Refreshment in Refuge
by Gina Burgess
If you missed the first three parts, the links are at the bottom of this article.
Now we are at the part where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The decision has been made, the temptations have been recognized, and you have a regimen to deal with those pesky temptations, so now it’s all smooth sailing, right? Not by a long shot. Now begins the real battle. Now is when Satan will dig in his heels and begin the battle in earnest.Now is when you fight more than just your fleshly desires, the Spiritual Battle begins, and Satan will be using every fiery dart and piercing arrow in his quiver.
• Build desires within us, like FIRE on a stovetop
• Are like WATER in a tea kettle
• Is like the STEAM from a boiling tea kettle (Author Unknown)
My dad bought me the six weeks of patches so I could quit smoking. (Bear in mind this was right after I’d been served with divorce papers.)The first day wasn’t so bad because I kept busy. The second day was a bit harder, but the fourth day I was climbing the walls. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, my stomach was churning, my mind was craving.
I read some research that said if you drink a lot of water, it flushes the nicotine out of the system so you don’t have such terrible cravings. That wasn’t true for me. I was awash in water, I sloshed when I walked down the hall, and still the cravings were unmanageable.
I was in a flash of a moment, the hunger for a cigarette overwhelmed me, and dropped me to my knees. I cried out to God in such deep desperation it is a wonder no one came rushing in to check on me. I prayed and prayed for Him to take away this crushing desire. He asked me one question, “Gina, do you want to go through all of this again?” That question brought me up short. It said several things, the number one thing was that I absolutely would quit one day, and the main question was when I would quit. I could yield to temptation and then go through the whole thing again at a later date or I could face the demons to complete the battle now. So... Emphatically I cried, “No!”
I wish I could say that I got off my knees and never desired another smoke. That didn’t happen, but from that point, the desire subsided with each patch I applied, and with each day that I decided not to smoke. It was a daily decision for me until one day five weeks later I realized I hadn’t thought about a cigarette all day. What a milestone. Today, I’m like one of those people who I detested when I was smoking. When those who do smoke around me, I try hard to remember what it was like when I was quitting and God grants me the grace to be quiet.
Which brings me to the point of part four: When we pray within God’s will, His grace abundantly flows through us. Make it a daily thing to pray God’s word over yourself. The more you pray His word, the deeper within His will you root, the more nourishment you receive, and the better fruit you will produce. Pray God's word, the scriptures and insert your name and your particular habit in places that are appropriate.
God told Cain when he got angry, Genesis 4:7 “If you do well, is there not exaltation? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is toward you; but you should rule over it.” This was before Cain succumbed to his anger and murdered his brother Able. God knows before we do something and the Holy Spirit will warn us. Pray: Father, sin is beckoning me, help me to rule over it. Put Your desires in my heart.
Proverbs 10:18 He who hides hatred with lying lips, and he who sends out a slander, he is a fool.
Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise shall be wise, but one associating with fools shall be broken.
Proverbs 14:16 The wise fears and departs from evil, but the fool rages and is sure.
Pray: Father, please surround me with wise friends with good counsel, keep the fools far from me. Please help me to depart from this evil or cause this evil to depart. Imagine the temptation is this raging, hungry lion. Then be sure to put those iron bars between you and the lion. Walk on by that lion. It would be foolish to walk up to the cage and stick your hand inside, and try to pet any rabidly wild animal. Yet, people will consistently stalk temptation, petting it, cuddling it, all in the guise of “just thinking about it, I’m not hurting anyone.” God will protect you from temptations, but only if you don’t stick your hand in the cage or open the cage door. That is the way of fools.
God knows precisely what we are facing. He knows how hard it is to break addictive behavior. David prayed an extremely emotional prayer in Psalm 38— 1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O Jehovah, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, and do not chasten me in Your fury. 2 For Your arrows sink in me, and Your hand presses heavily on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger; nor peace in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have passed over my head; as a heavy burden too heavy for me. 5 My wounds have putrefied and rotted because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent down, I am bowed down exceedingly; I went mourning all the day. 7 For my loins are filled with a burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am exceedingly benumbed and crushed. I howl from the groanings of my heart. 9 My Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs; my power forsakes me! And the light of my eyes, they also are not with me. God knows this is how you are feeling, but pray it anyway. Talk it out with Him. Bring every thing to Him, every thought, every temptation, every joy, every baby step, every victory. He is much bigger than any problem or addiction that Satan can fathom.
Psalm 16:1 A Secret Treasure of David. Watch over me, O God, for I take refuge in You. Pray: LORD Almighty, keep me safe, keep my heart and my thoughts pure, for I take refuge in You, and You banish sin from Your presence.
Psalm 26:2Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; let the fire purify and make clean my thoughts and my heart. Pray: Lord, your deepest desire is that your children look like you with the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Guard my mind and let no unseemly thoughts burst into full bloom. Guard my heart, for out of the heart comes the essence of the soul. Keep my heart from harboring evil desires. Put to sword all those desires that are not of your making. Psalm 51 Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not from your presence, but draw me close to your heart so that your desires are my desires, your will is my will. Keep me with a short leash, LORD, so that I may not sin against you.
There are so many verses in Scripture which have these same messages. How many of the Psalms are David’s cries for help from the Almighty? Remember that Jesus prayed for you specifically just before He went to the cross (John 17:20-26). He counted you worthy of His life. No greater love has a man that that he lays his life down for his friends. That is the kind of love Jesus has for us, yes, just as we are, warts and all. Jesus sees past the shame to the joy beyond the cross and beyond our sin. Take heart in that. See beyond the addiction to the joy of freedom, and hold fast to that because God’s hand is fastened around you. Nothing can snatch you from His hand, John 10:28-29.
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She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.
If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection
Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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