Friday, October 30, 2020

Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ - Part 13

Chapter 13 - His Part and Ours

In order to have our minds fully prepared to do battle against addictive desires and the sin that dwells in our flesh, we must understand clearly what God will do for us, and what He expects us to do. I have heard numerous people who were struggling with various sins declare, “I have asked God to take this away from me time after time, and it has not gone away.” I have heard this confession in reference to the desire to drink, or to do drugs, and even from those who are struggling with anger.

I wrestled with the question of what God would do for me, and what He expected me to do, for many years. As a young man struggling with sexual lust and an attraction to pornography I sought diligently to understand this matter. I sought the counsel of pastors and church elders, but never received the answer I needed. I looked for books on the topic, and I even found one that had the same title as this chapter, but I was disappointed when I read the book and found that it was not written to answer the specific questions I had.

My upbringing in church had left me confused concerning the matter of what God’s role was in my overcoming sin, and what my own part was. I had heard ministers declare that we must be like Paul who prayed that God might remove his thorn in the flesh. I have found that this is the mindset of many struggling with addiction. Their response before God is to simply ask Him to take the evil desire out of them. When they have prayed this many times, and the desire has not gone away, they are often left confused and doubting. This was my own experience while wrestling to overcome a desire for pornography.

Adding to my confusion was the testimony of many men and women who declared that when they became Christians that some sin they had been enslaved to all their lives was suddenly gone. I have heard reputable accounts of men who cursed like a sailor all their lives, but when they were born again of the Spirit the desire to curse left them, and it was never again a problem. I have heard of men who were marvelously delivered from alcohol or drugs or cigarettes in the same way, and I believe these accounts to be true. I could not understand why God would not do the same in my life, as I had asked Him many times to take away the impure sexual desires.

It wasn’t until later years when the Spirit began to open my eyes to see the parables in Scripture that I understood the truth of this matter and received the long sought after answer. The answer to my question was right before me in the account of the Israelites going in to take possession of the land of Canaan. As we have seen, the land of Canaan is a type and shadow of man’s flesh. It is in man that Christ seeks to establish His kingdom. The enemies we face are those sinful desires and passions that reside within our flesh.

As the Spirit began to open up to me the parable of Israel’s battles, I saw an amazing thing. There were times when God drove some enemy out of the land without Israel having to lift a finger against them. Following is one such account.

Joshua 24:12
“Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.”

Without the Israelites having to enter into battle at all, God defeated these two enemies in the land of Canaan. Yahweh completely drove them out by sending hornets into their midst. This story finds its parallel in the lives of those men and women who have been marvelously delivered from some besetting sin without them ever having to fight a battle against it.

The Spirit revealed to me through Israel’s history that although He may choose to drive out some of the enemies in the land of our flesh in this way, He will never drive out all the enemies in this fashion. He will always leave some enemies in the land that we might learn spiritual warfare. Yahweh left some enemies in the land that Joshua’s generation did not drive out fully. He did so that future generations might also learn warfare.

Judges 3:1-4
Now these are the nations which Yahweh left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly)... They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of Yahweh, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses.

This is clearly a spiritual parable for the Christian today. Yahweh wants all His children to experience spiritual warfare. In this way we will not only grow strong and skillful in the weapons of our warfare, but Yahweh will prove those whose hearts are fully given to Him. If we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength then we will not rest until all the enemies have been routed. If we do not love God it will be revealed in our lack of vigor in seeking to rule over the flesh. Yahshua said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments.” He has commanded us to rule over the flesh.

As you seek to overcome the desires in your flesh you must understand that God would not have you to pray that He would take the desire away. If He has not freely removed an enemy in our flesh, then He would have us to do battle against it. To ask God to take away the struggle would be similar to an Israelite facing an enemy and saying “God, I don’t want to fight this enemy. Please make them go away!” God will not do such a thing. He wants you and I to learn spiritual warfare.

There are many Scriptures in the New Testament that pick up this analogy of the Christian overcoming sin being like a soldier engaged in a battle. Our weapons are not physical, like a sword and a spear and a shield. The Christian has been given spiritual weapons.

II Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...

We are not fighting against a physical enemy. We are waging war against passions and desires and thoughts. Our weapons are those that will enable us to destroy every thought that rises up against the obedience of Christ.

Ephesians 6:10-18
Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit...

We will look at the weapons of our warfare in more detail in a later chapter. For now we want to make the point that God will not deliver you from addiction without you having to practice warfare. It is vain for a Believer to constantly ask God to remove the desire, or evil passion from their flesh. He wants you to cast it down. He wants you to destroy it, and He has given you everything necessary to face this enemy and prevail.

Satan will seek to tempt us to sin, and he will suggest thoughts to us that are contrary to the will of God. There have been times when some impure thought would enter my mind and I would cast it down only to have it appear again. At times this warfare would last for hours. In this way Satan seeks to probe for weakness. He wants to see if our commitment to obeying God has limits. God also wants to reveal the same thing, so He allows Satan to attack us. We must remember that God has promised to always set a limit to the trial that we might be able to overcome, but we will be pressed severely at times. The Scriptures declare:

James 4:7
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

This is a promise. If we resist the devil he will flee. However, there is no word here that indicates how long we must resist before he will flee. I have learned that Satan hates to be defeated. When he has determined that we are not going to give in to his attacks, he will cease attacking us in a particular area. If he has any doubt, and he believes he might win, he will continue to press us relentlessly. The best thing we can do is to determine to never give the enemy any hope of victory. When he sees our commitment to obey God, he will tire of attacking us.

In college I took a psychology course and we studied operant conditioning. Tests were done on rats to study their behavior. It was discovered that if a rat pushed a button and received food from it, they would always come back to that button and push it again. If they pushed a button and never received a food pellet, then they would give up and never go back to pushing that button. However, if there was a button that gave pellets randomly, sometimes providing a pellet, but other times not providing a pellet, the rat would keep pushing the button until he received what he desired. Even if he had to push the button 99 times before receiving a pellet, he would persist because he knew that it would eventually release that which he sought.

Satan operates much the same way in our lives. If he has any hope that in persisting to push our buttons that he will entice us to abandon our obedience to Christ and give into temptation, he will keep on doing so. When he sees  there is no longer any hope of producing the desired result of sin, he will give up. Satan’s role is therefore beneficial to the Christian. By his attacks he serves to reveal if there is some area of our life where we are not fully committed to obedience.

God wants to prove our love for Him. He could have driven all the enemies out of the land of our flesh when we first came to Him. His goal, however, is not merely to have a land devoid of enemies, it is to have mature sons and daughters who love Him and are fully committed to Him. For this reason He requires that you and I engage in the battle. In this way we are made strong spiritually, and our love for God is proven.

