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THE WITHDRAWAL FROM SIN

Christian Bible Study - Bible Studies

 

Michael Le Sueur
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     Picture Satan as a drug dealer and sin as his drug. This is not a waste of imagination. It is an absolute picture of reality! To turn away from the habitual or recreational use of any drug, withdrawal is an experience that awaits all who choose the path of healing. When the outer surface of the body is wounded, the body will provide an outer layer of protection to the wound to protect the healing process. We call this scab. Now picture sin as a wound to the body or the mind. You are still in reality. Sin will injure one or the other. Now picture withdrawal as a type of scab. If only we could begin to see that withdrawal is an important part of the healing process, the pain that this "scab" offers could be viewed as a protective layer that should not be feared or avoided. Withdrawal is not a static thing, it is a dynamic process that lives and breathes, ebbs and flows according to how the life of a person is going. In this study we will examine the common ground of withdrawal and repentance. Withdrawal is the process of ceasing to take an addictive drug. Repentance is the resolve not to continue in sin. In withdrawal the mind can say no while the body says yes. The body can signal no while the mind approves of the action. In either case there is an intense desire to do what you are trying to withdraw from doing. This is the nature of addiction. It can be an overwhelming need. It is also the nature of sin. A very intense battle is taking place. It will help in the study to examine the first recorded battle in history.

     Addiction is part of the nature of sin and Satan is the progenitor of it. John 8:44. In the third chapter of Genesis we read of the inception of sin to the first man and woman. Satan, the pusherdemon, introduced his drug to the first couple. Although created as adults, Adam and Eve were almost like children in the pusherdemon’s hand. At the inception of his drug, Satan gave the illusion that sin was good to ingest, a delight for the eye’s, desirable and able to make one wise. (Vs.6). Satan is a dealer who use’s his own drugs with no repentance and his will for his victims are to be exactly like him. Sin has killed Satan’s mind. He is insane. To be forever apart from God and be conscious of it is madness. The method of his madness is to separate humans from God and to withdraw them from life. The garden of Eden was man’s first experiment with this drug called sin. That experiment has set a pattern of abuse that has existed from then until now. Satan’s will is to addict all humans. God is interested in the total rehabilitation of mankind.

