Last week we covered the reasons how we relapse back into our hurts, hang-ups and habits;

• First, comes complacency.

• Next is confusion.

• Third, you go to compromise.

• Finally, you wind up in a catastrophe.

ALSO we looked at why we tend to relapse?”

Well, one reason is because we start…

1. Reverting to willpower.

Galatians 3:3: “How can you be so foolish? You began by God’s spirit. Do you now want to finish on your own power?”

2. Ignoring one of the steps. (Gal.5:7) “You were doing so well. Who made you stop obeying the truth.”

3. Trying to recover without support. Hebrews 10:25: “Let us not give up the habit of meeting together.”

4 We become prideful Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction.” You need to stay humble or you’ll stumble.

Moving Forward Step 7 is How to maintain momentum for recovery

Step 7 is the second “R” in R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y. RESERVE

RESERVE a DAILY TIME with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer, in order to know God and His will from my life, and to gain the power to do it.

Jesus said (Mark 14:38): “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation, for the Spirit is willing but the body is weak.”

He’s saying it is human nature to have a relapse, to go back to things that mess us up — even though we know they mess us up. It’s human nature to let past problems revisit us, old hurts, and hang-ups come back to haunt us. So He said, “You need to have some safeguards.” And that’s what this step is about. And finally There are 3 safeguards that help you maintain your recovery. One is the habit of…

1. EVALUATION.

2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Check up on yourselves…”

You know the Lord tries to help us with this through revelation. Unfortunately many people do not understand God's language. When or how He attempts to inform us, trying to help us to recognize or head off some warning signs in our lives. God wants us to walk in victory, He wants us to be aware of the devil's schemes and plans to hurt us or derail us and many believers hear his voice, but misinterpret actually misapply what He is saying. Now please hear me good. I've seen pastors do it, intercessors do it, long time Christians do it, worship leaders do it. This is a powerful truth that we have learned by watching it play out over and over again in the 24 years of pastoral ministry and will set you free.

Many get a revelation from the Lord about almost anything. The error comes when an individual does not realize that God is giving you that revelation to deal with something in your own life. NOT to see that problem or fault in others. OHH THERE IS SO MUCH I CAN TEACH YOU ON THIS!!!

    

Lamentations 3:40 tell us, “Let us examine ourselves…and let us repent.” OK. But what does that mean? What do we evaluate?

• A Physical evaluation:

You ask the question, What is my body telling me?” Your body is a barometer of what’s happening at your soul-level. Like a warning light that maybe something is wrong. So, periodically you need to stop and say, “What is my body saying to me? Am I fatigued? Am I stressed out?” Take a physical evaluation.

• An Emotional evaluation:

What am I feeling right now? Am I allowing my real feelings to surface? Or am I just pushing them down?” Pushing down your real feelings is like shaking up a can of Coke — it’s going to blow eventually. You do what I call a heart check.”

  H •       Am I hurting?

  E •       Am I exhausted?

  A •       Am I angry?

  R •       Do I resent anybody?

  T • Am I tense?

• A Relational evaluation:

Am I at peace with everyone?” If you’re not, that internal conflict is going to keep you back, hold you back from your recovery.

Aunt Bertha hurt you 15 ago and she lives a thousand miles away. And yet, you wake up thinking about her. Do you realize that you’re letting her live rent free in your mind. Preoccupied with it. It’s controlling you. You got to let it go. Ask yourself, “Is there anybody living rent free in my mind? Am I holding on to a hurt?”

• A Spiritual evaluation:

Am I relying on God? Moment by moment am I relying on God?”

When you do an inventory at work — like a grocery store — you don’t just look at the bad fruit that’s spoiled, you look at the good fruit too. When you do an inventory, you want to say, What’s good in my life?” You celebrate any minor victory, no matter how small it is, on a daily basis. “I told the truth at least once today. I blew it three times but I was calm twice. I at least wanted to be unselfish in that situation.”

Do the evaluations. Confess your failures. Celebrate the progress. (Galatians 6:4)“Each one should test his own action. Then he can take pride in himself without comparing himself to somebody else.” You can honestly say, “I’m proud of what God’s doing in my life. I’m grateful that God is working and I’m seeing progress in my life.”

Now, here’s what I’ve discovered: Evaluation is kind of like cleaning house, and there are 3 ways you can clean a house:

1.  Some of you are instant cleaners. You live with a Dustbuster in a shoulder holster. You walk around behind the kids, picking up after them. You’re like those waiters who take your plate before you’ve finished your meal.

2.  Others of you kind of clean house at the end of the day. Look around the house, pick it all up, do a daily clean up, keep the thing from falling completely apart.

