The “Opioid Epidemic” is becoming an all too familiar term

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All drugs in the opioid class have similar effects to heroin. Other opioids include opium, morphine, oxycodone, OxyContin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine and carfentanil. The effects of these drugs include pain relief, cough suppression, a false sense of well-being, drowsiness, constipation, difficulty concentrating, slowed breathing, and apathy. Like heroin, all these drugs can lead to physical and psychological dependence, as well as fatal overdoses.

What are opioids and what are their differences?

  • Heroin – Heroin is made from the opium poppy and the process of producing it incorporates various chemicals and involves many steps. It is snorted, smoked or injected. Typically, many that became addicted to heroin started with prescription medication, opioids such as OxyContin or Percocet. Then at some point, the prescription medication either became too expensive or unavailable.  Since heroin is typically cheaper and readily available on the street, it becomes the next best option. When an addict is dope sick, in desperation, they will do things they never dreamed of doing just to get well.
  • Fentanyl – Fentanyl is a second-generation synthetic-class opioid, highly addictive and 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl was initially intended to manage chronic pain in patients with serious health conditions such as cancer, or after an invasive surgical procedure. It is categorized as a prescription pain reliever sold in an injectable form, a lozenge or lollipop, or as an extended-release patch. It is also manufactured illegally and sold on the black market. This drug surfaced on the streets of New York in the early 1970’s and bore the label “China white”. Today, Fentanyl is cheaply made and commonly substituted for heroin or added to it to increase its effects.  This is very dangerous and often leads to fatal overdoses.
  • Carfentanil – Carfentanil is structurally equivalent to fentanyl but much more powerful, literally 100 times more powerful. It has a similar chemical makeup but differs in some ways. This substance was initially licensed to sedate large animals such as elephants and can be up to 4000 times more powerful than heroin.  Prior to 2017, it was considered a non-controlled substance in China and easily purchased through the mail.  Similar in appearance to table salt, just 1 mg added to a half gram of heroin is powerful enough to kill 25,000 people.

If you suspect that someone you love or care about is using, abusing or addicted to opioids, there’s no time to waste. Please don’t wait until it’s too late.  When in doubt, be sure to check it out.

It is very important to understand that these synthetic substances do not necessarily show up in your typical store bought (over-the-counter) test kit.  They should be obtained and administered by a professional for certain accuracy.

We can help!  Call 866.543.3361 today or visit us at for supportive resources and treatment options, including a free intervention book. We are leaders in Christ centered, clinically based addiction treatment for men and women since 2005.  If we can’t help, we will find someone who can.

#HopeDealer #FindRecovery #OpioidCrisis  #OpioidEpidemic  #FindHope #AddictionHelp #FindFreedom



False Adrenaline: Meth’s Fatal Lure

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Addiction and Emotional Isolation

Addiction, in most cases, is less about pleasure-seeking and more about a person’s need to escape and dissociate from the pain of emotional isolation. We are made with a craving at the core of our being for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationships. This craving has been placed into us by our Creator to cause us to seek out the fulfillment of that relationship need with Him and others.

Typically, our first relationship connection experience is with other human beings before it is with God and we quickly learn through traumatic experience that others cannot be trusted to reliably meet our need for intimate connection. This in turn hinders or even prevents authentic connect with our Heavenly Father because we interpret our connection with God through the filter of our human experiences. So, the conclusion is made that if I get vulnerable with people, I’ll get hurt…and if that’s true in all of my human relationships, that’s probably going to be true in a relationship with God.

Download our free guide “Breaking Point – A Christian Guide to Addiction Intervention”

People Often Turn to Meth for Unmet Emotional Needs

So, we learn to fear emotional vulnerability and intimacy and we distance ourselves from other people and God…pushing away the very solution to our core need that we innately crave. With both God and people now at “safe” distance, we find ourselves turning to addictive substances and/or behaviors as a way to “not feel” our unmet emotional intimacy needs.

One of the most common substances that people turn to to relieve these unmet emotional needs for intimacy is Methamphetamine…also known as Meth, Speed, Crank, Tweek, Uppers, Chalk, Christina, Tina, Go fast, Cookies, Cotton Candy, Dunk, Gak, Go-Go Juice, No Doze, White Cross, Pookie, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snax, Wash, Trash, or Garbage.


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Why Meth?

Despite the inherent dangers, meth is alluring to many people, especially those who are trapped in their emotional pain. Meth is a stimulant that profoundly affects the brain. It causes the body to release 10 times its normal level of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. It also prompts a rush of norepinephrine, or adrenaline. For those who are feeling down in the dumps, meth can make someone feel like Superman – like they can do anything. Meth can produce a high that lasts hours or even days. Users have an increase in energy. Meth use also increases sex drive and enhance body movement and mood. Meth is often preferred over other stimulants, such as cocaine, because it is much easier obtain and very cheap.

When meth hits the bloodstream, it creates an artificial pleasure sensation by sending pleasure impulses to the brain. Dopamine is the body’s ultimate “feel good” chemical. With sex, dopamine levels jump to about 200 and cocaine use causes them to reach 350. Several studies, however, report that meth use spikes these levels to 1,250 units. Even from the first time someone uses meth, the high is significant, and the brain registers that experience as a “hard-coded” memory. From that moment on, the brain tries to recapture those same positive feelings that were experienced with the first use, which is often impossible. Your brain adapts to meth use almost immediately, which means that more and more of the drug is required each time to “chase” that initial high. This chase leads to severe meth addiction, which has some startling and horrifying effects on your body and mind.

Eventually the brain shuts down the production of dopamine because it is getting more than enough from the meth. The user then cannot experience any pleasure on their own. They must use meth in higher and higher amounts in order to feel happy. Over time, meth use will cause decreased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter similar to dopamine. This may lead to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Effects of meth abuse over time can be quite serious and some are even irreversible such as “Meth Mouth” (extreme tooth decay), seizures, impaired memory, psychosis and violent behavior, hallucinations, heart damage, kidney failure, STDs, coma and death.

How to Overcome the Need for Adreneline

Of course, the question we eventually have to ask ourselves is, “Is the short-term adrenaline rush that’s helping me avoid my hurt and pain worth the long term affects?” After all, when the “rush” has run its course…the problems, hurts and pains are still there beckoning for my attention.



The good news is that God sees us in our emotional isolation, self-made vices and addictions, and He not only engages us but He loves us and provides the way out.  While most counseling and treatment focuses on behavior modification and creating new patterns that produce different results, we know from God’s Word that the only way to a new life is to turn away from the old life.  The good news of the Bible is that God has the power and authority to give you a new heart: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26). 

