(Guidance And Decision-Making)
DEFINITION: In Greek there are two terms used for the word “will” in reference to the will of God. One word is “boulema,” which refers to God’s sovereign will. This is His predetermined plan for everything that happens in the universe. This type of “God’s will” is fulfilled regardless of decisions made by man. The “boulema” will of God is written in His Word. There is no need to seek this will of God because it is revealed in the Bible. The other word “thelema” refers to God’s desire for man to experience and live in His will. It refers to His individual plan for each believer. You have the power to choose whether or not you will walk in the “thelema” or individual will of God for your life. It is this “thelema” will, or God’s will for you as an individual, to which we refer when we speak of seeking God’s will.
FACTS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
Seeking God’s will for your life assumes several things. That you acknowledge there is a God, that He communicates with man, that you can recognize His voice, and that He has something to say. All of these are true according to the revelation in God’s Word. It also assumes you have received Christ as Savior and are a believer (John 10:27).
Never seek guidance through the occult–witchcraft, tarot cards, tea leaves, fortune telling, horoscopes, etc. These are all satanic methods of guidance.
Do not use methods of chance to determine God’s will. These include casting lots or fleeces. These methods were only used prior to the giving of the Holy Spirit in a new dimension where He came to live within believers (Acts 2). A fleece is only mentioned once in the Bible. It was used by Gideon at a time of great national crisis and was for confirmation of God’s will, not for direction. Casting lots was a method similar to rolling dice to make a decision. These methods of guidance were never again mentioned after the giving of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
Every voice you hear is not God’s voice. The Bible reveals that Satan speaks (Genesis 3). He lies, deceives, and attempts to lead you away from God. Satan even spoke to Jesus (Matthew 4:1-13). Evil spirits have voices (Acts 8:7; Luke 4:33-34). There are also the voice of self– examples of which are found in Luke 16:3 and 18:4 and in Jonah 4:8–and the voices of others who would give you advice. Then there is the voice of God, the voice that as a believer, you want to hear and follow.
God speaks through both the written and revealed Word. The first is called the “logos” Word of God. The second is called the “Rhema” word. The “logos” or written Word always agrees with the “rhema” or spoken, life-giving Word. A “rhema” Word from God usually applies to a specific situation, meets a personal need, and provides individual guidance. A “rhema” Word may be communicated through a sermon or a verse from the Bible which suddenly strikes you with great meaning. It may be spoken to you by God through the use of spiritual gifts. It may also be spoken in your inner spirit by the Lord. God will never guide you through a “rhema” personal word from God to do anything that conflicts with His written Word.
God reveals His will through the written Word of God, through counselors, through circumstances, and through open and closed doors of opportunity. God also gives supernatural guidance through angels, miracles, dreams, visions, or prophetic words spoken into your life. God sometimes speaks with an audible voice, but most often He communicates through a voice in your spirit. One of the most important ministries of the Holy Spirit is to guide believers into God’s will: “When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you” (John 16:13-14, KJV).
DEALING WITH GOD’S WILL:
Immerse yourself in the Word of God. Many questions regarding guidance are answered in God’s Word. For example, the question of whether or not a believer should marry an unbeliever is addressed clearly in 1 Corinthians 6:14. There is no need to seek additional guidance or pray about something that is already revealed in God’s Word.
Pray for God’s will to be done. Jesus prayed: “…yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Make this your prayer also. Ask God to teach you to do His will and to lead you by His Spirit (Psalm 143:10). If you do not know God’s will in a certain situation, allow the Holy Spirit to pray through you because He intercedes according to the will of God (Romans 8:26).
Seek Godly counsel. Never go to a secular counselor, as they do not offer advice based on God’s Word. As a believer, you cannot find God’s purposes and plans for your life through advice from someone who does not know God and His Word (Proverbs 12:15).
Fulfill God’s will for each day. If you obey the Word of God and His direction for each day, someday you will look back over your lifetime and realize you have walked in His will for a lifetime.
Expect God to open and close doors of opportunity. The Apostle Paul experienced both closed and open doors of opportunity–and so will you (1 Corinthians 16:9; Acts 16:6). Step through the open doors and stop at the closed doors, recognizing that closed doors are also used to direct your life. Never try to open a door that God has closed.
Trust God to guide you even when you do not understand. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Use the Biblical keys for guidance given in Proverbs 34:5-6 and Romans 12:1-2.
Remember that the individual will of God for you will never conflict with the moral will of God revealed in His Word.
