Life’s Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups and Their Healing Choices Subtitle: Getting Help (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Life’s Hurts, Habits and Hang-ups and Their Healing Choices

Subtitle: Getting Help (1 Timothy 4:7-8)

It doesn’t rain much in Southern California. And it rarely rains enough to cause any flooding. But several years ago it rained so hard that a portion of Lake Forest actually flooded! Glen lives in a low area. The flooding was so bad that the Orange County Register sent a reporter, in a boat, out to Glen’s neighborhood. The reporter found Glen’s wife, Jo Ann, sitting on their roof watching large objects floating by, so he climbed up on the roof to interview her.

As the reporter questioned Jo Ann, he saw a Weber barbecue float by, and then he saw a large golden retriever pass by on top of his doghouse, and finally, a sport utility vehicle! A few minutes later, he saw a hat float by; but after it floated about twenty feet past the house, it started floating back upstream. When it got about twenty feet on the other side of the house, it started floating back down again. The reporter watched the hat go by seven or eight times, and finally he asked Jo Ann, “Do you have any idea how that hat is floating up and down stream?”

 “Oh, that’s just my crazy husband, Glen. He said he was going to mow the lawn today, come hell or high water.” The problem with many of us is that we are still focusing on the lawn while our home is floating away. We have the crazy notion that we are in control.[1]

Last week we talked about admitting our need. When we admit that we need help we may have another struggle. The next struggle is dealing with our grief and pain and denial and turning it over to God. You may wonder, what does that mean turning it over to God? Well, that is what this whole series is about. Turning something over to God does not mean you will receive instant help. Sometimes you must go through a process. God also wants to use His people to help His people. So, you may think, “I told God about it, now what?” Well, now you must confess it to a Christian friend (James 5:16) and maybe a counselor or a pastor or accountability partner for help. God uses His people. You also must learn spiritual habits and God will help you that way.

Today let’s talk about getting help.

Let’s read: 1 Timothy 4:7-8:

 But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness;for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

The Christian life is discipline and training as we grow. As we grow and deal with our hurts, habits and hang-ups we will have grief, pain and denial.

  1. We will have grief: This is God’s pathway to comfort.
    1. We mourn our past mistakes.
    2. We mourn our loss of control.
    3. We discover God’s pathway to comfort.
    4. We must let God meet our need.
  2. We will have pain: God’s antidote for denial
    1. It is difficult getting rid of our hurts, habits and hang-ups and turning them to God. It is difficult getting rid of that addiction. It is difficult fighting anger. It is difficult not worrying or gossiping or being anxious. We will have pain. Depending on the severity of our hurt, habit or hang-up we will have more pain. We may need a treatment center or to see our doctor for a medication to help. But that goes along with admitting the need.
    2. S. Lewis helps us understand: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain. Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”[2]
    3. One writes: Pain is God’s way of letting us know something is seriously wrong and needs our attention. If your appendix bursts, and you felt no pain, you wouldn’t know your body needed help. The toxins from your appendix would infect your abdominal cavity and could eventually kill you. Pain alerts us to our need for help.[3]
    4. Pain is also God’s fire alarm. If a fire alarm went off in your house, I don’t think you’d say, “Oh, there goes that stupid fire alarm again! Somebody throw a rock at it and make it stop.” Hopefully, you would do something about it. You would call the fire department and get some help. But when our “pain alarm” goes off, instead of dealing with the source of the pain, we often try to cover up the sound. We try to mute the noise with people, work, food, alcohol, sex, and many, many different things. If you ignore the alarm, your house could burn down. An important point needs to be made here. Just because God allows pain to enter your life does not mean that He causes the pain, and it certainly doesn’t mean that He enjoys seeing you in pain. Pain is often a consequence of our poor choices or the poor choices of others. God allows the natural consequences of these poor choices to play out. This is not the same thing as Him causing our pain. God loves us and wants to lead us out of our pain and into His healing. The miracle is that He brings good out of our pain by using it to lead us to His comfort and away from our denial.
    5. With that said, take a look at yourself: How’s your pain level? Is God using your pain to get your attention?[4]
  • We will experience denial, refusing God’s Power to Help
    1. Blame: we will blame another person rather than get help. You may blame your parents for their anger. You may blame your circumstances for your anxiety. You may blame your genetics. You may blame your parents because they abused alcohol so did you, or so do you. But this denies the problem.
    2. Other forms of denial are just as strange. When someone asks us how we’re doing, we often say “I’m fine” or “So far, so good.” Who are we kidding? We could say the same thing if we’d just jumped off a building and were halfway down. We haven’t hit bottom yet, so we say we’re “fine . . . so far, so good.”
    3. Instead of denying your pain, allow it to motivate you to get help, to start making healing choices, to face the issue that you’ve been ignoring for ten, twenty, maybe thirty years. Don’t refuse God’s power to help.[5]
  1. However, God has Denial Busters
    1. We rarely change when life is cool and comfortable. We change when we feel the heat. We start to change after our marriage falls apart or after our kids go off in the wrong direction. One man said, “The acid of my pain finally ate through the wall of my denial.” Unfortunately, we usually don’t change until our fear of change is exceeded by our pain. Most people never choose to move toward healing until there is no other option.
    2. God uses three denial busters to get our attention, to force us to move into recovery and away from the choices and circumstances that have messed up our lives:[6]
      1. Crisis: God uses the pain of an unexpected crisis to shatter our denial: illness caused by years of substance abuse, stress brought on by workaholism, job loss due to inappropriate actions, or a divorce due to infidelity.[7]
      2. Confrontation: Losing your job, or your family is another denial buster.
  • Catastrophe: there may be a catastrophe, and this will cause us to recognize the hurt, habit or hang-up.
  1. God wants to get our attention Because He has a better way.
  1. Accept help:
    1. God exists (Rom. 1:20; Heb 11:6)
      1. Romans 1:20: For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
      2. Heb 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and thatHe is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
    2. You matter to Him.
      1. There are misconceptions like we may think that God does not care.
      2. Understand the truth of a loving God who cares.
  • God knows your situation.
    1. Ps 31:7: I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness,
      Because You have seen my affliction;
      You have known the troubles of my soul
    2. Ps 34:18: O taste and see that the Lord is good;
      How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him
      !
    3. Ps 56:8: You have taken account of my wanderings;
      Put my tears in Your bottle.
      Are theynot in Your book
      ?
  1. God cares about your situation. The situation you are in right now may seem hopeless. But it’s not.
  1. He has the power to help us.
    1. Plug into God’s power: believe and receive.
    2. Phil. 2:12-13: So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
  2. Apply
    1. Pray to God about what He is convicting you of.
    2. Write about it in a prayer journal.
    3. Share: Prov. 27:17: Iron sharpens iron,
      So one man sharpens another.