Heart4God Website:    

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ - Part 12

Chapter 12 - Christ, Our Counselor

It is normal when struggling with some addictive desire to want someone to give you a specific set of ordered steps that you can follow in order to attain victory. What we have seen thus far in this book are some foundational things that must be attended to in order to have any hope of overcoming addiction. There are also things a person should be doing every day in order to build up the spirit man. But overcoming is not found in a series of ordered steps. It is found as we walk in the Spirit.

The church has a tendency to package things into a nice neat packet of rules to follow, or principles to adhere unto. I listened to a preacher named Dudley Hall share a revelation on this matter. He said that he had a conversation with a friend who had told him that he had finally found a list of ordered rules that truly worked. When asked what they were, Dudley’s friend replied, “The first rule is ‘Do the next thing the Spirit tells you to do.’” He then stated, “The second rule is ‘Then do the next thing the Spirit tells you to do.’” He concluded that all the steps were the same.

I thought this was wonderful advice, and it is in keeping with the counsel of the word of God.

Romans 8:14
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

It is not Yahweh’s desire that His children should be led by a book full of rules and regulations. Living in such a way tends to lead men to distance themselves from the presence of God. When we look to a body of legal code to tell us what to do in every instance, then we neglect to seek the face of God. Our Father desires that we should be in communion with Him daily. He wants us to ask Him for understanding, and to seek Him for direction. As we do so, we are kept in communication with Him.

Consider the following analogy. Suppose your earthly father gave you a book when you were young, and he had written down instructions to guide you in everything you were to experience throughout your life. When some situation arose in which you were unsure of your father’s will, you would get out the book and find some instruction that would guide you in that particular situation. The result of operating in such a way is that you would spend far less time in the presence of your father. This is not a result that Yahweh desires. Practically, such a book would be impossible to write. Even the Bible does not contains specific instructions regarding the Lord’s will in all situations.

For example, consider a young man that is considering marriage. There are Scriptures that lay out some general principles on marriage. A Christian is only to marry another Christian is one such instruction. But the Bible does not tell you what specific person you should marry, or even if you should marry at all. Perhaps you are struggling with knowing whether you should marry Susie, or if it would be better to marry Sally. The Bible will not tell you, and God has designed it this way for a purpose. He wants us to speak directly with Him. He doesn’t want His children to walk apart from His presence.

The Believer’s life is to be one of abiding in Christ. We must always stay connected to the source of divine life. We dare not walk away from His presence. The Spirit of Christ dwelling in us is capable of the most intimate and specific instructions.

I Corinthians 2:11-13
For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

If you are a Christian, you have received the Spirit of Christ to instruct you and lead you in all things. This even includes the specific instructions regarding how you are to overcome your addictive desires. Do not make the mistake of thinking that because the Lord led one person to do a particular thing, that He will lead everyone in the same manner. He will not. There may be general principles that we must all follow, but the specifics of our battle to overcome addiction will be tailored to us as individuals.
We can see the truth of this as we once more look at the history of the Israelites as they went in to take possession of the land and drive out all the enemies. Yahweh gave the people specific instructions for each battle. Each city they conquered was fought in a different way.

The first city that Yahweh led the people to conquer was Jericho. Under the leadership of Joshua they were shown precisely what to do, and it was a most unusual battle plan. Yahweh instructed all the people to march around the city of Jericho once a day for six days. As they marched they were to remain silent. On the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times, and after the seventh time around the priests were instructed to blow the trumpets and all the people were to shout. Yahweh promised them that as they did so the walls would fall down.

Now, you or I would never in our wildest imagination have come up with such a peculiar plan of battle. Our knowledge of how battles are conventionally fought would have most likely shaped our idea of how Jericho should be conquered. We might have thought of laying siege to the city, or constructing some type of towers, or using battering rams on the gates. I do not think any of us would have come up with the idea to simply march around it as Yahweh instructed them to do. But Yahweh’s plan worked. When the people shouted the walls of Jericho fell down and the people of the city were undefended. Israel then went in and easily conquered the city.

There is absolutely nothing written in Scripture that is without a purpose. We should anticipate that there are great lessons for us in the detailed description of Israel’s conquest of Jericho. Yahweh wants us to understand that the battles in our lives are not to be fought according to the wisdom of the world. We are always to get our battle plan from Him. He will direct us with great precision, and as we do exactly as He says, He will insure that we come forth victorious.

After the conquest of Jericho, the Lord instructed the Israelites to go up against the city of Ai. If the Israelites had done as many Christians do today, they would have concluded that what worked at Jericho would surely work at Ai as well. But had they marched around the walls, and then shouted on the seventh day, all that would have resulted would have been a spectacle. The people inside the walls would have laughed at all the blowing and hollering going on, for nothing would have happened.

Yahweh had a different plan of attack for Ai. Joshua, however, failed to immediately consult Yahweh to know His mind. We read that Joshua sent some men to spy out Ai, and they brought back a report. It was a smaller city, so Joshua chose to only send a few thousand men to attack it. The Israelites, though more numerous, were routed and thirty-six of them were slain in the battle. Joshua then did what he should have done at the beginning. He fell on his face and prayed to Yahweh. He waited to hear from God, and God spoke to him.

Yahweh informed Joshua that the Israelites had sinned by taking some of the spoil of Jericho and hiding it. They had been commanded to take no spoil from Jericho, for all was to be dedicated to Yahweh as a firstfruit offering in the land. Because they had sinned, they could not face their enemies. They had to deal with the sin first. If Joshua had inquired of Yahweh before sending men to battle, Yahweh would have surely spoken to him and thirty-six lives could have been spared.

After seeking Yahweh’s face, and removing the sin from their midst, Yahweh gave them the plan of battle to conquer Ai.

Joshua 8:1-8
Now Yahweh said to Joshua, "Do not fear or be dismayed. Take all the people of war with you and arise, go up to Ai; see, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land. You shall do to Ai and its king just as you did to Jericho and its king; you shall take only its spoil and its cattle as plunder for yourselves. Set an ambush for the city behind it." So Joshua rose with all the people of war to go up to Ai; and Joshua chose 30,000 men, valiant warriors, and sent them out at night. He commanded them, saying, "See, you are going to ambush the city from behind it. Do not go very far from the city, but all of you be ready. Then I and all the people who are with me will approach the city. And when they come out to meet us as at the first, we will flee before them. They will come out after us until we have drawn them away from the city, for they will say, ‘They are fleeing before us as at the first.’ So we will flee before them. And you shall rise from your ambush and take possession of the city, for Yahweh your God will deliver it into your hand. Then it will be when you have seized the city, that you shall set the city on fire. You shall do it according to the word of Yahweh. See, I have commanded you."