God does not see us in our self-induced sadness, depression, habitual sin, brokenness and addiction and just leave us there.  HE PROVIDES A WAY OUT.  He does not just modify the behavior…He fundamentally and profoundly transforms the heart. He does this by entering into the depths of our core need for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationship and reveals His heart’s love, forgiveness and grace to us. His love brings the inner healing that no human being can provide and the freedom and peace to our souls that goes beyond human expression and understanding. He proves Himself trustworthy in His love for us and we begin to experience “being loved”…maybe for the first time in our lives.

The adrenaline “rush” that comes from our surrender hearts to God’s love is like none that meth can provide…because it lasts and never stops! It empowers us to be strong in the midst of trials and tribulations! Instead of running into the arms of meth as our false comforter, we run into the arms of the True Comforter, Jesus Christ! It is He who becomes our strength to overcome and empowers us to walk in continued love, healing, peace and joy! Jesus is the TRUE “Adrenaline Rush” that leads to LIFE! Read more about the 4 things Jesus would do about addiction

At New Life Spirit Recovery, we want to help you overcome your addiction and help you realize the depth of God’s love for you! We would love to partner with you to become an overcomer and help you walk into your future free from your addiction and experiencing the greatest and truest adrenaline rush in all creation…God’s love!


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A true brokenness is a divine appointment only God can orchestrate. Through various situations, God is pleading with us to realize our helplessness and thus realize our need for Him. When this occurs, it gives us the ability to transfer control. When and if we are ready to surrender, we must take two basic transactions:

-Die to self. What does that mean? We choose to cease control. We choose to strip off our own defense mechanisms and strategies of battle, recognizing that we are losing the war. THe death of self is not the death of our God given destiny, identity, personality and giftedness. It’s the death of our self-will (flesh) that is programmed to meet needs independent of God.

-Ask God to take control of our life. That means we no longer call the shots based on our own needs, perceptions, survival strategies, and so forth. Instead, we let God call the shots for us. We allow Him to lead and guide us into His ultimate plan and purpose for our life.

While this sounds simple enough, it can be a fierce internal struggle. By nature, we are prone to be in a mode of self-survival and self-defense. Being asked to abandon those strategies, admit defeat and truly surrender can leave us with a complete sense of vulnerability. So what would motivate us to do such a thing?

John 12:24-26 provides a summary of the purpose and goal of true surrender. (Bracket’s enclose author’s words for emphasis).

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies (our self-will), it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives (a life surrendered). Those who love their life in this world will lose it (those who choose to live independently of God). Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity (those who give God control). Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”

Through this scripture, we learn that ultimately the entire destination of our lives rests upon our willingness to die to self so Christ can live through us. Living for God brings amazing blessings – the access to all God’s resources and an endless supply of His love, mercy, grace and power.


-Christian Codependence Workbook, ©New Life Spirit Recovery


Honor and Recovery



God’s love honors us. To honor is to assign value and preciousness as prescribed by the Beholder. Honor isn’t based on what we do or even the contents we carry internally. Honor is imputed to us by the God that both created us and redeemed us. God’s honor means the price and value of our life is high. For God to honor us is the highest position we will ever carry in this world. Kings and queens; presidents and diplomats are honored by the standards of this world; we are honored by the King of Kings and Lord and Lords. There simply is no greater privilege.

When we enter into healing, we can easily misinterpret God’s intents if we don’t understand honor drives the essence of everything He does. Through honor, God meets us where we are at and loves us without conditions. Before commanding we change or barging into our world to tell us what’s wrong; He tenderly injects Himself in our pain and perspective. It’s vital we know that God does this first, lest we can mistake His actions as a rejection of who we are at the moment.

God doesn’t speak down to us as though we are wretched, or dirty or defective. He loves us in the broken places and sees our value far surpassing the adjustment that needs to be made. Through honor, God allows us to feel, to hurt, to have needs, and to be where we are. In essence, He doesn’t ask us to come up to His level. He drops down and sits in the pits of our life situations with us.

Most of us will enter seasons in our life when we don’t want someone to fix us; we want someone to hear our heart. This is very much a human need, and God knows that need more than anyone. The challenge that arises is that in our pit we typically surround ourselves with faulty messaging and toxic mindsets that will destroy our inner world. The injuries we carry at a heart level can create filters that wrongly judge the situation and circumstances. We can have misplaced intimacy and misguided insights into relational principles. Thus, should God leave us where we are without offering us a redemptive tool, it wouldn’t be love at all. He will challenge us to make the choice to heal in the midst of our awareness of what’s wrong – but not because He won’t accept us and love us exactly how we are. But because He calls us to more. He calls us to freedom and wholeness in Him. He calls us into a relationship with people that allow us to give and receive love as He intended.

He loves us too much to enable us to stay in the pit and create that as our own “normal”. But the ability to leave the pit will always, always be activated through the choices we make. People will try to fix us in the pit; but only God owns the tools of redemption. And because God honors us; He lets us make a choice. We can stay in the pit if we choose.

Breakdown of the Natural and Spiritual life:

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When we seek spiritual solutions to life’s problems, we need to understand how to navigate between the earthly realities we face, and the heavenly perspective God offers. This is typically where things break down. We are in fact human beings, living in a human world and subjected to the cruel realities of life’s imperfections and pain. We can know what the Bible says, but feel unable to make that into a way of life. Thus, there is a dramatic separation between the natural circumstances of our lives, and the spiritual realities of the Word of God. When we are unable to tap into the spiritual resources of God’s power, the natural circumstances are dominant, and our natural coping mechanisms quickly follow suit. Not only that, we begin to seek the cultural ideas of a true solution, negating and invalidating the power God offers to us as His children. That doesn’t mean that we don’t need to have a deeper understanding of our problems, and use resources that address our needs as human beings. We want to remain relevant and real. But at the end of the day, the natural, what we see with our eyes, was created from the spiritual, God’s Kingdom. Jesus is the Creator of all life, and because He possesses authorship, He is the ONLY one qualified to change us. We find this is in Colossians 1:15-17:

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see-such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.

The essence of our being is spiritual because we were created by a spiritual God with a spiritual purpose. We are not trying to take our human experiences and add God to it. Quite the contrary, we need to unravel our human experience and give it spiritual dominion. From there we can begin to place remedies that are both practical and spiritual according to God’s designs.

In the natural realm, there is very little we can do to change our circumstances, much less our hearts. Despite our best efforts, we do not possess the rightful ingredients to take us into our God prescribed destiny. Not to mention that we are at war with our own flesh, the corrupt world system and a demonic agenda set to destroy God’s purposes. This is why natural weapons won’t work. Even education in and of itself won’t be enough. The outcome of our lives rests completely on the choices we make moment to moment to walk with God or rely on our own resources. Our actions will either be a reaction in our natural, or a response to the Spirit of God living inside us.

