The Suffering Messiah 6 "Addictions"
Every addiction on planet earth is an attempt to move from feeling bad to feeling good. And after a while, we are willing to settle for feeling numb – anything but feeling sad, lonely, angry, rejected, unworthy etc. Unfortunately, all of our efforts to avoid our pain end up reinforcing it, even as we are often willing to settle for any distraction that helps us feel numb.
What do all the following behaviors have in common? And what is the most important question we can ask ourselves if we are going to overcome them?
Hiding who I am
Affirming others to gain their approval
Seeking to be the center of attention
Rescuing others to gain their approval
Trying to look good
Trying harder to do more and/
or get everything just right
Being controlling/manipulative, etc
They are all addictions designed to distract us from negative feelings growing out of the negative beliefs in our hearts.
The Most Important Question:
When it comes to overcoming all these struggles – and every other addiction, which is stronger?
- Jesus’ victory He has already gained? Or…
- Your sincerity, trying harder and harder to do what you are already unable to do?
How can Jesus identify with us trusting in our own strength to try and feel good instead of turning to God? He can’t because He never sinned. But the writer of Hebrews tells us:
- Jesus was made like us in every way
- Jesus suffered being tempted like us in every way.
Jesus fulfilled prophecy when they placed a wine-vinegar mix on His lips, (Psalm 69:21), tempting Him to trust in His own strength to protect Himself by numbing His pain as He was hanging on the cross, after He:
- had lost water and blood
- had lost all support from His friends
- had been nailed to the cross with His nerves on fire
- had a crown of thorns on His head with blood streaming down His face
- had to pay the price of agonizing pain every time He breathed in or breathed out with slivers in His back
- had experienced the greatest pain of all – that sense of eternal separation from His heavenly Father, the “second death,” as He was “made to be sin,” for all of us so we could receive His righteousness.
Because Jesus said no to this temptation to numb His pain – choosing to trust in His Father’s love, He has earned the right to heal us and set us free from every temptation to numb our pain – including, but not limited to pornography.
Pornography is sin. And 50% or more of men IN church struggle with pornography. Adam chose Eve over God and men have been falling in this area ever since. Fortunately, God’s Word tells us there is a belief system behind the behavior of looking at pornography. As I prayed with Rick, who was struggling with a 20 year addiction to pornography threatening his marriage and family, he realized he was focusing more on trying to stop his sinful behavior than receiving healing from Christ. Rick allowed Christ, the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ to:
- Reveal the ‘roots’ or negative belief of rejection behind his addiction
- Reconnect this area of his heart with Christ’s heart as He saw Christ being tempted to numb His pain instead of trusting God, and Christ being rejected to connect His story with Rick’s story or rejection
- Release everything keeping his sense of rejection that was driving his addiction to pornography
- Replace his pattern of self-protection with Jesus’ life, so Rick is receiving Jesus’ forgiveness, purity and acceptance (see diagram below)
Rick’s Pattern of Sinfulness and Brokenness
Rick choosing to trust in pornography to numb his pain instead of trusting God
Fruit & Root of Sin
Rick’s Behavior Of Porn =
Rick’s Negative Beliefs = ROOTS
Rick RECEIVING Jesus’ Resurrection Power
Jesus being made ‘sin’ for Rick to identify with his story of sin
Jesus’ forgiveness for Rick choosing to trust in pornography instead of God
Jesus’ purity in place of Rick’s pornography
Jesus acceptance in place of Rick’s rejection
As Rick received more and more of Jesus’ life living inside his body, mind and soul, Jesus’ story of saying ‘no’ to numbing His pain, was stronger than biology and the pull of sin. Jesus’ purity and victory over temptation was much more powerful than Rick’s sincerity. Jesus’ the 2nd Adam (Romans 5) was living inside and through Rick allowing him to rebuild trust with his wife as well. (Click here to read his full testimony on our ‘Testimonies’ page)
Next Week – Jesus Personal Identification With A Painful Question:
A friend of mine, author Cheryl Ricker, has a blog, www.cherylricker.com. An old friend of hers wrote in to ask where was God when a young girl was raped and killed. And if God is a God of love, why would He allow this to happen? Next week we will see how Jesus identifies with Cheryl’s friend and his critically important question – in a very personal way.