We see once again that Yahweh had a very specific plan of attack for the Israelites to follow when seeking to overcome the inhabitants of the land of Canaan. It was His will that they should ALWAYS seek Him to know how the battle was to be fought. The tendency to judge things by appearances is deeply ingrained in our flesh. This was the cause for Israel’s first failure. They went and looked things over, and decided that they would attack according to the way that seemed most reasonable. We are not to judge things by appearance, nor make decisions according to our natural reason. We are called to be a people of the Spirit. “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

We see how deeply ingrained this tendency was in the hearts of the Israelites in an event that occurred next. Dwelling right in the middle of the land of Canaan was a group of people called the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites had heard how Israel had destroyed Jericho and Ai, as well as all that God did in bringing them out of Egypt. They trembled in fear at the approach of Joshua and his people. Knowing they could not defeat Israel in battle, they thought to defeat them through deception.

The Gibeonites appointed key men to go and ask Joshua to make a treaty of peace with them. They knew Joshua would not do so if he discovered that they dwelt in the midst of the land God had promised to Israel, so they made it appear as if they came from a far land. They put on worn out clothes. They put moldy cheese and dry bread in their bags. They chose worn and patched water flasks to carry. Through these means they sought to deceive Israel into thinking they came from a far land.

These men came to Joshua and the leaders of Israel and told them that they had come from a land far away from Canaan where the fame of Israel had been heard, and they asked for a treaty of peace with them. The leaders of Israel questioned them concerning where they had come from, and asked if they dwelt in the land of Canaan. The Gibeonites denied doing so, and they showed them their food and clothes and water bags as proof that they had journeyed a long way.

Once more the leaders of Israel neglected to consult with Yahweh. The Gibeonites appeared to be telling the truth. Consequently, Joshua made a treaty of peace with them. A few days later their deception was uncovered, but it was too late. A treaty had already been made and the oath had to be honored. Israel was not able to dispossess this people due to the treaty. This enemy dwelt in their land throughout all their days when God desired for them to be conquered.

In the book of Isaiah there is a prophecy of Christ that declares that He would not do as the Israelites did. He would not judge things by appearances.

Isaiah 11:3-4
And He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge...

How do we make decisions if we are not judging by appearances? We do so by pressing into the presence of God and seeking His counsel. This is how Yahshua discerned what He was to do in every instance. We see this same diversity in the actions of Christ as we observe in Yahweh’s battle instructions for Israel. Christ healed a number of blind men during His ministry. Following are a few examples.

Matthew 20:30-34
And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Yahshua was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David...” Moved with compassion, Yahshua touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.
Mark 8:22-25
And they came to Bethsaida. And they brought a blind man to Yahshua and implored Him to touch him. Taking the blind man by the hand, He brought him out of the village; and after spitting on his eyes and laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?"  And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.
Mark 10:46-52
Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Yahshua the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, "Yahshua, Son of David, have mercy on me...” And Yahshua stopped and said, "Call him here." So they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you." Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Yahshua. And answering him, Yahshua said, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" And Yahshua said to him, "Go; your faith has made you well." Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

We observe in each instance that Christ healed the blind in a different fashion. He touched one man’s eyes. He spit on another. To the third He simply spoke a word and he regained his sight. We should not assume that Christ will lead us to victory over the sin in our flesh by the same method He used on another. Even if a dozen men all have the same addiction, Yahweh will not necessarily deal with each one the same. In order to know how God would have you to overcome your addictive desire, you need to receive His counsel. Whatever He tells you, do it. As you do, you will be assured of the victory.

As Christians, we have a tendency to gravitate towards formulas in our dealings with people and their problems. The reason for this is that it is easier for those who are not comfortable walking in the Spirit. When we follow formulas, rules and policies we are never left guessing what to say to a person, or what advice to give them. We already have things packaged and our response becomes automatic. Those who walk according to the Spirit must maintain their communication with God. This mandates that they have no sin in their life of which they have not repented. Sinful men and women can run programs. But only the righteous can walk by the Spirit.

Recently, a brother and I had a discussion concerning what our response should be to people who come up to us in the city asking for money. This is a very frequent occurrence where I live. Many of those who ask for money say it is needed to buy food, or gas, but it ends up at the liquor store or in the pockets of the drug dealer. Knowing this to be a frequent occurrence, many Christians simply decline to give people money when they ask. Others give money without question, believing it is their responsibility to give to the one who asks, and it is up to the recipient what they do with it.

As I thought on this matter, and prayed asking the Lord for wisdom, I was anticipating that He might lead me to some Scripture that would provide a means of determining what my response should be in each instance. Instead, the Spirit declared that He did not want me to rely on a formula, but that He wanted me to trust Him to give me direction at each moment as I was faced with these requests. He revealed that some times He would have me to meet the request without question. Other times He would direct me to purchase the item the person said they needed. Still other times He would instruct me to withhold what was asked for, or to respond in an altogether different manner.

I realized that my soul would have preferred that God simply provide some Scriptural formula upon which I could judge these requests. His ways are higher than ours, however. He much prefers that we abide in Him, and that we learn the sensitivity of spiritual listening. As we develop our spiritual senses we will find in the end that it is a much simpler way to walk, and we will always discern that which Yahweh desires when we are attuned to the voice of the Spirit.

Some people who read this book will find themselves involved in some form of ministry to those who struggle with addiction. Your own church may have a ministry, or a program, to reach out to such ones. You may ask, “Is it wrong to have a program, and to have a specified course of instruction and activity that we lead the people through?” I do not believe it is wrong to have a program, but we must keep in mind that no program will ever serve as a substitute for being led of the Spirit.

It should be an emphasis of every ministry to the addicted that those ministering are Spirit led and Spirit empowered in all they do. The ministers must be men and women who are full of the Spirit. We see this pattern in the book of Acts when the apostles were seeking to appoint men to oversee the ministry of caring for widows.

Acts 6:3
“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.”

If the ministers meet these qualifications, then there is no need to concern oneself about how they are carrying forth their duties. Neither is there a need to hand them a book of policies. What will come forth will be a living and breathing ministry, full of the life of the Spirit of Christ. Programs and policies can actually discourage those involved from being Spirit led. Things may be so regimented and inflexible that there is no room for the Spirit to move.

It seems a much more precarious position to take, to allow individuals to hear from God and make decisions, rather than instructing them in all they are to do. Doing so involves risk, but life is risky. God is always leading us into situations where we are cast upon Him to provide for us and deliver us. Being Spirit led will actually promote fast spiritual growth among those involved in ministry. They will quickly have to learn a sensitivity to the Spirit. They will have to rapidly attain discernment and learn to exercise sound judgment.

It is perhaps helpful to note that in the Bible we never read of God anointing a program, or ministry. His anointing is always upon people and ministers. This is observed in the following verses.

I Kings 19:15-16
Yahweh said to [Elijah], "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

When Yahweh wants some work done, He anoints people. The Spirit is the anointing, and the Spirit is life. Life must be poured into that which it can animate. Programs cannot be animated, but people can. There is no such thing as an anointed ministry. There are only anointed ministers. If you have the best designed program that can be devised, and it is not carried out by Spirit led and empowered people, then it will not produce life.

