In a conversation with a friend, I was talking about a struggle I was trying to get past. This friend stated, “Jimmy, you hold on to everything. It’s not particularly a bad thing, it’s who you are.” All I could do was shake my head in agreement and continue to listen. Then they asked me, “Have you ever asked God to take something away?” Whoa, my world was rocked. They continued by reminding me that some things are a gradual process. Some things don’t happen over night. Heck, it took Moses forty years to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land.
I used to think there was something wrong with me. I’ve been to conferences like Promise Keepers where men are told to come forward and leave their sins and struggles at the feet of the cross. One year, while speaking at camp, I had a box for kids to put their “old self” and their personal battles in and we burned it in a bonfire at the end of the week. But my reality was that, in my own life, there were things that always returned. I was never able to figure out why. I often wondered if God was listening. I couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong! But that night, when this wise friend spoke, it was like a flip switching in my brain. I’ve never had a broken bone but I have watched the healing of people who have. The break gets reset and then placed in a cast. Healing is a process. The cast isolates the break to keep it safe and allow the bone time to fuse. After time, and multiple check ups, the bone is reexamined and the cast can be removed. Often the area that had been broken ends up stronger and there is no visible sign of damage.
So what does that look like in my life? Here are four strategies I have developed over time:
- Seek the Healer. Just as we wouldn’t duct tape a broken arm in hope of healing, we must begin by bringing our pain and struggles to God. He has the perfect prescription for us. Pray, ask Him what to do. Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us to “Rejoice always, pray continuously, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
- Isolate the area. Ask God if there are places, people, or things that you need to avoid. If I had a weakness for donuts to the point that I couldn’t pass one without devouring it, it wouldn’t be wise for me to take the route to work that passes Dunkin’ Donuts. The same goes when we are wrestling with sin. Stop revisiting the things you are trying to avoid.
- Surround yourself with wisdom. The world is full of people that will give you all kinds of advice. The key is to listen to people that are receiving wisdom from God. And occasionally, if you’re as lucky as me, you’ll have some true friends that will give you a swift kick in the butt when needed.
- Educate yourself. I have a friend who was told by his doctor that, if he didn’t make major changes in his life, he would be diabetic. Instead of lying back and accepting the disease, he decided to fight. He read as many books and articles as possible about lifestyle change to combat diabetes. And he implemented the things he learned. Through eating right and exercise, he ended up losing thirty pounds and diabetes is no longer knocking at his door. We need to be vigilant in our fight against our enemy. The more we study the Word, the more we learn ways to combat the attack. God has filled the Bible with a battle plan. It’s our job to learn how to fight.
Healing can be a process. Don’t be discouraged. God has everything we need in His arsenal. And here’s the coolest part of all: You have already been set free!
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. – Romans 6:18
I honestly don’t remember exactly how long ago the afore mentioned conversation with my friend took place. But I can tell you that the day after it took place, I committed myself to praying that God remove my struggle. And the God heard my prayers. I stand here today as a testimony to the fact that God answers prayer. I am free!