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Overcoming Addictions - Help for Christians

Christians and non-Christian alike battle with addictions and other behaviors that they find themselves struggling to leave behind. Through faith in Jesus Christ and placing emotional and spiritual health as attainable goals, we can all be overcomers.

This blog, produced by Certified Recovery Specialist Beth Livingston, is for people to exchange struggles and victories of breaking free from addictions and other hurtful behaviors.

God’s Grace, His Word and You - Part 1

man praying on hillside


by David Gibson

Ordained Pastor and Pastoral Counselor

 

God’s grace is most often defined as His “unmerited favor”. This is indeed very true. But it seems a little cold to me. The Hebrew word indicating God’s grace is hesed- loving-kindness. The people of His loving kindness are the hassidim. The Christian scriptures use the word charis- gift.

So I prefer to see God’s grace as His free gift pouring out of His loving-kindness. Our new birth in Jesus Christ places this free gift of grace upon us and within us. Romans 5:5 says that “the love of God has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” This is unique to any other love. He put His love into our hearts so that we may readily and always experience it.

God indeed has become very close to us; however, we often yearn for intimacy with God. So how do we connect to and maintain a loving relationship with God? First off, this dilemma of ours is shared with King David who was described as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Yet David wrote numerous psalms about his struggles with the world and his desire for God’s rule over his life. But David understood grace. He was a murderer and adulterer who knew that He could not only ask for forgiveness but also God’s choicest gifts because he knew God’s nature of loving-kindness (Psalm 51)!

So how do we connect with and maintain a love relationship, with all its benefits, with God? Like all relationships two-way communication is vital. This is sometimes hard for overcomers because we tend to withdraw in times of difficulties. It’s nothing personal towards those around us, its just something we do. And God understands this.

The apostle John teaches us in 1 John 1:1-4 that true joy is found in talking with and relying upon Jesus, even for those who did not walk with him as the apostles and disciples did: “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make your joy complete (verses 3-4).”

Some of us believe deep inside that we have got to do something to receive God’s grace. This is actually an obstacle to grace because grace cannot be earned. The works we do to receive grace are a currency equal to filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We must always remember that God’s grace, His loving-kindness and all that accompanies it are a free gift. This truth we must have faith in.

Now faith is strengthened with knowledge; knowledge of God’s words, God’s promises to us which come forth from His nature of loving-kindness. Dallas Willard, in his book, Hearing God, wrote that “faith is not opposed to knowledge; it is opposed to sight.” The foundation to experiencing God’s love in our lives is in knowing that He loves us no matter what- Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). Dallas continues, saying, “The person who is uninformed or confused will inevitably be unstable and vulnerable in action, thought and feeling.”

Thus we must enter into the love relationship, first through Christ, second through His Spirit, and third, through His word. God said to Israel in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and to the church in Matthew 12:30-31 that we must love God with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. These are in a particular order for a reason. We need God’s word in our mind so it can then enter our heart, soul and actions.

God’s words give voice to His Spirit within you.

Are you reading and thinking about God’s word to you? When you do, you will begin to hear, feel and be led by and into God’s loving-kindness and its attending gifts in your life.

Part One - God's Grace, His Word and You
Part Two - God's Words of Grace

Copyright 2014 David Gibson, used by permission.


David GibsonDavid Gibson is a writer, essayist, and blogger of Bible teachings for life application (http://davidwgibson.org/). He is also a Christian conference and retreat speaker, an adjunct professor of World Religions, and the former host of radio’s “Walking with the Master”.  David is an ordained pastor and was a pastoral counselor in the NJ prison system and a NJ psychiatric hospital. He received his Clinical Pastoral Education at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He was freed from his addictions over 25 years ago.

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