Ask these questions when making decisions regarding questionable practices–things not mentioned in the Bible as being either right or wrong:
-Does it glorify God?
-What is your motivation for wanting to do this?
-Is it necessary?
-Does it promote spiritual growth?
-Is it an enslaving habit?
-Is it a compromise?
-Will it lead to temptation?
-Does it give the appearance of evil?
-Does it violate your conscience?
-How will it affect others?
Recognize that the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. For decisions not specifically dealt with by Biblical command, principle, or example, the peace of the Holy Spirit is your guide. When you make a decision regarding a questionable practice or life situation and you do not have peace in your spirit, continue to seek the Lord. Do not act until you have the peace of God confirming your choice.
Make wise decisions. Ask God for wisdom to make good decisions each day, and He will give it (James 1:5).
If you make a bad decision, do not give up in despair. Many people in the Bible strayed from the will of God but returned to fulfill their destinies: The prophet Jonah; the Apostle Peter; John Mark; and King David are some key examples. If this happens to you, admit your failure, repent, determine where you got off course, and correct your errors. Then seek God for new direction and act upon it.
Always remember that decisions determine destiny. Even your eternal destiny is determined by the decision you make regarding Jesus Christ.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GOD’S WILL:
At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out. They obeyed the Lord’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses. (Numbers 9:23)
Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies– make straight your way before me. (Psalm 5:8)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Psalm 25:9)
Teach me your way, O Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. (Psalm 27:11)
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. (Psalm 31:3)
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. (Psalm 32:8)
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: (Psalm 37:5)
If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23)
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. (Psalm 40:8)
Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. (Psalm 43:3)
For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. (Psalm 48:14)
You will guide me with Your counsel, And afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24, NKJV)
Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth. (Psalm 86:11)
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Psalm 119:133)
Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8)
Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground. (Psalm 143:10)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure. (Proverbs 11:14)
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15, NKJV)
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the Lord weighs the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2, NKJV)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)
And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them. (Isaiah 42:16)
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (Isaiah 58:11)
I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps. (Jeremiah 10:23)
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)
Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
Who are my mother and my brothers? he asked. Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother. (Mark 3:33-35)
Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. (Luke 22:42)
For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)
If anyone chooses to do God’s will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. (John 7:17)
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)
When He, the Spirit of truth is come (the Holy Spirit), He will guide you into all truth. . . and He will show you things to come and He shall receive of mine (God’s will) and show it to you. (John 16:13-14, KJV)
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. (Romans 8:26-27)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)
Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:26)
And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ. (Ephesians 1:9-10)
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (Ephesians 5:17)
Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. (Philippians 2:12-13)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. (Colossians 1:9)
Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, In the day of trial in the wilderness, Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” (Hebrews 3:7-1, NKJV)
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:36)
May the God of peace … equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.(James 1:5-8)
The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:17)
(For a detailed study regarding scriptural guidance, obtain the Harvestime International Network course entitled “Knowing God’s Voice” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
DEFINITION: The word “spiritual” means “characterized or controlled by the Holy Spirit.” A “gift” is something freely given from one person to another. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to a believer for the purpose of service in the Body of Christ.
FACTS ABOUT GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
There is a difference between the “gift” and “gifts” of the Holy Spirit. The “gift” was given at Pentecost (Acts 2) when the Holy Spirit was given in answer to the promise of Jesus: “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter…Even the Spirit of truth…”(John 14:16-17a). “Gifts” are supernatural abilities given by the Holy Spirit to enable effective ministry, and are distributed to each believer as the Holy Spirit wills.
There is a difference between spiritual gifts and natural talents. A talent is a natural ability inherited at birth or developed through training. A spiritual gift is a supernatural ability given by the Holy Spirit to be used for specific spiritual purposes.
The purposes of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are listed in Ephesians 4:12-15. The purposes are to perfect the saints, promote the work of the ministry, and edify Christ and the Church. The goals of these spiritual gifts are that we will become united in the faith, develop our knowledge of Christ, develop in perfection, with Christ as our model, become stable, not be deceived by false doctrines, and mature spiritually in Christ.
There are many gifts which come from one source. The source of spiritual gifts is the Holy Spirit who gives and operates these gifts in the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-7).
Each believer has at least one spiritual gift. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). See also 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11.
You are only a steward of your spiritual gifts. A steward does not own that with which he works. He uses something given to him in behalf of the person who gave it to him. You are a steward of your spiritual gifts to be used for the advancement of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 4:1).