Beyond Sobriety: A Look at the Critical Goals of Recovery

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Anyone entering or having a loved one enter a recovery program has one goal in mind: get and stay sober. However, most don’t understand that sobriety in and of itself is not enough. People can get sober, but not necessarily set free. The removal of the substance isn’t the removal of the contributing factors, the problems in that person’s life that may have led to their use or abuse. In fact, quite often addiction is used as an unhealthy form of coping, thus the situations that caused the person to “check out” in the first place must be addressed.  We’ve broken down the five areas we feel are most vital to a long-term, successful recovery program.

Five Critical Goals for Long-term Recovery

1. Gaining a personal relationship with Jesus and learning how to be connected to the Holy Spirit is most important ingredient.  Jesus is a person, not merely a principle. Meeting Him isn’t done though religious technique, shaming, cohesion, control or guilt. Sadly, we live in a culture that has framed Christianity as intolerant and out of touch. Many times, people have had negative experiences in the church and thus have labeled God as mean, hard, demanding and unloving. Some people won’t enter into a Christian program because they are assuming they will find out how “bad” they are, and get a bunch of lists of what they “should do.” That’s a lie! The goal of a healthy Christian program is to introduce the character of God and begin to establish an atmosphere to dialogue with Him in the heart. The Bible is used to establish truth, and to display the radical promises it contains. The Bible isn’t a letter of judgement, but a redemptive story of love and grace.

People in recovery must learn to see themselves as precious sons and daughters of a God who loves them deeply and has plans and purposes for their lives.  Rarely do people decline the invitation God gives to enter into this type of relationship.  They decline because they have the wrong idea of who He is. Simply put, they don’t know Him. Imagine if you were hearing rumors about someone’s character, and had drawn up a horrible idea of who they were, only to discover that the information you had been given was wrong.  That same person someone tried to frame as “bad”, in fact was a carrier of love and generosity; kindness and compassion. Perhaps that’s why God despises slander so much – it defames character wrongfully. And could anyone know that any better than Jesus? He was accused as being demonic, a drunkard and a fraud. Many people have a very toxic idea of Him because they have been fed lies. Simply put, they have false information about His character and nature! Recovery that aims at the heart gives the opportunity to let God reveal Himself on the basis of who He is really is. This is where change truly begins. From there,  a person is able to view Him and self accurately: as objects of His love and affection. This one truth can single-handedly change the course of a person’s life forever.

2. Understand that God seeks to change the heart, not modify behaviors.  Behaviors have a root and a drive. They are the result of the choices a person makes, and those choices are attached to deeper things. By not focusing on behaviors alone (while holding people accountable to certain standards), we can learn the “why” of the heart. Asking  a person to confront the deeper situations, experiences and injuries of the heart is to gain insight, to reject lies and to let Jesus touch the places that have led a person to “check out” through unhealthy coping. Addicts will continue to struggle with character defects, and if behavioral perfection is the goal, they will not succeed. Perfection is never God’s goal – He is looking for the belief or the mindset that opposes the truth of who He is. He is teaching us to come as we are and openly confess our sin and brokenness before Him so that we can be set free.   Forgiveness is the beginning of all freedom. Learning to forgive others and let God forgive us is where change begins. But sometimes that requires a deeper surgical work of the Holy Spirit. Not all areas of the heart automatically reveal themselves – there can be hidden places where secrets, injuries, resentment and other hazardous human conditions hide. Loving confrontational processes through the tools of recovery allow people to assess, view, comprehend and apply spiritual remedy to the places of hurt, sin and damage.

3. The tool of grace need to be attained as the cure. The dreaded term “cure” makes many in recovery cringe. They will remind us that addiction is a brain disease and can never end. True. It does cause brain defects and an addict should never consume drugs or alcohol again. Some need additional help through diet and a doctor, as to not negate physical problems. But overall, there is a cure. Yes, there is. It’s the same cure that was bought on the cross. When the words “it is finished” were uttered by Jesus, it referred to completion and the all-sufficiency of His grace. But that doesn’t mean the term “cure” magically allows an addict to drink again. Substance will need to be released, permanently. Rather, the cure comes when the bondage of sin, the torment of temptation, the chronic sense of unworthiness, the lack of purpose, the relationship injuries are replaced with this one truth – Jesus is enough. When grace, the very nature of Jesus Christ, is acquired, each stumble can drive a person back into the arms of Jesus rather than in the deceitful hands of the false comforter. A person who walks by grace fully understands the inability to do anything or to move even an inch through self effort. They live, breath and move as a result of connection to Him. Should they stumble or fall at any point, grace is able to pick them up and say “let’s keep going…don’t give up!” That is the heart of God. If people can learn to engage with the language of grace, they will forever be driven to Jesus – and that is by far the best relapse prevention and recovery plan a person can find.

4. Relationship skills and interests must be addressed. A person can’t get sober and maintain toxic relationships that created the atmosphere for drug use. Lines will need to be drawn. Some people will need to be released altogether. Others, such as parents and spouses, perhaps can’t be released, but new skills must be attained. We focus on relationship issues in our program, knowing they drive almost 100% of the addiction issues that led up to using drugs or alcohol in the first place. Learning new relationship skills, identifying potential relationship triggers and seeking God’s heart in walking in relationship as He intended is vital for true sobriety to occur. We recently surveyed all our alumni that had come through program since 2005. Of relapses that were reported, every person that responded indicated that it occurred due to a relationship trigger. That’s enormous! Therefore, sitting around in a class all day and talking about the drug use won’t resolve those issues. A person who wants to be free from substance must also be willing to learn and walk in new relationship styles.

5. Family support and education must be present. Yes, the addict has a problem, there is no question. But the family has been impacted and affected – big time. In our own experience at New Life, we found that families had a resistance to the family education processes. After enduring the pain caused by the addict, getting lectured on “their part” hardly seemed justifiable, and was in fact, insulting in some cases. Obviously, that was far from our intention. But we listened and moved from a workshop setting into an individual process. Instead of mere education, we began letting families share with us what has occurred from their point of view. We began to affirm their injuries and let them know that they need support during this critical transition. But at the same time, we began to introduce solution – to expose unhealthy dynamics and to give them the tools to plan, set boundaries and make good choices.  Instead of being mere victims, they began to discover how they could be empowered. They also learn to understand the addict’s needs as well as their own. The result? A complete and total shift in the relationship between the addict and family member; and a far more stable transition back home.  This caused us to scream the message as loud as we can that including family members in a loving and empathetic way isn’t just wise, it’s vital. Thankfully, there are tools for families to overcome the pain of addiction. Education has a place. Families have a choice in that educational process. But it is our desire to offer the gift of empathy to both sides. It takes time, but when everyone is involved, reconciliation and new beginning is attainable. Watch this short video on the power of empathy. 

