November 2011, A Letter from June
Have you ever said to yourself, I’m not going to eat that chocolate . . . and then all you can think about is . . . chocolate? In the battle with temptation—and who doesn’t fight it—we’ll shoot the arrow through our own foot every time if our thoughts are aimed downward.
My friend Frank suffered many such wounds during his 25-year battle with alcoholism. “For a time, I became a dry drunk,” he told me in a letter that I put in the first chapter of my new book, How to Defeat Harmful Habits. “I wasn’t drinking, but I had done nothing to quiet the desperation inside my head. I always ended up going back to the bottle.”
In this book, I explain that Frank needed to change his focus. Rather than dwelling on what he shouldn’t do, Frank—like everyone struggling with a harmful habit or addiction—needed to focus on three key targets from God’s Word:
Target #1: God’s purpose for me is to be conformed to the character of Christ.
The Bible says you are “. . . predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8:29).
- “Christ lives in me to conform my character to His character.”
- “I will yield to His control and do what’s best for my body.”
Target #2: God’s priority for me is to change my thinking.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
- “I’ll release my guilt to God and line up my thinking with His thinking.”
- “I’ll replace my defeated thinking with the positive promises from God’s Word.”
Target #3: God’s plan for me is to rely on Christ’s power to change me.
Philippians 4:13 gives this assurance: “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
- “I’ll give Christ control of my life in order to ( list specific actions ).”
- “With the strength of Christ I will ( list specific attitudes ).”
Every week on Hope In The Night, dejected strugglers like Frank call to express their defeat: “As much as I want to change, I simply can’t. Nothing works.” But God’s Word says otherwise: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness . . . .”1 So why is there such a battle? It occurs because the fear of pain keeps strugglers stuck.
As Frank went on to explain in his letter, “My addiction was both the root of my problem and my answer. It was my hell and my salvation . . . my curse and my blessing. It made life intolerable . . . and was the only thing that made life tolerable.”
The reality is this: Either way you go, you will have pain. If you stay as you are, you’re going to have pain. If you leave your addiction, you’re going to have pain. It’s guaranteed to hurt either way. Pain, however, can be your ally (propelling you to positive change) or your enemy (paralyzing you to stay stuck). You have a choice. Making the courageous decision to break free is the only way you’ll eventually be free—free from the pain of the past. My purpose in writing this book was to help you find freedom!
Fortunately, Frank finally chose to escape his debilitating addiction. “I never could have achieved it without the help of God, family, and the recovery community,” he wrote. “Through God, I received the grace, clarity of mind, and strength to ask for help.”
And that same help is available to you and your loved ones . . . right now! I can say with complete certainty that God can empower any person to defeat any addiction at any time—no matter the number of failed attempts. How to Defeat Harmful Habits—the third installment in my Counseling Through The Bible series—will help you share hope-filled principles that can set people free.
The book is filled with powerful, proven steps for overcoming alcohol and drug abuse, anorexia and bulimia, overeating and gambling, sexual addiction and smoking, compulsive spending and any other enslaving addictive habit you can name. I also included critical information on crisis intervention, 12-Step programs, rehab, codependency, healing prayer, breakthroughs in brain imagery, and much more. Also included are real-life stories of overcomers like Frank, who provide living proof that, with God, all things really are possible . . . including lasting freedom from any addiction.
I hope you will join me in asking God to use this book to work in the lives of those who need to be set free from addiction. For your gift of $25, I will send you a personally inscribed copy of How to Defeat Harmful Habits so that you can share the secret of breaking free from addictive behaviors with those in your life who need to find freedom. Why not take a moment now and ask God if there’s someone in your life who could benefit from setting a new target?
Over the years, generous partners like you have helped tens of thousands of people find biblical hope and practical help in 24 languages and in 60 countries. This month, as Thanksgiving draws near, we’re joyously celebrating 25 years of God’s faithfulness—25 years of presenting God’s Truth for Today’s Problems through Hope For The Heart. If you are led by God to give an “above-and-beyond” 25th anniversary gift this month, be assured that your gift will be used with utmost care to fund ministry that is changing minds . . . hearts . . . and lives.
Thanking God for you . . . now and always,