The key to using spirit gifts is love. See 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
A spiritual gift can be abused. You abuse spiritual gifts by not using the gifts given to you (1 Timothy 4:14, 2 Timothy 1:6); attempting to use gifts not given to you (Acts 8:20-21; 19:15-16); and not using gifts properly (1 Corinthians 14:33,40).
The main passages identifying spiritual gifts are Romans 12:1-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-31; Ephesians 4:1-16; and 1 Peter 4:7-11.
Spiritual gifts include the following.
Apostle. An apostle is one who has a special ability to develop new churches in different places and cultures and to oversee a number of churches as a supervisor. Apostle means “a delegate, one sent with full power and authority to act for another.”
Prophet. Prophecy is the ability to receive and communicate an immediate message from God to His people through a divinely-anointed utterance. A prophet is one who is in a leadership position in addition to his gift of prophesying.
Evangelist. An evangelist has a special ability to share the Gospel with non-believers in a way that men and women respond and become responsible members of the Body of Christ.
Pastor. Pastors are leaders who assume long-term responsibility for the spiritual welfare of a group of believers.
Teachers are believers who have the ability to communicate the Word of God effectively in such a way that others learn and apply what is taught. As a leadership gift, they also assume a leadership role in addition to teaching.
Prophecy is speaking by the special inspiration of God to communicate an immediate message to His people.
Teaching communicates the Word of God in a way that others can learn and apply what is taught.
Exhortation is the ability to draw close to individuals in time of need, counseling them correctly with the Word of God. To “exhort” means to call a person aside, to advise, recommend, admonish, encourage, or comfort.
Word of knowledge is the ability to understand things which others cannot comprehend and to share this knowledge with them under the inspiration of the Spirit.
Word of wisdom is the ability to receive insight as to how knowledge may be applied to specific needs.
Discerning of spirits is the ability to evaluate people, doctrines, and situations as to whether they are of God or of Satan.
Leadership is the ability to make plans in accord with God’s purpose and to communicate these goals to others. A person with this gift motivates others to accomplish these goals for the glory of God.
Administration. A person with the gift of administration has the ability to give direction, organize, and make decisions on behalf of others.
Faith is a special ability to believe with supernatural confidence and trust God in difficult circumstances.
Giving. A person with the gift of giving has a special ability to give material goods and financial resources to the work of the Lord. The gift of giving also includes giving time, strength, and talents to the work of the Lord. All Christians are to give to the work of the Lord, but the gift of giving is a special ability given to give above and beyond the average believer.
Helps. A person with the gift of helps assists others in their work for the Lord.
Serving is an ability to assume routine but necessary duties to free others to fulfill their giftedness.
Mercy is the ability to show special compassion on those suffering and help them
Hospitality is a special ability to provide food, lodging, and care for those in need.
Miracles. Through a person with the gift of miracles God performs powerful acts which are beyond the possibility of occurring naturally.
Healing. A believer with the gifts of healing has the ability to let God’s power flow through him to restore health apart from the use of natural methods. All believers can pray for the sick, but a believer with a healing gift is used specifically and consistently by God in this area of ministry.
Tongues is the ability to receive and communicate a message of God to His people through a language unknown to listeners, a message which is subsequently interpreted by someone with the gift of interpretation.
Interpretation of tongues is the ability to make known in a language understood by listeners a message from God given through one with the gifts of tongues.
DEALING WITH GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
Become a believer. You must be a believer in order to receive a spiritual gift. If you do not know Jesus Christ as Savior, confess your sins, repent, and accept Him into your life.
Receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. See “Baptisms” in this database for guidelines to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Pray for spiritual gifts. The Apostle Paul said to desire spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31). Ask the Holy Spirit to manifest in your life the gifts necessary for you to minister effectively in the realm of your spiritual calling.
Have church elders lay hands on you to bestow and confirm your gifts. They did this for Timothy, a young minister in New Testament times (2 Timothy 1:6).
Use your spiritual gifts. God has given you spiritual gifts and expects you to use what you have been given. Read the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong–that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. (Romans 1:11-12)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will. For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:1-8)
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:7-9)
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 12.
Read 1 Corinthians chapter 14.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
“When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. (Ephesians 4:7-16)
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11)
(See also the verses in the topic “Baptisms” in this database. For a detailed study of the gifts of the Spirit obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit” available at http://www.harvestime.org)
DEFINITION: Generational curses are spiritual bondages or predispositions for sinful behaviors that are passed down from one generation to another.