If you are faced with treatment needs, remember these five factors. If you have a family in recovery, embrace this as a divine season of change and the potential for something new. If you are feeling defeated by someone’s ongoing relapse, equip yourself, but don’t give up! Education will empower you and recovery will offer you the much-needed support you deserve!  Learn what you can do and where to draw by reading our resource Christian Families in Recovery. Click here to learn more or order a copy today. (Family members in our program receive a free copy!)

Want to learn more? We’d be happy to chat! Call us at 866.543.3361


Reset and Realign

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God is a God of second chances. His eternal plans were set in motion by the very fact that we couldn’t do it right through our own efforts and needed His help. Thus, His purposes are redemptive in nature. For those of us in recovery, we are grateful and filled with hope that the God that owns the Universe and has pure righteousness and holiness motivating Him is not out to punish us. He’s in the business of healing. Yet oftentimes when the process of healing is initiated in our lives, we have a very different impression of how will it unfold. We can mistakenly believe that God will instantly cure us, fill our lives with purity and fix all our relationships immediately. We begin to move forward in our recovery as if the behaviors of the past are kept on a page that will no longer affect our lives today. We believe the “new page” we are on can be written without those “past page” contents spilling over. After all, “old things have passed away, behold everything becomes new.”

While there is no doubt that God comes to bring us a new life, we must not misunderstand the meaning of that scripture. While God forgives our past and all the shame it contained (wiping it from His memory forever), the past still leaves us with mindsets and mentalities that continue to contradict who God is. God can sometimes “zap” us and we can be instantly released from something, but the long-term plan is referred to biblically as transformation and sanctification. This is a process that occurs in our soul where our mind (thinking), emotions (feelings) and will (choices) must be re-aligned into the likeness of God. Since we had developed unhealthy patterns throughout our lifetime, this is the part of recovery that will take time (Romans 12:2).

In recovery there is both a breaking process and a building process. God comes to uproot things that are residue of our old life, and to plant things that are filled with His own life (Ephesians 4:21-24). The Bible is clear that we will be engaged in a battle. We will come to understand both the ferocious nature of our flesh and the harm it is causing, and the supernatural and unthinkable blessing that come when we submit to God’s Spirit. We will also have to face the reality that we have an Enemy as well as a world that seeks to lure us away from God. That means the task of walking with God will require work. And it will take time. The truth is that there will be a collision of our old mentalities with the new (flesh versus spirit) on a regular basis early in our recovery, and this can at times get “messy.” How we learn to engage and interact with the Holy Spirit and the work He’s seeking to do in this process will determine the eventual outcome of our lives.

Breaking in Love

We must first understand the nature of God’s heart to understand His processes. He is a loving and patient Father, and a serious and masterful physician. He created us for purpose and significance both in this lifetime and in the eternal realm. He already has a plan for our lives. This plan was disrupted through the sin, dysfunctional and wounds that sabotaged how we saw Him, and the design He created for us. In many ways, we could think of this as a physical bone that broke and wasn’t ever treated. In our lives, the “break” caused much pain and suffering. Since we ourselves had no resources to fix what was broken, we simply survived through our own methods. This may have included control, codependency, manipulation, self-sufficiency, addiction, pride, etc. Like a physical bone that was broken and healed improperly, our lives got misaligned from their original purposes. Yet we tried to compensate and move on as if our life was normal. But in truth, we were deformed and disfigured spiritually.

Physical doctors often need to re-break a bone that was not set properly in order to allow it heal the right way. In the same manner, God will break us from the mentalities and structures of survival we had developed. The breaking God does has two purposes. First, He makes us aware of the maladies within. This is absolutely a gift. If we don’t see something is wrong, we would never ask Him to fix it. When God lovingly activates pain, it is meant to get our attention so we can deal with the source. Any form of addiction tries to medicate, feed or soothe pain in improper ways, thus learning how to feel pain and go to the Father leads to deep transformation. The other purpose behind God’s breaking is that He simply must destroy anything wrongly pieced together. This includes the ways we survived apart from His resources. By disconnecting us from those unhealthy methods, He can reset us according to His own purposes which can be found through His written Word, and the promises He speaks into us personally.

Without this understanding, when we feel the pain of recovery, we can begin to see God as angry, unforgiving, unloving, etc. But that is the very OPPOSITE of who He is! Our loving, faithful and Almighty Father in heaven is preparing us to walk in wholeness. In essence, He breaks to reset, and He resets so we can walk in accordance with His pure and perfect plan for our lives. How amazing is that!!!!

How He Resets

God gets to work by first exposing the areas in our heart that requires additional help. He may use a variety of strategies to do this. But more than anything else, He uses our circumstances. Circumstances typically reveal cracks and crevices inside us that need to dealt with. Oftentimes, we delay the process of transformation because we blame the circumstances as our problem rather than allowing God to perform the deeper work. That’s why a trial is always an opportunity to say, “what can I learn Lord?” Using the recovery process and His Word, He can begin to reveal the lie or mindset that contradicts His truth, and begin to set things back in alignment.

While we go through this and have to face uncomfortable areas, we will always go through a test. Are we going to cling to the Word and His promises (the new life), or will we begin to think negatively and defeated (the old life)? Wherever our mind goes, our feelings will follow. Negative thoughts will lead us into negative feelings. The next natural order of events will be dealing with those negative thoughts and feeling in unhealthy ways. This can lead to fear, anxiety, the need to control, self-medication or codependency to name of few.

The basic purpose God is after isn’t just to change our behaviors. He will confront us lovingly with this question: “Am I enough?” Will you let me be your God, and do you trust me as Your Father?” We will have opportunities throughout our lifetime to respond. When we choose to trust Him, He will walk us through the pain and we will find comfort, blessings and prosperity in our spiritual life. We will grow in our understanding of who He is, and our faith will increase more and more. Submitting to God in difficulties isn’t always pleasant, but it is what is called the “death of self.” This isn’t the death of our authentic identity, it’s the death of our self-will programmed to survive. When we “die to self” we actually submit to God so we can become who our Maker created us to be in the first place! Just as a rose-bush gets pruned and at first appears to have lost its luster and life, God will cut off the branches that hinder us, and then will multiply the parts of our life surrendered to Him. We will blossom, thrive and overflow with His Spirit if we allow Him to perform this process.