     Satan tried to separate Adam and Eve from God. He tried to destroy their self esteem by telling them that they were naked. He wanted them to believe that they had no covering, no shelter, no protection or identity. The main intent was to infect their relationship with God. In Gen. 3:11 read God’s divine interrogation of the couple. He asked, who told you that you were naked? Who is behind our feeling that we have no protection? Who has infected our identity? Sin can severely damage self esteem and self identity. Its damage is reflected in the inability to function effectively in relationship with God and man. Also, infected is the sense of harmony and emotional balance. A Christians good self esteem is co-exsistant with the relationship with his maker. When you commune with Christ, you not only think well of yourself, you have confidence in your entire environment, including how well you fit into it. This is why Adam and Eve hid themselves. When your sense of relationship with God has been damaged by sin, you loose the sense of fellowship and belonging. You know God rejects sin, so you feel he rejects you. You become at odds’ with the environment he has placed you in and begin to question your place in it. The original couple had no others around them. With modern day Christians the damage can be aggravated by a world that is insensitive to the inner-struggle of the withdrawal from sin.1Cor. 3:19,20. Human wisdom is not enough to recover from sin. Recovery involves finding the relationship with God and then people. That is the proper therapeutic order for the right spiritual growth. Whether we realize it or not, withdrawal and pain have a great capacity for healing and growth. Which comes first, the egg or the chicken? Which comes first, pain or healing? With the first riddle I’m sure God created the chicken first, with the second I believe there is no separation. They are parts of the same body and ambidextrous. God is able to create and maintain what you or others may feel are unrealistic expectations or standards for self. The bible is based on actual events and views of humans who let God raise their level of being. Ps. 119:98-99. He is the source of altering the self. We have our identity with him and the realization that he is, and will reward those who choose to withdraw from sin and suffer the pains of repentance. Heb. 11:6. Healing is a two-edged sword, you hurt but you improve. To withdraw is to suffer. You do not procrastinate withdrawal from sin. You prioritize it. We set the goal of suffering to make our lives better. People don’t like suffering, they would rather hide. You should never run and hide from withdrawal. It will hurt but it will help. Bad habits should be goals and life is the opportunity to accomplish their removal. You develop trust in God by being hurt and witnessing him heal you. If you withdraw from God, you avoid resolving any healing. One sin will connect you to another and you will collect more reasons to maintain sin in your life. In repentance, a God inspired decision has been made to eliminate sin from you. ROM. 2:4. This is the security that we need in withdrawal, knowing that God is there. The abuse of sin is a type of covering that can mask other spiritual and physical problems. Sin can take on an anesthetic nature. When you withdraw from it, a variety of other sins that were masked can appear. Like a bump on a rug, when it is flattened out in one place it pops up in another. This is why some who withdraw from sin without proper understanding feel as if repentance only makes things worsen. They remove one layer and it reveals another, they become fearful and leave the layers alone and in place. Withdrawal takes courage to encounter Satan and the true self. In reality all sinners experience low self esteem because the parent of sin, Satan, has molested us. The dynamics of low self esteem are the results of the effects from continual bombardment of quilt. The devil does not want the stain of guilt to be removed. He must separate the sinner from Christ. 1John 1:9. The natural presence of Christ will cleanse. Satan seeks to mask your sin. It is an intentional volley of self deception fired at you to sustain a level of abuse. This method is the same type used in the garden of Eden. You are made to feel that you are facing the reality of your condition when really you are not. Gen. 3:4-5. "You won’t really die." He does not want you to introspectively examine your behavior and lifestyle. God’s way is diametrically opposite. It is to help you encounter reality. Wisdom is knowing how it is, not how it seems to be. God leads one to be clearly aware of the insidiousness of sin and to accept that you are powerless to pull out of it on your own. ROM. 6:23.

     Withdrawal from sin hurts. It could become difficult for the repentant sinner to learn how to confront day to day life situations without using sin as a pain killer or social lubricant. The sinful mentality is a resistant to withdrawal. Look at Heb. 11:25. Sin is called a passing pleasure. We must be detoxified from sin because it is a stimulant. Its poison must be extracted from the mental and physical system. Satan is cunning and devious in perpetuating the self deception that enables sinners to rationalize their self-destructive tendency to sin. We are inspired to smoke cigarettes in spite of their chilling effect. We are told that the feeling sin offers are greater than the resulting effects that it will incur. We are then led to believe it is beneficial. Often the withdrawal from sin involves a heavy influx of truth. The repented is actually becoming "aware." Matt. 5:6. They feel the need to change and the desire to draw close to Christ, the truth. So they must be trained in the unsettling revelation of personal problems. Therefore, the need for church attendance and Christian education is evident. Heb. 10:25. Encouraging one another and verse 24, stimulate each other to love and do well. Some fear having to relate to others in withdrawal. They may not wish to discuss their sin or continue to hide, even while in withdrawal. This is part of the mask of sin and could lead to backsliding. Satan will institute a phony pseudo psychology to convince people that they are healed when they have not. Healing is good news and should always be interpreted as such. That is the ingredient testimonies are made of. Ps. 40:8-10, James 5:16. Only Christ can remove the mask of withdrawal. The mask can be a crust of behaviors that suggest "there’s nothing wrong with me," and will not ask for help. The mask relates to the disparity between the strong images presented to the public and the insecure unhappy feeling that exist underneath the facade. Perhaps surrounded by qualified help they seek none and endure on their own. They facilitate a self deception of feeling strong when the person underneath is actually weak and full of doubt. Withdrawal must deal in reality. You must view yourself as you are and the actual condition you are in. Christ will peel away the layers of deception the external presentation of self presents. James 1:21. Deception and reality are incongruent, out of place with each other. Self honesty is a powerful weapon. It is gut level instinct.

