this. He doesn’t want you back at the bottom of that pit. He can help you keep a tight rein on your emotions and behavior. Stay close to Him and keep making progress.
Declaration: The blessing of God is more important to me than my old ways. I won’t take my progress for granted and be fooled into a relapse. I will take each day seriously and do my part to keep moving forward.
All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee as of the date they were written and posted. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog. This material will be published as a book at the end of 2012, by the grace of God.
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