You’re making progress, you slip, you feel bad about slipping – so you fall farther. You start thinking, “What’s the use after what I’ve done?” You give up and you maybe even end up worse off than when you began. That’s not just a blueprint for dieting disaster. It’s a blueprint for spiritual disaster.
I call it the Cycle of Shame. It’s one of the devil’s favorite tools for pulling a follower of Jesus down and keeping them down. You could be trapped in that Cycle of Shame even now. Or you’ve been there and you don’t want to go back there. You may have fallen, but you can get up!
Satan succeeds in keeping you down with that “what’s the use?” lie when you make a big mistake. You focus on you instead of the One who died so you could be free. The Bible doesn’t say, “The righteous man never falls.” It says in Proverbs, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again” (Proverbs 24:16 ). You don’t let one sin turn into a hundred sins. You get up right away and you pick up where you left off growing in Christ. You bring your sin and you bring your failure to Jesus.
Satan keeps pointing to your past because, well, it can’t be changed. Jesus keeps pointing to your future because it’s yet to be written. Yes, you went down, but you don’t have to stay down! Jesus stands ready this very minute to pick you up, dust you off, bandage your wounds, and help you start running for Him again; forgiven, restored, and stronger than you have ever been before.
Provide real life examples of how God can help you battle your addictions. How God can help you find a sense of being loved. We have the will, we do not have the power. God is the Power if we ask him.
1. Matthew ,7, 7-11
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. 9Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread, 10 or a snake when he asks for a fish? 11 If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him
2. Psalm 142
With my own voice I cry to the LORD; with my own voice I beseech the LORD. 3 Before him I pour out my complaint, tell of my distress in front of him. 4 When my spirit is faint within me, you know my path. As I go along this path, they have hidden a trap for me. 5 I look to my right hand to see that there is no one willing to acknowledge me. My escape has perished; no one cares for me. 6 I cry out to you, LORD, I say, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living. 7Listen to my cry for help, for I am brought very low. Rescue me from my pursuers, for they are too strong for me. 8Lead my soul from prison, that I may give thanks to your name. Then the righteous shall gather around me because you have been good to me.
“God’s love is “everlasting”: “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”: God’s very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange
Small Group Questions
1. Do you think that you need structure and discipline to start/continue your recovery? Why, or why not? What happens to children when they are not disciplined?
2. Do you get discouraged when you are no longer in control? How does the exercise of self-control give you staying power when you are in tough situations such as temptations or trials?
3. What can you do or have done to resist the influences of desires, bad traditions, and sin so you can become more responsible in your faith, serve and please God, strive for moral purity, and benefit others?
4. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb, the only effective and ultimate sacrifice for our sins. What does this mean to you? How can you reach out, grab His hand, and respond?
http://www.psychologytoday.com/collections/201106/battling-addiction/blinded-biochemistry – Article that helps explain addictions. Summary quote comes from here.
Ask for help from God, a friend your wife, your priest. Ask for forgiveness for past transgressions and look forward. Small Group members are a good place to start, but you have to ask for help.