3.  Others of you, whether the house needs it or not — once a year, you clean it up. Kind of like spring cleaning.

That’s is the same way you can do an inventory…an evaluation.

• moment-by-moment

Evaluate your life, anytime you start feeling the pressure build. Say, “What is my body saying to me? What are my emotions saying? Am I tuned into God right now? Do I have any relational conflict?” You try to deal with it immediately, because the longer you postpone a problem, the worse it gets.

When you know you’ve blown it, immediately confess the sin. “God, I’m sorry. I screwed up again.” Then immediately breathe in God’s love, “I receive Your forgiveness.” You need to learn to do that on a moment-by-moment basis. Keep short accounts with God. Don’t let that garbage pile up. Becaues, your life starts stinking, if you don’t deal with the garbage that’s in it — on a moment-by-moment basis. So evaluate your life, whenever you need it.

• Daily Review

At the end of the day, find a quiet spot and review your day. Confess your failures. Celebrate your victories. Journal.

• Annual Checkup

Kind of like spring cleaning. You go away for a day. Take some time off to really look at your life. Do a moral inventory. Look at your life, see if it’s in order. Do a major refocus of your life.

The habit of evaluation will help you guard against a relapse. So will the habit of…

2.  MEDITATION

Meditation is a good biblical word that has been used and abused by a lot of other people. It simply means this: Slowing down long enough to hear God. That’s all it is.

See, busyness and hurry are the enemies of recovery and growth. And I find that Satan fights nothing harder in my life than this issue — making sure I get time alone with God.

Psalm 1:1–3: “Happy are those who are always meditating on God’s laws and thinking about ways to follow Him closely. They are like trees on a river that do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do.”

The key to growth is to have roots down deep in God’s Word, and the way you get roots down deep in God’s word is to meditate on it, seriously think about what you read in the Bible for a little bit. Then think about what I need to do about it…how I need to act on it.

When you do that He says, “You’re like a tree planted by the river and when the heat’s on you don’t wither away and when the drought comes you don’t dry up and blow away.” You don’t have a relapse.

Like the pastor who saw this bum on the street and realized he was a member of his church. He said, “What happened?” He said, Pastor, you wouldn’t believe it, my life has fallen apart.” This guy was a mess. He had gotten fired from work. He said he had lost all of his income. His wife and kids was leaving him because of the financial issues. Life was a financial mess.

The pastor said, “If you’ll just get a Bible and meditate on it, God says He will make you a success.” He was so confident about this. “You go open the Bible, put your finger down anywhere and do what it says.”

Six months later, he saw this guy again. Very successful. “What happened?”

“Pastor, I just did what you said. I opened the Bible, put my finger down. And it said Chapter 11.

I don’t suggest you use that technique. The point is God says, “My Word is the way you succeed in life.” This is the manual for life. And life becomes easier when you follow the instructions.

How do I meditate on God’s word? Psalm 119:11

“I thought much about your words and stored them in my heart so that they would hold me back from sin.” He says, “I think about Your words, I store them in my heart.” How? You memorize. “As I think about Your Word and memorize key principles and key passages, it keeps me from sinning. It holds me back from relapse.” You want to avoid temptation? Think about God’s Word. Meditate.

And you know what? If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. Worry is just negative meditation. When you worry, you take a negative thought, and you think on it over and over and over.

When you meditate, you take truth from the Bible and you think on it over and over and over. So if you know how to worry, you know how to meditate.

Evaluate. Meditate. And there’s a third tool that God says will be helpful to you in maintaining your recovery and that’s…

3. prayer

Recovery says, “I can’t do it but God can. He’s got all the power I need in order to recover. So, how do I get God’s power?” You get it through prayer. Now a lot of people don’t realize that you can pray about any need in your life. God is a loving Father — maybe the Father you never had. You can pray about a financial need, a physical need, relational need, a spiritual need, emotional need. He will take any need.

Chuck Swindoll said that he got this letter from a lady. She said that even though she didn’t marry until she was 31 years old, God had been gracious and had blessed her and her husband with 12 children. She told Pastor Chuck that she never worried about getting married. She just prayed about it and trusted Him with her future. And she described how.

Every night, she would hang a pair of men’s pants on the end of the bed and she would kneel down at the end of the bed and pray this prayer: “Father in Heaven hear my prayer and grant it if You can. I’ve hung a pair of trousers here. Please fill them with a man.”

Pastor Chuck says that when he told that story to his church the first time, he remembered seeing a dad, sitting there laughing. And next to him was his teenage son. The boy wasn’t laughing, though.