FACTS ABOUT GENERATIONAL CURSES:
Natural heredity is a term used to describe how living organisms reproduce after their kind. It concerns the presence or absence of certain characteristics–physical, emotional, and personality traits that are passed biologically from one generation to another.
Spiritual heredity refers to spiritual blessings or curses that are passed from one generation to the next. Spiritual heredity–what you received spiritually from your ancestors–can be either positive or negative in your life. You may have had godly parents who gave you a good spiritual heritage, or you may have had unsaved parents who were hostile, angry, and addicted and passed some of these issues on to you.
Blessing and cursing are invisible forces of spiritual power which are transmitted by words (Proverbs 18:21). You can speak positive words of blessing over someone, or negative words of curses that cause despair, discouragement, and destruction in a person’s life.
Generational curses are negative spiritual traits passed down from a previous generation. These are sinful spiritual strongholds that have controlled the attitudes and actions of your ancestors. In the natural world it is possible to have a propensity towards certain physical conditions–cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.–due to heredity. The same is true in the spiritual world. For example, if your ancestors were involved in the occult, you may have a predisposition to dabble in it also and you may be affected by it. Chronic sickness can be a generational curse passed down from your ancestors, as well as a tendency to use addictive substances. Children often repeat the sins of their parents.
You can initiate and pass on curses to following generations. Through your personal sin, you can erect spiritual strongholds that will be passed on to your children and succeeding generations.
Generational curses can be broken through the blood of Jesus. Galatians 3:13 says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Jesus not only redeemed you from sin when He died at Calvary, but He also redeemed you from every curse.
You can pass on spiritual blessings. Just as curses can be passed to succeeding generations, so can blessings. See Deuteronomy 5:8-10 and Psalm 103:17.
DEALING WITH GENERATIONAL CURSES:
Acknowledge known sin. Acknowledge your sin and take personal responsibility for any sinful practices in which you are engaged. Confess and repent of these sins (Ezekiel 18:20).
Identify generational curses. If you are struggling with issues passed down from your parents–and if your siblings also struggle in these areas–you most likely are living under a generational curse.
Break every curse in the name of Jesus. A stronghold is an area in your life where the enemy has established control. It may be a hold he has over your attitudes, behaviors, emotions, or your finances. Claim the power of the blood of Jesus and take authority over Satan in every area of your life. Pray a prayer of deliverance, binding the power of Satan and breaking any curses or generational spirits operating in your life. Here is a sample prayer: “In the name of Jesus, I confess the sins and iniquities of my ancestors and declare that these strongholds have no hold over my life. In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I declare that every generational curse is broken over my life. I am no longer in bondage and I declare myself and future generations freed from bondages passed down by our ancestors.”
Refuse to engage in curse-causing behavior. Things like rebellion, negative emotions, witchcraft, the occult, addictive substances, and sexual sins all result in spiritual curses in your life. Reject such behaviors so that you do not erect spiritual strongholds and pass curses on to your descendants.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT GENERATIONAL CURSES:
And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)
The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation. (Numbers 14:18)
You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand [ generations] of those who love me and keep my commandments. (Deuteronomy 5:8-10)
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children– with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts. (Psalm 103:17-18)
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.(Proverbs 18:21)
In those days people will no longer say, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’ Instead, everyone will die for his own sin; whoever eats sour grapes–his own teeth will be set on edge. (Jeremiah 31:29-30)
You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers’ sins into the laps of their children after them. O great and powerful God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to all the ways of men; you reward everyone according to his conduct and as his deeds deserve. (Jeremiah 32:18-19)
The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20)
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
(See also “Curses” in this database.)
(Drug, Alcohol, Gambling, Sexual)
DEFINITION: People with addictions have lost control over what they think, what they do, or what they ingest into their bodies. The term “addiction” can be applied to harmful substances such as drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. It can also be applied to harmful behaviors such as compulsive gambling, sex, or mutilating your own body. People can also develop addictions to things that in themselves are not harmful–such as food, hobbies, sports, etc.–but that are addictions when used in uncontrolled excesses.
FACTS ABOUT ADDICTION:
So you think you aren’t addicted? If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you need help:
-Are you using drugs other than those required and prescribed for medical reasons?
-Can you get through the week without using alcohol or drugs?
-Has your drug/alcohol abuse interfered with relationships with your parents, children, spouse,relatives, or friends?
-Has your drug/alcohol use caused you to miss days at work or school?