Any ministry to those struggling with addiction, must of necessity teach those seeking help to hear God’s voice for themselves. Their victory will come as they hear and obey. This instruction in discerning the voice of Christ must be a key part of any ministry to addicts. How can they be instructed to discern the voice of Christ if the ministers are not discerning His voice themselves?

We see then, both by the history of Israel, and the example of Christ, that Yahweh would have us to be a Spirit directed people. He wants us ever abiding in Him. The more dependent we are upon Him for all things, the more we will see Him manifesting His power through our lives.

As you seek to know what specific steps to take in order to overcome your addiction, you must look to God. He will give you specific instructions. Some He will tell to relocate that they might get away from evil influences. Others He will tell to remain where they are at. Some He will tell to change occupations. Some He will instruct to take actions that would make no sense to another, but which are necessary in their own life. The Spirit may instruct you to attend a church that you had not been attending, or to quit attending a church you had been. Whatever our battle plan is in overcoming addiction, we must receive it from the Spirit of Christ.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Monday, October 26, 2020

Overcoming Addiction with the Spirit of Christ - Part 11

Chapter 11 - Overcoming by Our Words

In the previous chapter we read of Israel’s great failure to trust Yahweh when He instructed them to go forth to take possession of the land of Canaan. What I want to emphasize in this chapter is a matter of great importance that the Lord has impressed upon me over the years. What the Spirit has declared to me could be summarized in this way:

It is unavoidable that doubts and unbelief will attack our minds. We will all be faced with trials and beset by fear. There are times when thoughts of unbelief, fear and even rebellion will be present in our hearts, but the transgression only arises as we give voice to these thoughts.

Yahweh would not have prohibited the Israelites from entering the land of Canaan simply because they were troubled in their hearts by fear and unbelief. It was when they allowed these thoughts to manifest in the form of speech that was offensive to God that the transgression came in, and they incurred judgment.

Let me explain this matter more fully. The mind is one of the main battlegrounds where our warfare is waged against sin. It is therefore unavoidable that there will at times be many unworthy thoughts present in our mind. Satan also has access to our minds, and he can suggest things to us that either stir up sin in our members, or that are contrary to what God would have us to do and think. It is not sin for us to have these thoughts present in our mind. It is only sin when we entertain these thoughts when we should be casting them down. This sin is further compounded when we allow these thoughts to manifest in words and actions.

II Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ...

It was not sin for the Israelites to find that there were thoughts of fear and unbelief in their minds. It became sin when they did not rule over these thoughts. Instead, they embraced the fear and unbelief and then gave voice to it. When we voice those thoughts that are contrary to the will and truth of God, then we have set our course and have revealed that we prefer a lie to the truth. God will judge us for preferring a lie over the truth.

II Thessalonians 2:10-12
Because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

As we look at the Israelites, we can discern how they fell under the judgment spoken of in these verses from the apostle Paul. The Israelites did not embrace a love of the truth. This was evident in their despising the manna that Yahweh sent them. This manna, as we have seen, is a symbol of Christ, Who is Truth. Because they did not love the truth God allowed them to believe that which was a lie. When Yahweh was testifying that they were well able to take possession of the land, the enemy, and their sinful flesh, were presenting another message. This false message said that they would be killed by their enemies, and their wives and children would be preyed upon. Because they did not love truth, they were given over to a lie. That these same people took pleasure in wickedness was evident when they made the golden calf in the wilderness and began to commit indecent acts as they reveled in its presence.

If we take pleasure in wickedness, we will not be anxious to embrace the inheritance that Yahweh has set before us. Many men and women prefer the pleasures of sin rather than a promise of a life of righteousness and peace. It is true that all men and women are plagued by these unrighteous desires to some degree, but not all people give themselves over to them. Some are ashamed at these unworthy thoughts, and they struggle to cast them down.

The Israelites, other than Joshua and Caleb, did not cast down these unrighteous thoughts. They embraced lies and then spoke them forth. There is tremendous power in our speech, much more so than most men and women realize. Our entire course in life is set by the words that proceed forth from our mouths. This is why when we come to Christ we not only must believe the truth concerning salvation in His blood, but we must confess it. Things become a part of us as they are spoken.

Romans 10:8-11
But what does it say? "The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart"-- that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Yahshua as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Thoughts become concrete and substantial as they are voiced. This is why Yahweh judged Israel for speaking words of fear and unbelief. To them the lie had become more concrete than His promises to them. They placed more weight on the false report of their senses, and the fear in their heart than upon that which Yahweh swore to them.

Those who would walk in victory over their addictions must guard their confession. It is absolutely necessary to keep words of unbelief in check and to not speak them forth. The Bible declares the following about the power of the spoken word.

Proverbs 18:21
Death and life are in the power of the tongue...

God has created man in His own image. Yahweh is a creative God, and the method of His creation is the spoken word. Yahweh literally spoke, and the world came into being.

Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

God has also granted this creative ability to man. Our world is also framed by the words we speak. If we speak words of unbelief, we will experience a life of defeat. If we speak words of faith, we will experience a life of victory.

We can observe the power of man’s speech in two different events from the life of Peter. When Yahshua ascended He gave power and authority to His disciples. They were to be in the world, even as He was. This extended even to the disciples being granted supernatural power in their speech.

Acts 3:2-8
And a man who had been lame from his mother's womb was being carried along, whom they used to set down every day at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, in order to beg alms of those who were entering the temple... Peter said, "I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Yahshua Christ the Nazarene -- walk!" And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and  immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

We see in this a clear example of the words of man producing life where there was death. A man who was crippled from birth was able to receive life into his legs and go forth walking and leaping. We also can observe similar examples of the power of death in the words of man. In the book of Acts we read of a husband and wife who were practicing lying and deception against the Holy Spirit. Peter once more was used to speak forth the words of God and this time they resulted in death.

Acts 5:9-10
Then Peter said to her, "Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well." And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband.

We see then that by means of a spoken word either life or death can result. What is not commonly understood by Christians is that this principle is always at work. Our words are a creative force. We do not always see the result in such an immediate and spectacular fashion, but our words always have an effect. I have at times shuddered as I have listened to Christians speak unguarded words that have arisen from an impure source. Rather than confessing the truth that Yahweh has declared to them, they speak forth all the fear and unbelief that is in their soul. I have observed these same ones crippled in their spiritual walk as it has become exceedingly difficult for them to embrace the promises of God. It is therefore necessary that all those who are seeking to rule over sin and addictive desires be careful to control that which comes out of their mouth. If you are confessing that your addiction is too strong for you, then it will be.

It is not my intent in this book to campaign against worldly programs for those who struggle with addictions, but I feel it is necessary to declare something here. Many people in and out of the church are led to participate in 12 step programs that are not the product of the Spirit of Christ. I have sat in on many of these meetings. As the meetings open, every person introduces themselves and a common declaration is made by those in attendance. They say, “My name is _____ and I am an alcoholic.” If they are a drug addict, they simply substitute this for the word alcoholic.