About a month later, Pastor Chuck got a letter from the mother of that boy, saying, “Pastor Chuck, I don’t know if this is serious or not. I was just wondering what you thought about it. Because every night when my son goes to bed, he hangs a bikini at the end of his bed.”

Prayer can do what God can do.

Jesus taught us how to pray. Look at what he says. Matthew 6:8-13

“This then is how you should pray:

  Our Father in heaven, may your holy name be honored,

     may your kingdom come,

  may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

     Give us today the food we need,

  forgive us the wrongs that we have done,

     as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

  Do not bring us to temptation,

     but keep us safe from the evil one.”

Now I want you to notice a couple of things about the Lord’s Prayer. First, circle the word “how.” Notice it says this is “how” you should pray. It does not say this is “what” you should pray. It says “how.” It’s a model. It is not a ritual to be prayed. People often ask how come we don’t say the Lord’s Prayer every Sunday. Because a couple of verses right before this prayer, Jesus says don’t repeat a ritual prayer, don’t have vain repetitions. This is a model, a pattern, a path.

What’s really cool is, all of the recovery steps are covered in this prayer:

  • “Our Father in heaven, may your holy name be honored.” That’s saying, “I realize I’m not God. But You are.” That’s Steps 1 and 2.

  • “…may your kingdom come, may your will be done…”  Step 5.

  • “Give us today the food we need…” That’s Step 3.

  • “…forgive us the wrongs that we have done…” That’s Step 4.

  • “…as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us…”  Step 6.

  • “Do not bring us to temptation, but keep us safe from the evil one.” That’s relapse, that’s this step, Step 7.

You see, recovery is as old as the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus Christ gave us the principles by which we can find full recovery. And the power that makes it happen — the power to be free…the power to maintain momentum…the power to change is as old as the cross of Calvary and the empty tomb.

And so, today, as an act of commitment, we’re going to take our moral inventories, we’re going to bring our specific lists of how we’ve been hurt, as well as the listings of how we’ve hurt others and who we have hurt. We’re going to bring all of our celebrations and our confessions and our evaluations. And we’re going to literally pin them to the cross.

Conquering our self-will and denial, all our mistakes and foulups — today we’re going to take them to the cross and leave them there. All of our hurts and habits and hungups. As a commitment to follow his lead…to keep in step with him as he moves and changes our lives…as a reminder that he paid the ultimate price to forgive us and we can forgive ourselves and others.

We’re going to begin singing. As we sing, I challenge you to move up here and make it real. Come up these steps, grab a pin, pin it up there, whisper a 2-second prayer of thanks, head down those side steps back to your seat.

[Insert this verse on a slide after the lyrics to “You Are My King.”]

“God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. “ (Colossians 2:13-14)

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You can make the changes you’ve committed to today — with His help. It’s his power that changes our lives — from the inside out. It begins and ends with Him.

Remember this day. Let it renew your faith and remind you that He’s calling you and empowering you to go the distance with Him.

Because of Jesus Christ, you can and you will be free.

Ever seen misprints in church bulletins? Funny stuff. And when it goes even wider — in the newspaper. And sometimes they’ll print a retraction or a correction. And in their attempt to make amends and correct the wrong, only makes it worse. Here is one that says, “In a recent article, we referred to the former Chairman of Chrysler Corporation as Lee Iacoocoo. That was incorrect. His real name is Lee Iacaca.”

Coming Clean

 

I have a friend who is a Colorado State Trooper. He said that he was trying to stop a speeding semi with out of state plates. But the big rig just kept on going. Lights. Siren. On his bumper.

 Truck finally ran out of gas. CSP officer walked up to the trucker’s window. “Did you see my light? Siren?” “Yes. Yes.”  “Why didn’t you pull over?”

 “Well, to be honest, about 2 years ago, my wife ran off with a Colorado State Trooper. I was afraid you were trying to bring her back.”

 

Making Changes

We all have hurts we never forget. We all have hang-ups we can never seem to get past. We all have habits messing up our lives. We’re on the Road to Recovery! R-E-C-O-V-E-R-Y. Today is “V-Day.” Step 5. The TRANSFORMATION Step.

 

Letting Go

#1 R= Realize

#2 E= Earnestly

#3 Consciously Choose

 

Did you hear about the pet-store delivery truck going down the road. At every stop light, the driver would jump out, run to the back of the truck, grab a 2x4 and start beating on the side of the truck. Nobody could figure out what he was doing. So finally somebody asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, “This is only a 2-ton truck and I’m carrying 4 tons of canaries. I’ve got to keep 2 tons of them in the air all the time.”