Our life is a sum of our choices.  We make choices everyday that may or may not be in our best interest. We ask ourselves “What is best and right for me?“, and not “What does God want for me?“ Most of our unhappiness in life comes from listening to us, instead of God. When we listen to ourselves, we tell ourselves things that aren’t true because a lot of the things we think aren’t correct. We tell rational lies to ourselves all the time. We all live a life that is self-destructive in nature.  There are things in this life that we do even when we know are unhealthy and not good for us, and yet we make the choice to do them anyway.

Romans 7:24

24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

We are all dominated by sin in some shape or form, but The Holy Spirit dwells in everyone who believes in Him. The Holy Spirit is there for us to call on to help us overcome our self-destructive ways. Our self-destructive behavior separate us from God and the blessings he has for us. Satan tries to flood our thoughts with negativity and destroy our spirit.  There are seven weapons of self-destruction that Satan uses to keep us from turning to God: Shame, uncontrolled thoughts, compulsions, fear, hopelessness, bitterness, and insecurity. These seven weapons destroys our life more than anything else and keeps us from happiness and the promises God has made for us.

Shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.  We cannot be happy and be ashamed at the same time. Being ashamed robs us of our happiness. Carrying around guilt from choices we have made in our past keeps us from happiness.  When we suffer and if we believe in God, we should never be ashamed

1 Peter 4:16

16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

Uncontrolled thoughts are another weapon of destruction that Satan uses to steal our happiness. If we do not learn to control our thoughts, our thoughts will ruin our life.  We do what we think and it allows our negative thoughts to ruin and consume our life. We need to learn how to control our thoughts.  Looking inward and being reflective is a useful thing to do, especially when negative things happen in our life.  If we allow our negative uncontrolled thoughts to take residence in our mind, we will slip into depression. The more we allow our thoughts to control us, the deeper into depression we will be. We have to switch our focus and concentrate on something else. When we pretend to forget, we allow our minds to slowly forget too. It’s amazing the things we can allow our minds to do. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

1 Peter 5:8

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour

Compulsive behavior is behavior that we do not because we want to behave a certain way, but because we feel we have to.  It’s behavior we “just had to do” even when we knew it was wrong. We need to learn how to deal with them and learn how to fight them. If we do things by our compulsions, it can undo a lifetime of credibility. 

James 4:7

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat.  Fear limits our potential and prevents us from achieving what God has planned for us. When we learn how to master our fears, it will limit them.  

Isaiah 41:10

10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Hopelessness is having no expectation of good or success.  Never getting married, never having children, never finding any one to love us, never finding a job, never being happy are just a few examples of feelings of hopelessness.  There are times in our life where we just want to give up because we feel like we will never be happy. Those without hope will give up too soon.  As a result of our hopelessness we will begin to isolate ourselves  and stop taking care of ourselves. The further we slip into hopelessness, the further we will spiral down into a whirlpool of sadness.  We have to learn how to turn our hopeless thoughts into healthier thoughts. It’s amazing what we can allow our minds to do if we stop complaining, avoiding, and worrying. We have to stop banging our heads against a wall that won’t move, and learn how to walk through the door that is swinging wide open for us.  

Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Bitterness is a huge weapon of self-destruction. Life is unfair because life is broken. We can either get better or be bitter. There is no value to bitterness because “You always hurt you the most.”Just because people have things we don’t, there is no value in holding a grudge. Holding onto bitterness is a self-destructive poison that will consume our life. We need to learn to let go and forgive.

Ephesians 4:31-32

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Insecurity is lack of confidence and self-doubt.  If we do not learn how to deal with our insecurities, it’s going to cause us to do foolish things. We cannot hide them, we have to deal with them. When we are insecure, we will say and do stupid things.  Each and everyone us feels insecure about something in our life. Whether it’s how we look, our weight, or aren’t as confident as we should be.  We need to change how we feel emotionally about who we are.  We often times feel inadequate and like we aren’t good enough, we need to change what we believe and how we perceive ourselves.  Before we were born, God already knew how we were going to be. He formed us in His image. Learning to love who we are and accepting who we are through Him will allow us to let go of our insecurities.

Jeremiah 1:4-10

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

When we fire these weapons against ourselves, we face obstacles and temptation in our life. Our savings grace comes from the Holy Spirit and the power He has in our lives.  To overcome these seven weapons of self-destruction we have to remind ourselves daily what Jesus did for us.  This is how God sets us free from shame. We aren’t set free from ourselves until we remind ourselves what Jesus did for us.  God has already taken our payment.  He knows we are going to make mistakes, but we are under no condemnation. We do not have to walk around in this life being ashamed or guilty because God died on the cross for us. If we are believers and belong to Christ, there is no condemnation, this doesn’t apply if we have not completely given ourselves to the Lord. God doesn’t get mad at us because we sin, because He’s already paid for all of our sins.

Romans 8

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

When we belong to Christ, there is a new power in us – God’s power. However, we still rely on our own will power and not God’s. Keeping God’s law cannot save us because of our sinful nature. We can spiff up our outside, but our inside nature is still the same. Only God can change our nature and our heart.  If we are going to have a radical change in our life, it has to change our nature and only God can do that.