Satan understands the power in our words, and he has accomplished a great victory in bringing untold millions of men and women to make a confession of their continued bondage to sin in this way. Such a confession is contrary to the truth of God. The apostle Paul wrote the following to the Christians at Corinth.

I Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Yahshua Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But this is not who Christians are. Our confession is always in the past tense regarding our slavery to sin. “Such WERE some of you.” Christians are not these things now, though they may have been in the past. Christ breaks every bondage. He has set the captives free. You were washed. You were sanctified (set apart as holy to God). You were justified in the name of Christ.

To continue to declare that you are an addict or an alcoholic after being born anew of the Spirit of Christ is a false confession. It is the same as if the Israelites had gotten out into the wilderness, and had seen Pharaoh and his armies drowned in the sea, but they continued to confess that they were Pharaoh’s slaves. How preposterous! Neither are the children of God slaves to sin anymore. We must put on a new mindset, and we must begin to confess those things that God declares concerning our identity in Christ.

Those who spoke in agreement with Yahweh’s promises to them were able to enter the land and defeat the enemies that dwelt therein. Those who confessed their weakness and inability, and who failed to reckon on the presence of God in them, failed to enter and overcome all adversaries.

Numbers 14:22-24
“Surely all the men who have seen My glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have not listened to My voice, shall by no means see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who spurned Me see it. But My servant Caleb, because he has had a different spirit and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land which he entered, and his descendants shall take possession of it.”

Caleb made the good confession. He spoke no words of unbelief. He was careful to insure that his words were in accordance with Yahweh’s promises, and he and his descendants reaped the rewards. No enemy could stand before them. Caleb continued to make a good confession during the entire forty years that he waited in the wilderness for his generation to die. As he maintained a good confession he grew strong. We read the following concerning him.

Joshua 14:10-11
"Now behold, Yahweh has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that Yahweh spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now behold, I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in.”

Caleb’s strength for warfare had not diminished even when he was 85 years old. When the Israelites went into the land, Caleb put many who were much younger to shame. He had spent forty years making a positive confession of Yahweh’s power to defeat His enemies. He was completely transformed by the words he spoke, and the result was that he did greater exploits than any other man when he entered the land.

Yahweh had promised Caleb that he would be able to choose any part of the land he desired when Israel entered in, for he had believed God. There was a very choice part of the land. It was hill country and had streams and fields and was very fertile. It was consequently also very well defended, and the greatest of the giants dwelt in this area. Yet Caleb went to Joshua and said this was the very portion he desired. He said that if Joshua would allow him to have it that he would slay the giants that dwelt there. The Anakim lived there, and these were the giants of old.

Joshua 14:12-15
Now then, give me this hill country about which Yahweh spoke on that day, for you heard on that day that Anakim were there, with great fortified cities; perhaps Yahweh will be with me, and I will drive them out as Yahweh has spoken." So Joshua blessed him and gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore, Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite until this day, because he followed Yahweh God of Israel fully. Now the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba; for Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim. Then the land had rest from war.

Caleb was surely tested by fear as other men, but he refused to allow fear to rule in his mind. He cast down the fear in his mind, and he embraced faith in God. When this one area of land had been unconquered due to the great fortresses there and the tremendous size of the giants, Caleb was not daunted. It is interesting to note that this same city of Hebron was later to be the place where David, the man after God’s heart, would be made king. David manifested the same heart as Caleb. David slew the giant Goliath, and he did so by the power of his confession.

I Samuel 17:45-47
Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day Yahweh will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that Yahweh does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is Yahweh’s and He will give you into our hands."

As you see the giants that reside in your flesh, let this also be the manner of your confession. Boldly proclaim that this enemy that stands before you in defiance of God will be laid at your feet. Declare that you will remove its head, which is a symbol of cutting off its authority over your life. Oh that Yahweh might have many such men and women of faith in this hour who will arise to destroy the works of Satan and bring in the Kingdom of God!

As you destroy the enemies in the land you encourage the hearts of those who doubt. If you are valiant as was Caleb, Yahshua may even allow you to choose to fight an enemy that others have been unwilling to fight. In doing so you will encourage the hearts of those who have been tormented by this enemy. Your victory will enable them to stand and defeat that which has stood in defiance before them.

I have some family members who have been taken captive by the giant of fear. The Lord spoke to me a few years back and told me that if I would face this giant and overcome it, that my victory would serve to loose those I love from this evil tyrant. Let us therefore be valiant. Let us feed upon the Word of God and become strong. Let us cast down every thought that exalts itself against the true knowledge of God.
Our words have power in them. By them the enemy is defeated, By our words we win the victory.

Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”

Guard your lips, for the power of life and death are in the tongue.

Heart4God Website:    

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Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Friday, October 23, 2020

Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ - Part 10

Chapter 10 - Faith Seals the Victory

The history of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan is well known to most Christians, as it comprises a major portion of the books of Moses, the first five books of the Bible. Yahweh promised the Israelites that He would lead them forth to a land flowing with milk and honey which He would give to them and to their children as a possession. He told them they would need to drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, but He would be with them and He would fight for them.

Those familiar with the history of Israel know that the generation which came out of Egypt failed to enter into their possession. All those above the age of twenty who came out of Egypt died in the wilderness, except for Caleb and Joshua. This generation spent forty years wandering around in wilderness places, until their generation had passed away. The reason for their inability to enter the land of Canaan and establish the kingdom of God was unbelief.

It is ever God’s design that those who are called out of the world as His children should proceed quickly to begin a conquest of the land of their flesh. Many Christians, however, mirror the historical account of Israel. Even after it has been many years since God first called them, they have made no progress in subduing the land of their flesh. A great number of Christians spend their entire lives wandering in a barren wilderness where there is no fruit from their lives that comes forth for the glory of God. They are still ruled by the sin in their flesh, and the kingdom of God has not been established in them in righteousness and peace.

The reasons for Christians failing to take possession of the land of their flesh are the same today as they were for the Israelites 3,500 years ago. Chapter eight focused upon the need to lay aside the diet of the world and begin feeding on the Bread of Heaven. It is only as we do this that our faith is built up and our spiritual strength is increased. We know the Israelites despised the food God sent them and demanded flesh to eat. Therefore they were unprepared when it was time to go forth in battle and take possession of the land. In the same way, if we are not feeding on the Word of God we will be ill equipped for the spiritual warfare to which we have been called.

It was only a relatively short time that God would have kept the Israelites in the wilderness. Yahweh would have led the Israelites very quickly from the receiving of the Law into the conquest of the land of Canaan, but their disobedience kept delaying things. God would also lead us very quickly from receiving His Spirit to a conquest of the sin that dwells in our flesh. Yet, like Israel, we can delay our victory over all the enemies that reside in our flesh. By despising the Bread of Heaven, through idolatry (loving the world and the things in it), and by rebellion against God’s authority, we can delay that which God would have us to perform quickly.