Living victoriously really isn’t really about our circumstances, it’s about Him. When we welcome our Physician into every area of our lives and submit to His guidance and direction, we get the greatest reward possible – the peace that passes all human understanding by experiencing His tangible presence. And is doesn’t end there. When we live depending on Him, we receive resources from Him. Like going to the grocery store to fill our need for food, we can walk into the supply house of heaven and gain access to what we need to live this life. We receive His grace – His very power that is activated on demand for whatever need arises. We receive the fullness of His love, and understand the nature of His protection and care for us. We can stand against the wrath of fear, and declare that is has no power over us, because if God is for us, who can be against us? We can receive His insight as to how to handle our human relationship challenges. We have the Living God of the Universe, the owner and operator of life and everything and everyone in it operating on our behalf!

It may sound too good to be true. That’s because death comes before life. Many times we lose out on God’s plan because the entanglement of pain leads us away from Him, rather than to Him. When we run to something else for comfort, we lose our opportunity to know Him.

The Blessing of Failure

Whether you are recovering from an addiction, or are supporting someone else, it’s important to know that this process will require failure as much as it will reward success. Just as a one-year old child isn’t given lofty expectations in learning how to take those first steps, so God doesn’t impose anything on someone in recovery without a set method of developing maturity. Learning the painful blow of a wrong choice can at times be even more instructional than the benefit of the right choice. The apostle Peter is the perfect example of this. Even as he was zealous and ambitious in following Jesus, he had no idea that the mentalities imbedded inside him would cause him to forsake the One he claimed to love. In the fear that provoked him in the moment, Peter stopped trusting God. Peter denied Jesus Christ publically three times. But Jesus had already known this would happen. He wasn’t the least bit surprised and was ready to use this as an opportunity to grow Peter. So came the breaking down of Peter’s pride and self-will. In that moment, Peter became aware of his internal brokenness. How Peter broke was through the sheer power of repentance that came from the love of Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Peter into deep conviction, and that caused deep grief that eventually translated into a changed heart. The end result? Peter became a usable vessel devoted to Jesus to the point of sacrificing his own life for His name’s sake. What happened in between the fear and the faith? There may have been a spiritual “zap” of sorts, but then it was gradual steps of believing and receiving God’s Spirit in the moment. Peter had to learn to let repentance have its perfect work.

Where to Go in Relapse

Relapse doesn’t have to occur, and it means different things for different people. For some, relapse could cost them everything, thus there isn’t much leeway for it to happen again. But even when substance relapse doesn’t occur, moral and spiritual relapse will happen continually. The key lesson to extract is that God is a Teacher and a Friend, thus He uses all things (yes, ALL things) together for good when we are willing to turn to Him. In the pain of failure, we will have the choice to go down the pathway of lust and the lure of addiction, or to trust God to redeem that area of our heart and life. Our Lord is so, so kind and patient, looking to restore and heal us, not punish and judge us. He isn’t looking at the outcome of the moment alone, but He is after something far more valuable – the strings of our heart.

If relapse occurs, the first and most important step is to acknowledge we can’t overcome it on our own and we need God’s help. That confession ushers in God’s help. Then, we must take the steps that support that decision (repent). Find a meeting, a pastor, a program or a friend who can hold us accountable.

Remember, some of the most amazing and usable vessels of God’s Kingdom experienced failure first. IT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S OVER!

A Call to Action

Wherever you are right now, you must grasp that God has much bigger plans for you! But His ways are not your ways. If the storms rages, or the blessing arrives, He is the God and author of them both to work in and through His perfect plan. No matter what you are going through, it is an opportunity to know Him. It is a chance you have right now to turn over the keys of your heart to Him and let Him have His way. Are you willing, are you ready? You will never regret being swept up into the plans of the Almighty. You will regret never letting Him have His way.

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening–it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. – Hebrews 12:11

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. – James 1:2-4

Treating Addiction With Truth

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Did you know that according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) that in 2010  “23.1 million people needed treatment for a drug or alcohol problem, and only 2.6 million, or 11.2 percent, received it.”. Another statistic states that 1 in 11 Americans 12 or older are addicted. Addiction is an enormous, enormous problem in our culture and society.  Its consequences are greater than we can comprehend. Whatever preconceived notions there have been about the face of a drug addict, we know that today addiction is everywhere and can affect people with all backgrounds. And that means, yes, even people and leaders in the church can be addicted. Families are suffering, companies are affected, the healthcare system is bogged down, jails and prisons are overcrowded and people don’t know what to do with the epidemic. With so much more technology, advanced “scientific” research and more access to help then ever before, why is addiction getting worse, not better?

Treating Addiction with Truth

Defining the root drive of addiction is perhaps the greatest source of division on this topic. The medical community claims the physical brain and other genetic dispositions are the culprit behind addiction. Medical science seems unable to treat addiction except with oftentimes more medication, and thus the transferring of one substance to another. There is no question that the brain gets altered by substance abuse, but the medical community claims the brain is the cause, not just the effect of substance abuse. Ironically, most medical doctors know that the most effective way to treat addiction is through a spiritual remedy of the 12 step process.

Christians also range in their understanding of addiction. Some Christians and churches simply label it as willful sin, thus consider the person struggling with addiction as merely rebellious. They may even look at the addictive nature of a person and resolve that their behavior is explained because “they are not really a Christian in the first place”. Other churches may try to help an addict, but don’t have the understanding of the power of addiction, and the tools that are required to create an atmosphere where addicts can seek help.

Whatever our own perception of addiction is, somewhere lies the actual truth of its roots and cause. How we find ourselves defining addiction will lie in direct correlation to the solution we seek to apply to it. If we see people as merely the effect of a medical disorder, we’ll find security in sending a person through the scientific approach, relying on medication and other approaches. If we believe addiction is just a “sin” issue, we’ll judge and form conclusions about the addict’s spiritual status, and thus be prone to the “throw them out.”

Seeking Truth

As Christians, we’ve been granted the gift of a lifetime – the access to truth. This truth is not just stated in God’s Word, but can be used to interpret the world around us through the mind of Christ. Truth isn’t just a Bible passage, but the ability to take God’s wisdom and apply it to our daily lives, including the reality of addiction.

What Do We Believe?

Our perspective of what constitutes the source of truth will determine the outcome of our lives. If we seek medical digests and human knowledge as truth, that’s where we go to access solutions. And what we will receive is whatever resources the medical community has available, namely medication and mental health specialists who use human theories to treat addiction. If we use the Bible as our source of truth, we will be able to access its resources. We will have the opportunity to see God’s viewpoint of life, relationships, dependencies and sin, and given the power and resources that God’s promises offer.

But learning God’s Word and accessing and applying it to our lives is where the battle will be waged. That’s because oftentimes we are told things in the Bible that contradict what we see with our eyes, and what our modern-day society has deemed as “truth.” In fact, the Bible tells us that we are engaged in a battle for our minds – the very essence of our belief systems. This battle is not happening through flesh and blood people (although it manifests through people and systems), but we are engaged with “forces of darkness.” Now let’s be honest. That is an uncomfortable truth! It’s a truth that we would rather brush under the rug and choose to ignore. Yet, if God’s Word is the source of truth, we cannot deny it’s statement.