The way we act is determined by the way we feel and how we feel is determined by how we think. If we are depressed it’s because we feel depressed and we are thinking depressed thoughts. We cannot force a feeling, but we can change the way we think. If we change the way we think, it’s going to change the way we feel and act. We can act our way into a feeling. If we start acting loving, thinking loving thoughts and feelings, our depressing thoughts will slowly start to go away.

We have to ask the Holy Spirit to give us better thoughts. This is the second key to a permanent change in our life. We have two mindsets, our old nature and the Spirit. We have to choose between these mindsets. We have to ask the Holy Spirit to give us better thoughts and if we ask Him to give us better thoughts, He will. Are we going to set our mind on how we normally think, or how God thinks about our life? The mind of a sinful man is self-destructive and the mind controlled by the Spirit is a life of peace. Our problems probably won’t change or our environment, but our mind set can change. This is the Holy Spirit’s answer to the weapon of uncontrolled thoughts.

It is important for us to focus on what we want to achieve rather than avoid. Don’t resist it, replace it. Whatever we resist, persists. We choose what we dwell on and we choose what we focus on. However, now that we are believers, we have a helper. We have to invite the Holy Spirit to give us ideas and it changes our thoughts. We have to invite the Holy Spirit to have free access to our mind 24/7 because they’ll always be right. The mindset we normally have will cause self destruction, God’s mindset will give us peace.  Anytime we truly want to change something in our life, we don’t resist it, we replace it. If we want to break any bad habit, we have to refocus our attention. The sinful mind is hostile to God. By replacing our thoughts and focusing on what God wants us to achieve rather than avoid (our compulsions, urges, lusts) we will experience a freedom from the habits of our old nature. Change comes from the inside out.

To overcome our compulsions we need to realize we have a new ability to say “No.” We need to realize that now that we are believers, that we have the ability to say no to the things that are self-destructive in nature. Our will power runs out, but now that the Spirit is in our lives, we have the power to say no. Before we invited God into our lives, all we had to rely on was our own will power. We have things in our life that we can’t say no to, but now that we have God’s power, he gives us a new ability to resist our temptations. We need to tap into that power. We need to let the Spirit direct our lives.  We still have the same desires, temptations, urges and compulsions, but should we fulfill them? No. We should limit any desire that seems “natural” because not everything natural is good for us. Maturity means doing the right thing, not what you feel like doing.  We can ruin our entire life with one compulsion.

Romans 8:9

9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ

In order to overcome fear, we need to turn our thoughts to God whenever we’re afraid. We have to stop focusing on our fear and start focusing on Our Father. Whenever we’re afraid, we need to remember whose family we are a part of. We are the son of God, daughter of God and families protect and take care of each other.

Romans 8:14

14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

When we feel like our life is out of control it creates an enormous amount of fear in our life. Crazy people don’t fear crazy. Crazy people are happy to be crazy and don’t care. We’re broken, but we’re not crazy. God has not given us a spirit of fear. The more of the Holy Spirit we have, the more controlled we are. The Bible says we should not be afraid, but turn to God.  Mastered by the Master, we can handle anything.  The Spirit that God has given us does not make us fearful or timid. Instead His Spirit fills us with the power of love and self-control. The more self-controlled we are by the Spirit, the more self-control we will have. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

We need to focus on the long-term, not the short-term. The more long-term our thinking is, the more successful we will be in life. If we continue to think in the short-term, the more failure we will see in life. People who fail at life have short-term thinking. Long-term for Christians means eternity. We are thinking years ahead, even after we die. When we think in long-term, we are able to handle our short-term pain better. We need to focus on the promises of God. Since we are His children, we WILL possess the blessings He keeps for his family and we will possess Christ and what God has kept for Him. When we get to Heaven, we will be rewarded by how we lived on Earth. We need to focus on the long-term benefits of doing the right thing and sharing in His glory forever.

We need to remind ourselves that God is good and in control and we need to remind ourselves of that everyday. 

Romans 8:18-25

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Everything in the world is broken and has lost it’s original purpose by sin.  Pain in our life is not optional, but misery is. We need to remember that the Holy Spirit is praying for us. The Spirit helps us with our weaknesses. The Spirit of God prays for us and begs God for us. God is using everything in our life for good. God is greater than our problems, enemies, critics and God is using it all for good in our life.  We know in all things, God works for the good for those who love Him. God wants us to succeed. God is not against us, God is for us. God will give us what we need. When we are feeling bitter, God is good and in control. There is nothing in our life that God doesn’t care about. There are no big problems in our life that He doesn’t care about because they are all small problems to Him. God doesn’t want us to fail, he wants us to succeed. If God is for us, who can be against us? We’re in the family, and our Father is God!

Romans 8:31-32

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

We need to trust that God will never stop loving us. This is how God’s spirit sets us free from our insecurities. Love liberates. When we feel insecure, it can really mess up our life and our perception of who we are. We have all been or felt rejected by someone in our life. Nothing hurts worse than rejection, but we need to trust God will never stop loving us, even when people in our life do.We are in the family, and God never stops loving his family.

Romans 8:38-39

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord

Our fears for today and even the powers of Hell can’t keep God away.  We may lose a lot of things in this life, but we will never lose salvation.

Inspired by Rick Warren’s Sermon “Set Me Free From Me”

Your words are my inspiration
Your life, the image of perfection
For all you are
For all you’ve done
I strive to be in your reflection

The line is drawn
I pledge my devotion