When the Israelites finally arrived at the border of the land of promise, Moses sent forth twelve men to spy out the land and bring back a report. These twelve men spent forty days walking across the length and breadth of Canaan. They saw an exceptionally good land. It was fertile and well watered. There were vineyards and farms and orchards already planted. It was something to be greatly desired, and it held forth the promise of a magnificent dream come true for those who had known nothing but slavery all of their lives. To have their own land as a possession, and to serve God in freedom while enjoying many blessings, was more than any of them could have anticipated while living in bondage to Egypt.

The spies also saw large numbers of people dwelling in the land. There were strongholds and walled cities which would have to be conquered. And there were giants in the land. It is easy to judge the people of Israel as lacking courage, but we must remember they serve as “types of us.” Most Christians do no better when Christ calls them to go forth and take possession of the land of their flesh.
We too have giants in the land. Our bodies are inhabited by many enemies, and there are strongholds and walled cities that must be conquered. What are the enemies you have identified in the land of your flesh? As this book is addressed to those struggling with addiction, I would suspect that many have identified alcoholism, drug addiction and pornography as giants they must fight. When you look at these giants, how do you see yourself in comparison?

Yahweh desires to completely change your life. He desires to take a land that is polluted by sin, and filled with desires and passions that are at enmity with Him, and establish peace and righteousness. He wants to take your spiritually barren life and transform it into a fruitful garden. He has given His children His Spirit that they might find the fruit of the Spirit flourishing within them.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

This fruit is absent from our lives when we come to Christ. If we have been ruled by sin and addictive desires, we cannot say that we have goodness, or self-control. If we have walked in selfishness, we have not manifested love, for the Scriptures state “love does not seek its own.” If we have been depressed or anxious even to the point of taking prescription drugs to seek to counteract these enemies in the land, then we have not had peace. If we have wanted our fleshly desires satisfied immediately, even to the point that some would resort to theft, then we have manifested neither patience nor kindness. None of the fruit of the Spirit are present in our lives when our bodies are ruled by these enemies. Therefore the enemies must all be conquered.

Can you envision your life becoming a land of abundant fruitfulness that is pleasing to God? Can you envision your entire being filled with the presence of Christ and experiencing love, joy, peace and all the other fruit of the Spirit? Can you imagine a life where you are no longer looking over your shoulder waiting for judgment to catch up with you, but instead your only expectation is the Father’s praise as He looks at your life? This is Yahweh’s desire for you, and He has promised to make it a reality if you will trust Him and obey.

As great and precious as the promises are, many fall short of possessing them due to the warfare that is required. They are daunted by the enemies in the land. They manifest either a lack of desire for the things God has promised, or a lack of confidence in Yahweh’s power and good intentions. Listen to the report of the men who spied out the land of Canaan.

Numbers 13:25-33
When they returned from spying out the land, at the end of forty days, they proceeded to come to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation of the sons of Israel in the wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; and they brought back word to them and to all the congregation and showed them the fruit of the land. Thus they told him, and said, "We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak (the Anakim were giants) there. Amalek is living in the land of the Negev and the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites are living in the hill country, and the Canaanites are living by the sea and by the side of the Jordan." Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, "We should by all means go up and take possession of it, for we will surely overcome it." But the men who had gone up with him said, "We are not able to go up against the people, for they are too strong for us." So they gave out to the sons of Israel a bad report of the land which they had spied out, saying, "The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants; and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great size. There also we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak are part of the Nephilim); and we became like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight."

As you consider the giants in the land of your flesh, do you see yourself as a grasshopper in comparison? If we were left to our own strength and resources this is truly how we should see ourselves. But, as we read in the last chapter, we are not left to face the enemies in the land of our flesh by our own strength and wisdom. God has said He will fight for us, and that together we will overwhelmingly conquer all enemies.

Caleb and Joshua were the only two men who went in to spy out the land who calculated their ability to take possession of it by reckoning on God being with them. We read further the words of Joshua and Caleb.

Numbers 14:6-9
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, "The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If Yahweh is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us -- a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against Yahweh; and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and Yahweh is with us; do not fear them."

This should be the mindset of all those who have been called out of the world by God. If you have received the Spirit of Christ to indwell you, then you should do all your reckoning with the knowledge that you are not alone. God is both present with you, and He will fight for you. The protection has been removed from all of our enemies. Addiction cannot stand before the child of God who will believe and obey. It has no more power against God than a house of cards has to resist the force of a hurricane. Addictions of all kinds are so overmatched when compared to the power of God working in us, as to make their chances of victory laughable. The God who created the Universe with a word, and Who holds all things together by the strength of His might, is not daunted by the enemies that dwell in our flesh.

It is not a lack of available power that will keep any man or woman from conquering the enemies in the land. It is unbelief. Consider the words of those who did not share the faith manifested by Joshua and Caleb.

Numbers 14:1-4
Then all the congregation lifted up their voices and cried, and the people wept that night. All the sons of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron; and the whole congregation said to them, "Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would that we had died in this wilderness! Why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder; would it not be better for us to return to Egypt?" So they said to one another, "Let us appoint a leader and return to Egypt."

Fear and unbelief are perpetually the enemies of faith. Fear and unbelief will cause us to despise faith even as the sons of Israel despised Moses and Aaron. When Joshua and Caleb persisted in telling the people that they were well able to go in and take possession of the land, the people responded by speaking of stoning them to death.

There are many Christians today who view the battles God would lead them forth into, and they are met with the fear and unbelief of their flesh. They begin to look for other leaders who will not make them face their enemies. It does not matter if their only options are to die in the wilderness, or to return to the bondage of Egypt. They prefer these things to facing the giants in the land of their flesh.

Yahweh is greatly displeased whenever He encounters such a heart of rebellion, fear and unbelief in one of His children. He knows there is no reason for a person to give themselves over to these things. He has demonstrated in the most profound way that He is for them. Some have criticized the Israelites for acting in such a cravenly manner when they had observed the power of God in bringing them forth from Egypt. These Christians believe they would never have acted in a similar fashion. The Israelites witnessed the plagues that decimated the most powerful nation on earth, so they should not have feared the inhabitants of Canaan. God had proven to Israel that He was for them, and He would fight for them. It was not by the Israelites’ power that the armies of Egypt were destroyed in the Red Sea. God had vanquished the enemy they dreaded.

The Christian should consider that God has done even more for us. We need look no further than the cross of Christ to see how God has taken up our part. The authority of Satan over mankind was destroyed at the cross. God was willing to go to the most extreme lengths in order to redeem us from the power of sin. He sent forth His Son, Who was more precious to Him than anything else, and He asked Him to lay down His life that we might be delivered. By His mighty power God then raised Christ from the dead, and He has sent forth His Spirit that we might become partakers of this same resurrection life. We have the dunamis (the dynamite power) of God within our beings.