How We Receive Truth

Many times truth is distorted because it’s used as a rule book and a measuring stick, rather than a revelation of heart and purposes of God. Thus “truth” that claims to know the Bible and have the answers, but lacks a deep encounter of Jesus Christ, isn’t truth at all. That’s because when Jesus walked this earth, He became “truth” in flesh and blood. Let’s read:

In the beginning the Word already existed.The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him, and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. – John 1: 1-5 (NLT)

A relationship with Jesus Christ lead us to the source of truth, because it gives us access to Him. When we are spiritual blind and caught in the perils of denial, we in essence are walking in darkness. But when Jesus enters into our life, He gives light, and the ability to see. With addiction, as with all areas of our lives, the person suffering will first need “see truth” before they will have access to God’s solution.

Truth and the Holy Spirit

Sadly, the work of the Holy Spirit gets desperately misunderstood and neglected in the life of many believers. For the addict, it is imperative and absolutely necessary to learn to walk and live in the Spirit. That’s because the Holy Spirit performs functions that oppose our human default patterns. The addict isn’t just doing “bad stuff” on purpose. There is an entire infected system in their life that needs to be re-wired. The mind of the addict is broken and filled with faulty information. Their thoughts have been bound by lies that contradict God’s plans and purposes for their life. Through faulty belief systems, they have formed habitual patterns that led to strongholds. Strongholds are lies that become a truth. They are an automatic response over a period of time, rather than a choice.

Because of this very important component, that’s why a central focus in the treatment or the recovery process must be in the arena of truth. Truth finding is not about a human counselor standing with a bunch of “therapeutic” knowledge and claiming to have the insight to a person’s problem. Rather, truth finding is a process that occurs ONLY when a person is able to engage with the Holy Spirit. To set things straight – the Holy Spirit is a Person and part of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit actually houses the very mind of Christ. This is God Almighty coming inside us and giving us the ability to think, feel and behave under His influence, not our own flesh, in a given situation.

Because the addict has been programmed to think, feel and act based on wrong data, it will take the work of the Holy Spirit to reprogram that data. This will occur gradually as each lie and stronghold is brought to the light and replaced with the truth of God in that situation.

Does it seem radical that only the power of Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit can cure an addict? If so, stop and assess your own ideas of addiction.

  1. Do you recognize that addiction is terrible and can lead to death physically, emotionally and spiritually? Have you resolved that you or the person you love must get help, and that it will require God’s intervention?
  2. Do you recognize that all spiritual ailments come in the forms of lies that take our minds captives and cause us to think, feel and behave in a negative way. Thus, addiction recovery must occur by the renewing of the mind, not merely adjusting outward behaviors or treating addiction as a medical condition?
  3. Do you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit? What role does He play in your life? Has He revealed His truth? Do you limit Him to the Word of the Bible alone, or do you let Him press deeply into your heart and reveal how God’s Word must be activated and made alive in your heart?
  4. Where do you bank the hope for the addict in your life? And what pathway must you take to follow that?

Whatever you respond, the questions can be pondered, but they can also be brought directly to the throne of grace. No person can dictate truth to you. It must be worked out with God. No matter your situation, make today the day you claim to receive truth – allow God to penetrate your heart and trust in Him to initiate the processes necessary to bring you or someone you love our of bondage and into freedom.

Lord God,
I need truth to understand addiction in myself or someone I love. I have tried to figure it out on my own, and it is beyond my grasp. Shine a light before me and show me where to go. Lead me to the answers I need in my own situation. Don’t let me be tricked or deceived. When I am afraid, I ask that reveal with kindness and gentleness the pathways of Your will, and offer me Your hope and the fulfillment of Your promises.
In Jesus Name – Amen

Do you need a treatment program that is committed to the spiritual remedy of the Holy Spirit and renewing of the mind? Call us today! If we can’t help you, we will definitely do everything we can to find someone who can!

The Power to Change

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Did you ever find it frustrating that despite your best efforts, change is difficult, and sometimes seemingly impossible to obtain? New Year’s resolutions quickly fall short as our true desires and ideals quickly become another pile of unmet self-expectations. So why do we fail? Is it self-discipline that we lack? If we struggle with addiction, should we have the will power to just stop?

For those of us who have walked the roadway of Christ-centered recovery, we fully recognize that had we been left to our own devices, we would be in a hopeless condition. We understand that apart from God we can do nothing. Yet with His resources and our connection to Him, we’ve been equipped with everything necessary to live this life and be victorious. So what’s stopping us if we aren’t there? And how can we truly unlock the mystery of living out the life we desire? Let’s take a closer look!

Where Change Begins

We often think change begins simply because we have a desire for it, and then we can work hard to attain it. But in truth, we can possess the desire for change in relationships, health, image, career, ministry and other areas without any results, leaving us feeling frustrated and seemingly hopeless. Although our desire to change is certainly necessary, striving, trying, and pushing ourselves is not the solution. God declares in His Word that “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  (1 Corinthians 12:9). Change is not a result of our human effort; it’s a result of the power of God coming into our lives through the Holy Spirit. This power isn’t activated by us “trying”, but by us acknowledging that we can’t. The first step in the 12 step program basically states “I can’t manage my own life.” At step three, we move to the place of giving God control. It is clear that all other freedom rests through this transaction. This means that God can only be activated when we:

1.    First admit that we are incapable of changing

2.    We submit to God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

God’s Job in Changing Us

Imagine for a moment if you had a major crisis with your home, such as a natural disaster, that caused devastating damage to your home. As you sifted through the broken rubble, you recognized that the environment needed to be changed. Your home was no longer able to be inhabited in its current condition. So in the day and weeks to come, a contractor was hired to plan all necessary repairs. Since this was no ordinary damage, you recognized you were totally unable to fix the home without outside intervention and equipment. But despite that reality, now, imagine that you were so deeply overcome by fear that the contractor would bring further damage, you opted to take a seat right next him, and control and mandate how he should do his job. You insisted that he do things in your timing and way. You directed him to work in ways that were unsafe and far from the process that he was equipped to perform. Thus, in the midst of large plans to reconstruct, your “intervention” posed a safety hazard and impeded the work from continuing. So as the contractor stepped aside, you took the tools and tried to fix things yourself. It might be no surprise that it didn’t work. Disaster after disaster occurred. The walls and roof crumbled around you, and you had absolutely no skill or ability to overcome and repair.  The house could not be fixed, and you were overwhelmed by your position of responsibility to try to do the impossible.

