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A Path To Freedom - Part Five

Good Morning Family,

Welcome back, I'm so glad to have you all here today.

Have you guys been doing your homework?
I'm not going to ask you to raise your hands  .... 
At least today ...
(smiling)

Heavenly Father,

We have gathered here today in the Spirit of your caring love. Create in us instruments of that love. Build a life in each of us, through which Your presence may be made known, Find in us, a fitting expression of Your love. 
Guide us O Lord.
Grant knowledge and wisdom to the minds that hunger for Your truth, and peace to the restless hearts that yearn for rest. Grant strength to those who face difficult tasks and power to those who face temptations. Grant unto all within this place the ability to find the secret of Your presence and peace, that we may go forth from here in strength.
In Jesus' Name
Amen

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
Romans 12:1-2

We're moving right along in our series A Path To Freedom
I've called this message Making Changes

Change can be a scary thing…even when it is a positive and Biblical change.

How many here want to experience spiritual and emotional freedom? God has made provision for this to happen.

We must understand that new freedoms always require change to some degree. Even the most spiritual and upright people sometimes resist positive change because by nature change makes us nervous. 

But we must keep our eyes on the reward of positive change...

Have you ever rearranged the furniture in a room, and you grunted, sweated, it forced you to do some extra dusting and vacuuming, but when it was all said and done, you were glad you made the change?
It gave you a fresh feeling when you walked into the room…. it gave you a feeling of freedom from the "same ole same ole"!

Before we begin, lets briefly review some vital steps to spiritual and emotional healing:

1. The Reality Step: Realize I’m not God. I admit I’m powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
2. The Hope Step: Earnestly believe that God exists, that I matter to him, and that He has the power to help me recover. This is the hope step.
3. The Control Step: Consciously choose to commit all my life and will to Christ’s care and control.
4. The Examining Step: Openly examine and confess my faults to myself, to God, and to someone I trust. 
5. The Submission Step: Voluntarily submit to every change God wants to make in my life and humbly ask Him to remove my character defects. 

Definition of Character - a description of a person’s: attributes, traits, or abilities.

So where do my character defects come from?

From chromosomes, our nature.
Genetics explain predisposition and tendency, but genetics do not excuse sin!

Example: Laziness may be in your family history, but that does not excuse it in your own life:
This is true for any sin: addictions, lusts, adultery, greed, dishonesty, etc.

Character defects come from our circumstances.
Character defects are often attempts to fill unmet needs.
Character defects also come from Our Choices
Character defects are often positive qualities being misdirected and misused.

Why is it so hard to change them?

Because I've had them so long.
Because you identify with them.
I've made many excuses like, "It's just me to be (insert your character flaw)."
And "If I really let go of this flaw/deflect, I'm not sure I'll be me"

Yes, you'll still be you, just a better version of you!

Because character defects have an instant payoff, but they are cheap imitations. It's sort of like the difference between a genuine product that is well made vs. a cheap counterfeit substitute that may look good at first glance but it only falls apart in a short period of time.

It's like the difference between a genuine product, that I can't afford to pay for and a cheap knock off, that I can afford, but it's not made from quality materials, so won't last as long.

The good news is that Jesus paid for the real thing!
It was a very heavy price to pay, but you and I don’t have to pay that price…. He already did it for us with His own blood.

Another reason why it can be so hard to change character defects is because Satan discourages us!
He will do this through as many means as possible.

Fiery darts: Ephesians 6:16 says,
"Above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one."

Satan is the Accuser of the Brethren:
"Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down."
Revelation 12:10

Satan is a liar: John 8:44 says, 
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."

And I could go on and on...

So how do we cooperate with the spirit of God's change process?
By the renewing of our mind! John 8:31-32
"Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony."
Revelation 12:11

"Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2 Corinthians 3:16-18

We must focus on changing one defect at a time, in order to be successful.

Accept responsibility for our own faults.

Don’t play the blame game.

"The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart."

Proverbs 20:27

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us."
1 John 1:8-10

So if we want to ever get to the place of being guilt free, we must Ask God for forgiveness. This is basic to salvation, and it is basic to being free from guilt…. it may be basic, but it is huge part in our healing process….
It's just as important as having legs to walk.

When we love Jesus we won’t run from Him when He comes to help us.

Woe be to the person who thinks they have arrived…. 
Because I'm here to tell you, this is a life long process.  
God forbid that we would be the type of clay that dries out…. 
we must always remain pliable and formable, for God to be able to continue to shape and mold us..

"Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken."
Isaiah 1:18-20

Admit to your to others:
"Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
James 5:16

I know for many of you, this is going to be most difficult.
Let's be honest, its hard enough to admit them to ourselves!
Can I get a witness? 

But the key is you don't just go running around telling everyone you see your faults...
It must be somebody you trust, understand, and someone who is mature both socially and in Christ. 
Somebody who will not judge or condemn, but pray with you about them!
Don’t go to a gossiper; you don't need someone spreading all your business!  
Do not just go to anybody out of the blue… at the same time, when you need help, don’t deny yourself the privilege to getting help.  

Finally…Focus on doing good, not feeling good!
Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself!
Remember that God forgives instantly, freely, and completely!

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed."
Romans 3:23-25

"For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;

As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us."

Psalms 103:11-12

In closing...

That means once you have received God's forgiveness, He forgets it!

"I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; And I will not remember your sins."
Isaiah 43:25

Focus on God’s power to change you, not your own power. 

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" Philippians 4:13

"Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth."

Proverbs 17:14

So what does that mean?
The message of the verse is this:  
The perceptive find wisdom in their own front yard; while fools look for it everywhere else, without finding it.

Until next time...
Here's a little something to remember in your journey:
Life by the yard is extremely hard, but by the inch, now it’s a cinch!

And now
may the Lord bless you and keep you;
 

The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you

The Lord life up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
 

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen

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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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