How then can we doubt when we are faced with the giants in the land? Do we even begin to suppose that God will ask us to fight our battles on our own? Has He not sufficiently proven that He will take up our part in the most extreme way? Even as God assured Israel that He would give them the land of Canaan, and that He would give them victory over all those who dwelt there, He has given the same promise to you and I.

Because there is no reason for us to doubt Yahweh’s good intentions for us, He is justifiably angry when we begin to accuse Him of a lack of caring. The Israelites said, “Why is Yahweh bringing us into this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will become plunder.” There was no foundation upon which to make such an accusation against God. The complaint was totally unjust, having its origins not in the truth, but in fear and unbelief which the people were not ruling over.

Many Christians do not realize what a tyrant fear is. They have not understood how much evil is brought about by allowing fear to remain in our lives, unchecked and unconquered. Fear will lead men and women to make baseless accusations against God, and it will persuade them to choose slavery to sin over a life of righteousness. This is why God has declared that above all others, the fearful will be the first to be cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8
But the fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.

You may say, “I don’t believe I am afraid of my addiction. I do not understand what fear has to do with it.” If you see your addiction as greater than your ability through Christ to overcome, then you are not walking in faith, but fear and unbelief. How common is it to hear a comment similar to the following, “I am afraid that I am not able to conquer this area of my life”? I have heard such confessions many times.

The Scriptures reveal that we will never be able to take possession of the land of our flesh, we will never be able to drive out the enemies, apart from faith. We must believe what God has said is true. We must put a greater weight upon the promises of God than the report of our eyes and ears. Only those who are feeding upon the Bread of Heaven will find this faith arising in their hearts.

Yahweh was so displeased with the response of the Israelites that He told them that they would receive exactly what they asked for. They had said, “It would be better that we had died in this wilderness,” so that is exactly the judgment He brought upon them. Their own words sealed their fate.

In the next chapter we will look at the importance of guarding our lips against speaking careless words of unbelief. I want to end this chapter on a positive note, however. Rather than taking Israel’s history as a negative lesson, I would like us to see the positive things that were revealed in the lives of Joshua and Caleb.

Although most of those alive who came out of Egypt failed to obtain the promise, everyone who believed obtained the promise. This should serve to encourage those who see so much defeat everywhere around them. What the story of Joshua and Caleb reveals is that even if all who are around you are falling short of victory due to evil desires, rebellion, fear and unbelief, those who will follow the Lord with a whole heart will ALWAYS obtain the promises of God. Yahweh will not disqualify you due to the unbelief of those around you. All those who have faith to take possession of the land of their flesh, will do so.

Joshua and Caleb witnessed every male over the age of twenty from their generation die in the wilderness. They observed that none of these entered the land to drive out the inhabitants that dwelt there. But they held fast to the promises of God, and they went into the land and have received the testimony that among all those of their generation, they were pleasing to the Father. This can be God’s testimony concerning your life as well.

Heart4God Website:    

Parables Blog:    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Overcoming Addiction by the Spirit of Christ - Chapter 9

Chapter 9 - He has Promised Us the Victory

Everything we have looked at thus far in this book is a necessary part of overcoming addiction. There is nothing we have addressed that can be skipped over. Let us review what we have observed to this point.

· All men are born under the dominion of sin, and by ourselves we will never be free.
· Sin has caused a separation between God and man, and this separation results in darkness and death entering our being.
· Sin cannot simply be forgiven, it must be atoned for, and this atonement is only accomplished by the shedding of blood.
· The Son of God came to offer Himself as Yahweh’s Passover Lamb. By His death, and through His shed blood, our sins are forgiven and the breach between God and man is repaired.
· Salvation is two parts. It includes the forgiveness of sin, as well as the impartation of divine life into our being through the Holy Spirit. As we receive the life of Christ into our being, we are empowered to live a life of victory over all sin.
· We are Christians if we have been born again of the Spirit of Christ. This Spirit then begins to lead us in all things. We must follow the Spirit wherever He leads, as well as wait upon Him when He tarries, or we will find ourselves separated from the presence of God once more.
· To grow as spiritual creatures into the image of Christ, we must feed upon that which God sends us. The Scriptures, and the indwelling Spirit, serve to reveal Christ to us. As we behold Him we are transformed into His image.

As we have seen, the history of Israel coming out of bondage to slavery in Egypt, their wilderness journeys, and their conquest of the land of Canaan are all given as “types of us.” These things were written for our instruction, and we can find the way to overcoming every addictive desire, and achieve victory over every sin as we combine understanding with faith and obedience.

The account of this portion of Israel’s history reveals both the causes for Christians failing today, as well as the way to attain victory. Israel’s call to take possession of the land of Canaan serves as a parable of the Christian taking possession of the land of their flesh. Consider the following parallels between Israel’s accomplishments and the Christian’s calling.

Many more parallels could be demonstrated, but the point we are making is that we can discern how to overcome addiction, and everything that stands in opposition to the Kingdom of God, as we observe the history of Israel and understand the parables the Father has given to us. We can also discern the reasons why some men and women never attain victory over the flesh, for in Israel we see an entire generation, save two men, who fell short of Yahweh’s desire for them.

The pattern that God gives to us in the Scriptures is first we see a natural example, then we arrive at the spiritual fulfillment. The Old Testament is filled with the natural history of men and women, peoples and nations. They serve as types and shadows of that which we find fulfilled in the New Testament. Even as Joshua led the children of Israel into the land of promise to establish a kingdom upon the earth, so too is Yahshua at work to establish the Kingdom of God. Yet the Kingdom Yahshua is focused upon is not a kingdom that is external to man, but one that is internal. It is a spiritual dominion where God will rule over every part of our being.

Luke 17:20-21
Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there! 'For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.

Christ plainly declared that He was not seeking to establish an earthly kingdom. He sought no nation, no piece of earthly real estate. His kingdom is in the hearts of men, women and children.

John 18:36-37
Yahshua answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Yahshua answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Every kingdom has a king. The king can only be said to truly be ruling over his kingdom if everything in the kingdom has been brought under subjection to his rule. Since the kingdom of Christ is within mankind, all who would be a part of this kingdom must bring everything within them under the rule of the Son of God. Yahshua made this very plain in the following words.

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.”

Christ’s words are quite clear. We cannot enter into the Kingdom of God by a mere profession of faith. Words alone are insufficient. We must do the will of God in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He only rules those who are submitting themselves to Him for obedience. Anyone who claims allegiance to God, but fails to do His will, has no part in His kingdom.

Luke 6:46-47
“And why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?”

Christ’s question here reveals how easily men and women are deceived. Many do not do the will of Christ, but they call Him ‘Lord.’ Are they not deceived when they do so? Yet Christ is not deceived. He knows those who are His.