Close:

Once again, is God convicting you of something, pray and turn it over to Him. We all have hurts, habits and hang-ups. All of us have something that God wants to work in. The trouble is we think we can handle it on our own, but we cannot.

Being a Christian does not mean we have to continue on with the same problems. Let God help you.

Some of us think our sin is small and so we would rather sit and judge someone else, beware. That is what the Pharisees did and that is what the Sadducees did.

In his book What Good Is God?, Philip Yancey writes about being invited to speak at a conference on ministry to women in prostitution. After some discussion with his wife, Yancey agreed to accept the invitation as long as he could have the opportunity to question the women and hear their stories.

At the end of the conference Yancey had the following conversation with the women:

I had time for one more question. “Did you know that Jesus referred to your profession? Let me read you what he said: ‘I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.’ He was speaking to the religious authorities of his day. What do you think Jesus meant? Why did he single out prostitutes?”

After several minutes of silence a young woman from Eastern Europe spoke up in her broken English. “Everyone, she has someone to look down on. Not us. We are at the low. Our families, they feel shame for us. No mother nowhere looks at her little girl and says, ‘Honey, when you grow up I want you be good prostitute.’ Most places, we are breaking the law. Believe me, we know how people feel about us. People call us names: whore, slut, hooker, harlot. We feel it too. We are the bottom. And sometimes when you are at the low, you cry for help. So when Jesus comes, we respond. Maybe Jesus meant that.”[8]

Maybe, just maybe it was because the tax collectors and prostitutes knew they were sinners in need of a Savior and they admitted the need and accepted help. They came to Jesus. Are you going to Jesus with your needs? Come to Jesus with your addition to spending money. Come to Jesus with your fear. Come to Jesus with your anger. Come to Jesus with your pornography addiction. Come to Jesus with your lust. Come to Jesus with your drug addiction. Come to Jesus with your alcohol addiction. Come to Jesus with your anxiety. Come to Jesus.

Come to Jesus and have life.

John 10:10:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Prayer

 

[1] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (pp. 47-48). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[2] C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (New York: Macmillan, 1944).

 

[3] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (pp. 49-50). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[4] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (pp. 49-50). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[5] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (p. 51). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[6] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (pp. 51-52). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[7] Baker Jr., John F.. Life’s Healing Choices Revised and Updated: Freedom from Your Hurts, Hang-ups, and Habits (p. 52). Howard Books. Kindle Edition.

[8] From What Good Is God?, by Philip Yancey, p. 75; reprinted by permission of FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s