While that may sound extreme, in many ways we bring God into our situations in a like manner. For a season we may “hire Him” to do the job. We are desperate in the moment and plead for His assistance. Yet once He enters into our lives and exposes the things that are broken and in need of “fixing”, we get nervous. We doubt Him and His capabilities. We fear the loss of control over our future. We fear that things will be changed in ways we won’t like. So rather than trust in the engineering and capability of a God who is PERFECTLY able to be make our lives whole, we snatch the role from Him, and put ourselves in charge. And from there, we begin to find that apart from Him, it is impossible!

Creating the Environment for Change

As we recognize that we can’t change ourselves or stop addictive behavior, it’s important to understand that God operates by certain conditions and terms. For example, just as a general contractor must secure an environment that is safe for his workers to implement the construction plans, so our Lord must be given permission to survey, evaluate and implement His own process. This means we will need to enter into a “contract” with Him on His terms, asking Him to change us, with the commitment to be surrendered to Him and His established purposes in the situation. We must let Him bring His blueprints to fruition without trying to intervene.

It’s helpful to understand the general methods of God’s operation, and to understand where we might struggle in the pursuit of allowing God to change us. Let’s look:

God brings the light of truth. When He first enters into our situation, God will reveal the truth of what is occurring. This requires a willingness to confront our lives and circumstances on the basis of what they are, not how we wished or pretended they would be. Sometimes we can be so focused on the wrongs of someone else, that we have been blinded to our unhealthy behaviors. If we are consumed by denial, He will confront us and expose what has been hidden. Denial is a tricky reality because we usually deny to cope with pain. God knows what has occurred and what has prevented us from seeing things as He sees things. This can be very disruptive at first. It would be like having that disaster strike in the evening hours where everything is covered and naked to the eye. Then, as the sun begins to rise, the level of rubbish can be revealed.

God’s revelation is not to harm us. In fact, He can get to work the moment light is shining and we are willing to participate. If we remain in denial (darkness), God can’t work. That’s because He is light. And where He exists, darkness will leave, and truth will be exposed. Therefore, the moment we try to cover, hide or bury what He reveals, He is prevented.

God operates by love. If we ever see God as angry or after some agenda to hurt us, we’ll never have the confidence to fully give our lives to Him. God is tender-hearted and kind. He is compassionate and filled with mercy and grace. He sees the wreckage in and around us and knows that He alone has the remedy to fix what’s broken. However, just because He is that way towards us doesn’t mean that we will perceive Him in that manner. If we harbor a faulty idea of God because of our earthly experience, we will not engage with God properly. Instead of the Contractor of our Soul that can restore us, we’ll be prone to try to get Him to work within our own “blue print” of how we think He should “love” us.  Furthermore, if we have a fear-based understanding of God, we by default will protect ourselves from Him rather than invite Him inside.

God operates by holiness.While God is loving, He has a radical agenda in our lives that will not negotiate, approve, or be even remotely tolerant of the sin that hurts us so deeply. Yet He is not oriented towards changing the outwards and giving us a set of lists that we are expected to live up to. Many of us mistook holiness as law-based expectations. In truth, God’s holy nature means He desires to remove the darkness, brokenness and sin issues that plague us, knowing full well the damage they cause. God’s holiness also means He wants us to be restored back to the original design and purpose He has for us. And the only thing that prevents us from that are the areas where sin, shame and brokenness still exist. God acts as a Surgeon to eradicate the cancer in us to preserve our life. He uses the power of forgiveness and grace to remove those things that hold us back. Sometimes this process can be painful. We must not grow weary in the process or misunderstand His purposes. God’s relentless pursuit of our holiness was the entire purpose of Jesus Christ. Through Him we can be cleansed, purified and made holy.

God uses grace to change us. Just as holiness is God’s agenda, we can rest assured that the responsibility of its attainment does not rest in our own resources. Instead, God gave us grace. Grace refers to God’s unmerited favor, but it can also be thought of as everything we need to live life. This includes all the resources and healing abilities of God. Grace first seeks to remove our sin and residue of shame from our hearts. Then, it seeks to teach us to deal with the shame that others impose upon us. Grace is a like a cleansing agent that purifies and restores everything it touches, and re-aligns everything is broken. If we could access it in its entirety, it would set everything back on course.And so now we come back to our initial point. Grace is activated in our weakness. In other words, when we have a pile of rubbish around us, and we are screaming “I can’t Lord, help me” – grace has the environment to work. But at the same when we come geared up with our own tools and agenda, grace is prohibited.

God operates through faith and praise, not fear and worry.No matter how desperately we need to be changed, if we approach God with the general belief that He can’t help us and that our problems are too big for Him, He won’t even be able to enter into that situation. It may take everything in us to simply say, “Lord, I struggle, help me believe! I believe that you can! I believe that you are able!” Sometimes our inner conversation sounds more like “I know you can’t. I don’t even think you want to help me.” This deeply grieves the Spirit of God. Even though He loves us and wants to free us, we are speaking things that oppose His truth. Thus, God will stay away until He is invited in on the basis of who He actually is.

Do you have power in your life to change? First of all, have you met Jesus Christ? That is the beginning of all true change. If you’ve invited Him into your heart, has He been given access to do the work of transformation? Ask Him to bring you deeper into understanding how you need to be healed, where you are broken and the plan He has to redeem you. God is faithful!

Do you want to participate in a healing workshop? The Christian Codependence Workshops are sponsored by Spirit of Life Recovery and taught by Stephanie Tucker, author of The Christian Codependence Recovery Workshop: From Surviving to Significance. It’s a step by step process of allowing God to engage and restore the things that are broken by relying Him and believing in the power of grace! Click here to learn more. This is applicable for every single Christian despite the struggle.

Do you want to help others find deliverance? Get trained on how to use this process to lead groups or assist people in the counseling room. Click here to learn more.

Do You Know What It Means to Be Free?


By Stephanie Tucker

What does it mean to be free on the inside? For some of us, it might seem a strange question. For others, we might understand where we found that freedom. Freedom on the inside occurs when as humans we realize that we fall short and need the resources from God to make our life work. It isn’t just a matter of professing our faith in Jesus Christ, it entails an entire systemic change where we surrender and give God access to every aspect of our life. It means that we are not bound to anything or anyone that would control or prevent us from being all that God intended us to be. When we are free, we are in alignment with our Creator – all thing fall under His authority in our life. When we are not free, however, another force dominates us. We become entangled in things that take us away from God’s true purpose and plan for us.

 The Rule of Freedom versus Domination

To put in perspective, think of freedom in terms of nations. The United States of America is founded above all on freedom. It protects and gives right to individuals, allowing them to make choices within the confines of the laws. This allows people to pursue their interests, to worship in their own churches, to choose their own career and to express their individuality in a variety of ways. These choices may or may not align with God’s truth, but the purpose of freedom is in choice.