Even as much of the Old Testament is focused upon the natural nation of Israel as a type of the Kingdom of God, so is the New Testament focused upon the establishment of a kingdom. One day every knee will bow before Christ, and every tongue confess Him as Lord, but there will be no reward for those who resist His kingdom in this present age. It is only now that we can come and freely offer ourselves to Him for obedience and attain a reward.

Many battles must be fought, and hardships endured, in order to establish the Kingdom of God in these pieces of earth which we occupy. Our Lord is not unjust that He would not reward those who fight valiantly for His kingdom. The magnificent part of this whole matter is that Yahshua has so taken up the side of those who would follow Him into battle, that all who obey Him will come forth as victors. There is no possibility that we will be unable to conquer any foe. There is no chance that those who obey Christ will not be able to completely subdue every enemy in the land of their flesh. He has promised us the victory!

We see this promise of victory over every sinful passion and desire that resides in our flesh foreshadowed in Yahweh’s words to Joshua as he prepared to embark on the conquest of the land of Canaan.

Joshua 1:1-5
Yahweh spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, "Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory. No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.

In the same way, Yahshua, the Son of God, has promised us the victory over every sin. Yahweh is with us, even as He was with Joshua and those who entered the land of Canaan with him.

Romans 8:31
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?
Romans 8:37
But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 

We are not only promised to conquer, but to overwhelmingly conquer. How does one overwhelmingly conquer an enemy? They do so by being so superior in power and wisdom that the enemy has no chance of defeating them. This is the situation of the Christian.

I John 4:4
Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.

Consider the message of the following verses of Scripture which the apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth.

Romans 8:10-11
If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Yahshua from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Yahshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

When we come to Christ our bodies are very much like the land of Canaan. God waited to dispossess the Canaanites until their sin had reached its fulness. When all the inhabitants of the land were completely given over to sin, then He said it was time for Israel to go in and conquer the land.

In the same way, the land of our flesh has fallen completely under the influence of sin. The result of sin is death, therefore God declares that “the body is dead because of sin.” Yet the promise is given to those who have been joined with Christ through baptism, that even as He arose from the dead, so too will they. Our mortal bodies will be raised to life through the power of Christ.

How much of a resurrection is promised? Will we only be able to bring a portion of our being into subjection to the rule of God the Father? Will we be freed of some sins, while remaining captive to others? No! God has promised us a complete victory. This is not some promise that will only be attained when we leave this sinful flesh and ascend into heaven. This is a promise given to all of God’s children now.

Romans 6:4
Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

How much of Christ was raised from the dead? Did any part of His body remain behind in the tomb? Of course not. So we too are promised that we might walk in a similar newness of life. The Scriptures declare that even as we were once ruled over by sin, even more so will divine life now reign in our members through Yahshua the Christ.

Romans 5:17
For if by the transgression of the one (speaking of Adam’s sin), death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Yahshua Christ.

It is vitally important that we believe the testimony of Scripture in this matter. We must believe that because God is for us, no enemy in the land of our flesh can stand against us. If we do not believe this to be true, we will not be able to conquer every addiction. Unbelief will prevent us from bringing all things inside our beings into captivity to the rule of Christ. We see this fact proven clearly through the failure of the Israelites.

Do you think there is any enemy in the land of your flesh that God cannot conquer? Do you think there is any sin He will not give you victory over if you follow Him? Our confession reveals what is in our hearts. I have heard many men and women confess that some addictive desire, or some stronghold of the flesh, such as anger or lust or fear, was too great. They had no hope of being able to overcome these things, for they had experienced many defeats against these foes in the past.

If a person is not a partaker of the Spirit of Christ, then they are right to doubt that they will achieve victory. But a Christian should never anticipate defeat. Yahshua has already defeated every enemy. He was tempted in all ways as we are, yet without sin. He now wants to lead us forth into battle with these same enemies as He demonstrates to us His power in laying all our foes beneath our feet. After Christ has brought us to victory over every enemy within, He will then lead us to victory over every enemy without. He will even place Satan under our feet.

Romans 16:20
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

Satan’s dominion over the children of God has been broken. Christ has set us free. We observe this freedom now as we go forth to conquer every enemy in the land of our flesh. Yet Satan can still afflict the saint through outward persecution. Many have been martyred, beginning with Stephen in the book of Acts. Many more have been persecuted in various ways. Yet a day is soon coming when Satan will lose even this power. He will be crushed, all his power destroyed, as he is placed under the feet of this saints of God.

There are certain Scriptures that I learned when I was younger that have been precious to me over the years as they testify to the truth of our victory being assured. God has promised that we will never be overmatched by any sin or temptation.

I Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

What an awesome promise is revealed in these words! God is faithful! He will never allow us to be subjected to a temptation that is greater than our ability to resist. He will ALWAYS provide a victorious way through the trial. This is again affirmed by the apostle Peter.

II Peter 2:7-9
If He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men... then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation.

One of the writers of the New Testament was Jude, whose name in Hebrew is Judah. Judah means praise. His small epistle is filled with the high praises of God. It ends with these magnificent words.

Jude 24-25
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

He is able to keep us from falling. He has provided everything necessary for us to conquer the land of our flesh. He has destroyed sin’s dominion. He has purchased for us the victory. If you doubt, then you are looking too much at yourself and your own weakness. Faith arises as we look to the victorious Christ who has sent His Spirit to indwell us. Read the following words spoken to the Israelites and consider what they are signifying for the Christian.

Deuteronomy 20:1-4
“When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for Yahweh your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you. Now it shall come about that when you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people. And he shall say to them, 'Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for Yahweh your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.'”

There was a time when I was struggling against the tyranny of sexual lust and an addiction to pornography, and I had lost hope that I would ever defeat this enemy that continually brought me shame. Its strength was greater than my own, and the Lord allowed me to realize this was so. The Lord did not bring me to this realization that I might be cast down and resigned to defeat. He wanted me to begin to reckon according to His mighty power that was at work in me. I had formerly only reckoned on my puny strength, and I recognized my inability to cast down this enemy on my own. But where I am weak, He is strong. In Christ all enemies are overmatched, and none can stand against us.

It is necessary that we begin to place a greater weight upon the testimony of God than we place upon our past experiences. It is by faith that every enemy is cast down. As we consider that Yahweh is on our side, and He will fight for us, then we need not be afraid of any enemy. This same testimony is found in the New Testament.

Romans 8:31-32
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
II Peter 1:3-4
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 
(from New International Version)

As we combine these words of the apostles Paul and Peter, we can arrive at the following true and magnificent statement:

“God will freely give us all things necessary for life and godliness in order that we might participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” 

What an awesome thought! This should be the foundation for all of our reckoning when we enter into battle with some stronghold of the flesh. We should never fear that our addiction is greater than our ability in Christ to overcome. He has promised us the victory, and as we believe and obey we will place every enemy under our feet.

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