Soul Therapy – Part 1

Message Notes:

Resolutions don’t work! Studies show that 80% of us can’t keep our resolutions past Valentine’s Day – Feb. 14th.

Series Thesis: Real change never takes place when you try and change external things.

Anytime you try and address things on the outside without addressing what’s going on inside, you are bound for failure.

Soul Therapy is about addressing the condition of the heart so that external transformation can take place.

We will deal with topics like anger, depression, anxiety and stress, and self-esteem.

We will give you the spiritual side of it and also the practical side of it that we all can do to see everlasting change.

Today, we are going to tackle addiction. Paul says that he is an addict.

Romans 7:19-24 NLT
(19)  I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.
(20)  But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
(21)  I have discovered this principle of life–that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.
(22)  I love God’s law with all my heart.
(23)  But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.
(24)  Oh, what a miserable person I am!

All of us are addicts to one degree or another. An addiction is that thing that we do but we don’t want to do but we can’t stop doing.

We can say others are addicts but we have “problems”. An addiction can be food, alcohol, lust, gambling, internet, social media, television, hunting, fishing, sports, etc. Things that have control over us.

Before we fix it, let’s identify the cycle of addiction:

  • It becomes part of my identity.

We have now become that thing but Jesus can change that identity.

  • When I try to quit but fail, I feel increasingly hopeless.

“I just don’t think this is ever going to change. I’ve made these resolutions before…”

  • Any threat to my addiction becomes a threat to me.

When anyone tries to touch that area, we become defensive.

We’d rather not get involved in close relationships because we can hide and protect that thing that needs to be changed but we don’t let anyone bring up or identify in us.

  • I begin to lose my life.

You are thinking that there is no way that this is the way God intended for me to live my life.

You never reach your potential because you are not able to do anything constructive because you are always fighting and dealing with your struggle.

  • I ease the pain by getting my next fix. (doing it again – repeating the cycle)

How do we break the cycle once and for all?

You have to change it by changing your heart and not the action itself. The behavior is not the problem by itself; there is a root in the heart that needs to be changed.

One pastor said, “Most of us don’t want changed lives, we just want changed situations…”

“I don’t want to change what I’m eating; I just want to be skinny…”

Addiction is not the problem – it is just the symptom of a bigger disease: Idolatry!

Idolatry – anything in our lives that we have allowed to have a place of importance on the throne of our hearts above God.

We all from time to time allow things to become too important.

  • Whatever is on the throne of your heart you worship.
  • Whatever you worship, you serve.
  • Whatever you serve, you become a slave to it.

Isaiah 44:9-10 NLT
(9)  How foolish are those who manufacture idols. These prized objects are really worthless. The people who worship idols don’t know this, so they are all put to shame.
(10)  Who but a fool would make his own god–an idol that cannot help him one bit?

Isaiah 44:15-20 NLT
(15)  Then he uses part of the wood to make a fire. With it he warms himself and bakes his bread. Then–yes, it’s true–he takes the rest of it and makes himself a god to worship! He makes an idol and bows down in front of it!
(16)  He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.”
(17)  Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!”
(18)  Such stupidity and ignorance! Their eyes are closed, and they cannot see. Their minds are shut, and they cannot think.
(19)  The person who made the idol never stops to reflect, “Why, it’s just a block of wood! I burned half of it for heat and used it to bake my bread and roast my meat. How can the rest of it be a god? Should I bow down to worship a piece of wood?”
(20)  The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?”

We need to ask the Holy Spirit if there is an area of our lives that has become an idol.

Change has not been successful for us because we may have acknowledged the area but we have not taken the steps that we need to do to dethrone that thing in our hearts.

Matthew 17:14-18 NKJV
(14)  And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying,
(15)  “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
(16)  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
(17)  Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
(18)  And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.

  • Faithless (Unbelieving): not connected to God.
  • Perverse: too connected to the world.

Any relationship that you want to improve on takes both a drawing to them and disconnect from anything that would come into that relationship.

Matthew 17:19-21 NKJV
(19)  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
(20)  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.
(21)  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

  • Prayer connects us to God.
  • Fasting disconnects us from the world.

Prayer is not the morning ritual or 911 prayers. Prayer needs to be close and intensive.

Fasting is not penance. It is not suffering to prove to God that you really love Him.

Fasting is an intentional disconnect from anything that has become an idol and is appeasing your flesh.

All of us have a thing that we do that we don’t want to keep doing and we dethrone that aggressively by doing what Jesus said to do.