     The fruit of the Spirit requires freedom of expression with a release in reality. Withdrawal from sin can become a major self satisfying achievement. It offers a euphoric restructuring of your relationship with Christ. When sin is totally understood - then rejected, that is a constant ally in withdrawal. People who do not understand withdrawal can make the experience more uncomfortable on themselves as well as others in withdrawal. Withdrawal is not alienation from God. Sin causes separation from God. Withdrawal is a walk toward God. Alienation is a feeling associated with sin. It is the feeling that you do not belong, so you hide. This is highly distressing because you feel emotionally disconnected from God and lonely or lost. Gen. 3:8. There is nothing admirable or glamorous about alienation. It is a type of pathology. It is an important psychological symptom suggesting that something has gone badly wrong in a person’s life. It is a joyless existence. Until the individual repents, they will pay a heavy emotional price. Sin is recreational self destruction. The sense of filling the lonely space with entertainment is part of the so called "party Spirits." Withdrawal from these "Spirits" can leave one emotionally and physically drained. You could begin to hate yourself. The hate arises out of guilt. The imposition of harsh conditions on one’s own life may be a way of cleansing the soul, a way of purifying the self. It is also a way of replacing Christ, paying for real or imagined crimes. Suicide is the chronic end of this behavior. Matt. 27:5. This extremely negative behavior is a type of remorse. If the conscious were not aware of God sin would not pester it. We cannot die for our own sins. No human can stand against the shifting winds of evil. Only through Christ can we find that harbor of peace from the changing winds of joy and despair. Phil. 4:7.

     Addiction to sin is not solely caused by a desire to avoid withdrawal. It is more than just stopping habitual behavior. It has to do with changing lifestyles and attitudes. You must change how you live. Read Matt. 19:16-22. It seems almost impossible for a person in position with power, to withdraw from sin. They don’t see themselves as hitting a wall of failure. Their influence shields them from the humility of withdrawal. They are surrounded by enablers who do not speak against sin. They become resistant to helpful advice on being born again. Matt. 13:45-46, 19:23-24. All sin, no matter how different it may appear, has one thing in common. They are different versions of the same phenomenon. It is all one disease and against the belief system of God. That is the defining nature of Satan. He is the root of addiction. He appeals to the five senses of humans. He offers an explosive mixture that causes rapid physiological addition that will combust more and more intense. He has created a society that flourishes under evil conditions that are counteracted by his supportive cast of demons. Satan’s environment shows definite advantages to committing sin. He even makes it easier to sin. He causes sin to appear in a way that you will want to embrace it. Eph. 2:3. You cannot withdraw from a society set in sin with brute will power. Demons will overwhelm human resistance every time. They will gang up on you if necessary. This does not mean that will power cannot be employed. It must be done so under God’s direction through the indwelling holy Spirit. Withdrawal from sin is directly related to relationship with Jesus Christ. The more intimate the relationship, the more restoration of all parts of you. Your sense of belonging to him is restored and renewed each day. Withdrawal will not be a ritual, but a transformation. Rituals are only profitable if they bring the problem to the surface and lead you to Christ, then they are of value. If they hide the problem or cause you to hide then they are useless. Withdrawal is not a comfortable chair to sit in. It can rock you to sleep spiritually or keep shaking you to God. It should always stir you to Christ and cause your comfort to be in only him. If you can’t take giant steps, then take small one’s, always in his direction. Never feel that your behavior cannot be helped. Your genes have not doomed you to anything. God can alter any real or imagined condition of anything that exists. If you can completely cold turkey a sin then do it. If you need time, take it, all of it. God is there for you. Withdrawal has no timetable and none should be placed on it. Stay in reality and do what you can when you can. Sin can be a temporary vacation from reality, so try to do something each day and you will notice a habitual life of service to your maker as withdrawal becomes a way of being. There will be pockets of peace to enjoy. In the end all things are judged by Christ that is the one true reality. Sin will never improve you. The presence of the Spirit does not come from sin. Sin erected an impenetrable wall between God and his children. A great price was paid to break that wall down. John 3:16, Matt. 27:51. Withdrawal from sin can be a hopeful period of expectations for your future. All optimistic assessments should be drawn from God’s word and kept near your heart. Read Gal. 2:20. Withdrawal is being crucified with Christ, you no longer live alone but Christ lives in you. You withdraw from sin by faith in the son of God who loves you and delivered himself up for you. The mask of sin is nullified by grace and you are restored from any curse. The adjustment stage to the withdrawal from sin can be a very depressing one. You can feel extremely guilty for failing to meet personal goals. Self can be blamed for not trying hard enough. The expectation for God to make it all better at once is tested. God would rather help us grow from experience and face our human limitations. When all is not made better at once, the feeling that God has forsaken you or is punishing you can make you cynical or perhaps bitter. Jesus understands the feeling of being forsaken. Matt.27: 46. It is only a feeling. God would never leave you. Heb. 13:5. Be content with your pace of withdrawal. It is better to remember what you are capable of doing than to constantly think about what you have done.