On the other hand, nations under dictatorship rule impose standards on their citizens. People living under the authority of that power axle may be told how to dress, who to worship, what to speak, what to read or what property to own. In this environment, individual freedoms are lost, and thus the people are not able to live and express their own choices. That means the people of that nation are enslaved.

The very notion of freedom isn’t political; it’s a system God put in place when He created mankind. God gave Adam and Eve the gift of freedom – this means He didn’t create them to be mere robots that were forced to do His will. With that freedom came choice and responsibility. Why would God do such a thing when He could have prevented them from sinning in the first place?    If God took personal freedom away, He would have been a mere dictator, forcing people and controlling people through domination, not because of the freedom in their hearts.  Being in that position would violate the heart of God – which above all else chooses to respect the human race and enter into relationship with His children on the basis of love.

In our own lives, the struggle to keep our hearts in the position of freedom is always at play. For those of us in recovery, we may have encountered a power that overtook us, such as drugs and alcohol, which removed our ability to make choices. Under its influence, we became bound to compulsively need more, thus we became completely enslaved.

But the loss of freedom comes in many others way, some much more subtle and difficult to recognize. This means we don’t just need to be under the influence of a drug or other form of addiction to be in bondage.

Ways We Aren’t Free

We can be bound in our hearts in a variety of ways. Sometimes, people with addictions get the help they need because their addictions are obvious. But we can be suffering from a loss of freedom inside of our hearts and not even be aware. Here are some examples:

We have a religious mind-set rather than a grace-based mindset – Whenever we begin to live the Christian life based on an external check-list of what we do or don’t do, we are in some form of bondage. Some of the most important freedom we find as Christians is freedom from sin’s condemnation. We realize that God’s gift of freedom and forgiveness is something we can’t purchase. That means there isn’t something we can do or not do to take it away.

For those of us that may not have come into contact yet with the depths of the love of God, we may be accustomed to “working for God” or trying to “win over” His approval or the approval of others. This form of “buying” love or approval stands in direct opposition to the free nature of God’s gifts, gifts He offers us through His grace. Anyone who has this mentality in their life needs a richer, more personal understanding of this grace.

We hold someone else responsible for our feelings or actions – Whenever we find ourselves holding a human being in the position of being in charge of why we feel or act a certain way, we have empowered that person.  In essence, they have a form of “ownership” of our life, whether or not they asked for it. That’s not to say we can’t be influenced by people, but when there is a direct string that attaches us to another person in such a way that we find it difficult to understand we begin and they end, we are in a form of bondage. This is also a symptom of codependency.

When we attempt to control another person – Whether outward and obvious, or subtle and manipulative, when we are engaged in relationships where we are trying to dominate how another person thinks, feels or acts, we’ve taken a position of control that contradicts God’s principles. This can be rather difficult to see, especially if we tend to believe we are truly benefitting the people in our lives who we wish to control, such as an adult child or spouse.

Sometimes, our efforts to control others are methods to manage and deal with our fears and insecurities. We begin to think that if we can control the people in our life, we’ll be able to feel stable. However, this rarely occurs. Trying to control another person only makes matters worse.

Other times, we may have learned to use control as a form of power over others, thus use it to get what we need or desire in relationships. This mindset is similar to a dictator – and clearly is a form of bondage that needs to be dealt with.

We allow our emotions to dictate our reality – For anyone who has struggled with depression or serious anxiety, those symptoms are real. For those who deal with anger and rage, those symptoms are also real. But where we have an emotional issue in our life that is paralyzing us to the point that we can’t overcome it in a healthy way, our hearts are not free. Emotions are indicators of deeper underlining issues. When we can find those root issues and deal with them according to God’s provisions in our lives, the emotional issues might not completely end initially, but we won’t feel as though they have to overpower all aspects of our lives. If we emotional issues that feel out of control, it’s an indication that need to deal with something significant.

We are self-sufficient – In a culture that encourages self-sufficiency and independence, it’s difficult to recognize that it is actually a form of bondage rather than freedom. Our chronic need to manage our own life, fix our own problems and meet our own needs removes the ability of God to provide in our lives. It causes us to depend on ourselves rather than Him, thus leaves us exhausted and unable to overcome the trials of life.

What to Do If My Heart Isn’t Free

If you recognize areas where you don’t have freedom, it simply means that there is a life awaiting you that will allow you to become who God intended you become if you will surrender and trust Him. God doesn’t just come to bring us abundance in the material sense; He comes to bring abundance to our souls – to restore us and position us for the life He designed for us to live. This abundance produces in us His resources – love, peace, grace, kindness, patience, compassion.  It doesn’t take away the challenges of life, however, it just gives us a better way to deal with them.

So how can you get free? It’s important to know that it’s not your own efforts that will get you on track. As we begin to understand that we have bondage in our life, we must also understand that the Only One who can deliver us is our Lord Jesus. It’s easy to profess Jesus Christ with our lips, but we also must give Him access into our hearts. This requires that we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, honest and authentic before Him.

Many times we stay in our bondage and adapt our lives around it. While we may not be free, we are scared of what the cost might be if we truly surrendered fully to God. Therefore, we keep hanging on, missing out on God’s authentic purpose for us. In order to move into freedom, we must first understand that God does not force us into relationship with Him, and therefore, will only go to the places where we grant Him permission.

Giving God Access:

The only cure for a lack of freedom in our hearts is through an invitation to our Lord Jesus. We must:

  1. Acknowledge/face the areas of my life where I’m in bondage and bringing it openly before the Lord.
  2. Confess and ask for His forgiveness and grace to cover me
  3. Allow (give permission) to God, through the Holy Spirit, to get into the deep areas of my heart so He can reveal the roots that have driven me into bondage. This may take time, and it may be painful at times.
  4. Continually denounce the things that I hold onto that replace the provisions of God – and continually announce the authority of God to manage my life on my behalf

Prayer of Deliverance

Father God,

I acknowledge that I’ve allowed things into my life that have placed me in bondage. I chose these things to survive, to feel good or to independently manage my life apart from you. I realize that I have been caught in a trap. I can’t get out of it on my own. I don’t even have the capability to understand or know what is happening in my heart. Lord, today, I release these things over to you and surrender my heart and my life to you.  I pray that you would take me out of the trap I climbed into. I give you permission to get on the inside of me and reveal and deal with those things in my life that led me into bondage. I pray to renounce each and every sin, relationship or mentality that stands in contradiction to your truth. I announce that I am a precious child of God, free in Your truth and free to become who you created me to become.  Father, I need your grace because I know that I won’t be zapped overnight. Lead me to the right recovery community or support system so that I can learn to walk out that freedom from here on out.

In Jesus Name,