-Have you been dismissed from school, a job, school, or other positions due to drug/alcohol use?
-Have you had a fight when under the influence of alcohol or a drug?
-Have you done anything illegal in order to obtain alcohol or drugs?
-Have you been arrested for possession of illegal drugs?
-Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
-Have you had medical problems (like memory loss, hepatitis, convulsions, blackouts, flashbacksetc.) as a result of using drugs or alcohol?
-Do you feel sick when you try to stop using drugs or alcohol?
You are a slave to whatever controls you. “A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him” (2 Peter 2:19).
You cannot please God if you are controlled by addictions. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you” (Romans 8:8-9).
Anything that harms your body spiritually, mentally, or physically is sin. The Bible declares: “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) . Your body is a temple and you should treat it as a sanctuary.
Addictions cause you to lose control. When you are under the influence of an addiction, you lose control of your will, your body, and your mental processes. If you are not in control and God is not in control, guess who is? Your enemy, Satan.
Drugs are related to sorcery. Revelation 18:23 speaks of the “sorceries” of evil men. The Greek word for sorceries is “pharmakeia”, meaning “enchantment with drugs”. Revelation 9:21 indicates that those that do not repent of their “sorceries” (enchantment with drugs) cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Legitimate drugs, when not abused, are not sinful. Every good gift comes from God, and legitimate medications are gifts that help restore health and alleviate pain.
There are many kinds of addictions. A person can be addicted to food, drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, or pornography. One may also be addicted to an activity that in itself is not wrong, but because of overindulgence in it becomes wrong.
God wants you free from all addictions. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
DEALING WITH ADDICTION:
Admit that your addiction is sin. As long as you refuse to admit your addiction, you will be unable to deal with it. “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).
Cut the root, kill the fruit. Addiction is a surface manifestation of a deeper need or problem in your life. Think about why you take drugs, drink, smoke, gamble, etc.? Do you feel better about yourself when you do it? Do you do it to try to escape heartache and difficulties in your life? Whether it be heartache, difficulties, or negative emotions, etc., cut the root that is supporting your habit and you will kill the fruit–the addiction itself.
Ask God for deliverance. Pray not only about your addiction, but the root causes behind it–your hurt, pain, rejection issues, etc. Rebuke any generational spirits that would foster addictions. Bind the spirit of addiction from operating in your life: “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18). Renew your mind by the Word, prayer, and meditation.
Seek biblical rehabilitation. If you need assistance in dealing with your addiction, find a biblical rehabilitation center or program. The Salvation Army, Teen Challenge, Dream Centers, and Celebrate Recovery are excellent biblically-based programs.
Resist the devil. “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you…” (James 4:7-8a). You resist the devil and his temptations by prayer and the Word of God which enables you to draw near to God. You are not resisting the devil when you have cigarettes or drugs in your pocket just “in case it doesn’t work” and you need them. Use your access to God to secure help in time of need (Hebrews 4:15-16).
Change your lifestyle. Do not hang out with people who use drugs or alcohol. Do not frequent parties or places where drugs or alcohol are used or gambling is done. Do not watch television programs that promote drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. through either the screenplay or advertising. Do not return again to the bondage of addiction (Galatians 5:1).
Form a support network. Form a personal support network of people who have successfully recovered from addictions and can help you do the same. Celebrate Recovery and Teen Challenge provide excellent Christian support networks for addictions.
Know that you will be tempted. Temptation is common when overcoming an addiction, but you can overcome it in the power of the Lord. When you are tempted by the enemy to engage in your habit again remember that… “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). There is always a way out. Take it!
Remember that you never fail until you quit trying. If you return to your addiction, do not give up in defeat. Ask God to forgive you and strengthen you to take control over the addiction, then begin again. Rather than condemning yourself, think about ways you can respond better next time you are tempted.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT ADDICTION:
I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. (John 8:34-35)
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. (Romans 7:18)
For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do–this I keep doing…What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:19 and 24-25)
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. (Romans 8:8-9)
For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:13-14)
Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. (Romans 13:14)
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Everything is permissible for me-but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me-but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
For we are the temple of the living God. (2 Corinthians 6:16)
Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage … For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:1,13)
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of a sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. (Galatians 5:16-17)
And be not drunk with wine (or high on other drugs), wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.(Colossians 3:1-5)
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
A man is a slave to whatever has mastered him. (2 Peter 2:19)
(See also “Alcoholism” and “Habits” in this database.)