     During this time any Christian in contact with the person in withdrawal must pray to show regular, if not frequent and consistent, patience, love, sensitivity, empathy and a willingness to listen and encourage. Recognize and acknowledge any daily progress, even if it seems small and insignificant to you. There is no convenient category for the application of God’s grace. Forgiveness is a correlate of the gift of Christ blood. His blood bleeds for all from the wounds of withdrawal. Jesus offers a daily emotional check up to all who come under his blood. Christ forgiveness can never be overextended. Withdrawal from sin can be a circuitous and torturous tunnel back to the creator from whence we came. Its route can be different for each person. Steady or unsteady, up and downs, stumble, slip, slide forward or back. Every Christian is in some stage of withdrawal from some level of sin. We are all being rehabilitated. Since the garden of Eden we all have died.1 Cor.15: 22, and all have sinned. ROM. 3:23. When you see your death to sin, from this point Christ must be the role model selected. Exciting and interesting growth will then occur. Your relationship with Christ is magnified and pain has purposes. Your environment is manipulated by the Spirit. Withdrawal becomes growing up. You see yourself as God views you. Then self image has a degree of righteous reality. Personnel weak spots are selected and attacked aggressively. Matt. 11:12. Your worship is intensified. You experience freedom from the weight of guilt. An enlarged scope of spirituality is added unto you. Strength is given to carry you away from destructive behavior. Your adequacy comes from obedience to God. The way you view pain is transformed. Our culture looks at pain as something to be avoided at any cost. Yet it is the resistance to the pain of withdrawal that is often the most painful. That’s really what addiction is, and look at the pain it has caused. Pain is personal growth that is ultimately freeing. Recognize that, feel it, and God can sculpt and shape you in a very beneficial way. It will hurt but it will help. I work at a clinic where the nurses have a little poem tacked to the wall of the room they administer shots to patients. It says; don’t fret, don’t cry, the pain will pass by and by. It might hurt, it might swell, but it will help you to stay well! Whatever set of circumstances you find yourself in, God has allowed for your ultimate good. He is not trying to trip you up, nor is he indifferent to your situations needs. He cares for us and wants things to work out for our benefit. He knows better than you that your previous sins have separated you from him. Is.59:1-2. Openly deal with your sins to God, don’t hide in the garden with Adam and Eve. Draw close to God and he will draw close to you, which will cause sin to withdraw from him and benefit you. James 4:8. God is willing to forgive as often as we are willing to repent. Fighting the urge to sin is righteous war. It may very well be easier to strive to obey than it is to try not to sin. Be of good cheer, know that our actual father, our ever loving God is only dealing with sin for a short duration of time, and then it will be no more. Let us praise God for his plan and purpose for his creation of life!

  Michael Le Sueur
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