Leaders in the RU Recovery Program often experience students who “hit a wall”. The Bible refers to it as a “besetting sin”. The apostle Paul discovered this law of indwelling sin which eventually drags you down into it. Paul, through the Holy Spirit, realized all his own mighty efforts were futile. As soon as he saw sin as a law, not just an influence, he immediately conceded that to will against it was useless. I have seen students “will” against a particular sin, only to have it trample them time and time again.
You can fall on your knees and pray and ask God to give you strength to overcome, then get up from your knees and do the same sin again (it may be a little while), because no amount of, no matter how strong, can overcome the law of indwelling sin.
A simple outline for you to consider for Romans 7 would be…
I. HIS DETERMINATION (7:15-16)
II. HIS DEFEAT (7:17-23)
III. HIS DELIVERANCE (7:24 -8:2)
My desire today is to give you some guidelines in helping people long term. If we lose patience, or demonstrate harshness, strife, or are unwillingness to teach, we will not be around to offer them the instruction and teaching that God has instructed us to be willing and ready to give (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
1. Plan a time to talk with them.
Make that time somewhat just focused on them. Look them in the eye. Ask if you can meet them before or after a service. Meet them after class on Friday if you sense they are struggling. God uses servants of the Lord to help people out of the snare.
2. Let them talk first.
Let them tell you how they are doing? If they mention failure, get them to tell you how failure has affected them spiritually? Emotionally? Relationally? Give them plenty of time to talk in out. Give them plenty of time to catch up with the entire experience with words. Do not look for details. Look for root issues. Listen for triggers that may be directly attached to the besetting sin. Often, triggers attach through our senses; sight, sound, touch, hearing, or taste. Sometimes it can be a relationship, such as a weak relationship or temptations of a friend. I encourage you to get the book from RU on Recovery Without Relapse. This is a great resource to read and talk through with the student.
3. Ask how you might challenge them?
What is the best way for me to hold you accountable? This might be a good question to ask. Often accountability needs to be in the area of meditation. The last issue (Jan-Mar 2014) of the Victorious Life Messenger (VLM) was dedicated to proper meditations. If you have not read and digested the teaching of those articles, I recommend that you do it soon. It is important for us to challenge people to prepare their meditations. Meditations need to include an awareness of God in the person who struggles in order to give assurance He loves them and lives within them. This focus on God’s love and His spirit dwelling in the believer to comfort, convince, and guide into all truth is absolutely integral to overcoming an addiction and just trading them for “other” strongholds (John 15–16).
4. Praise them for slight accomplishments.
Look for forward progress and make a big deal out of it. The tool of praise is a powerful one. Use it often. Use it properly. Do not offer flattery, but use true praise in the efforts of the individual moving forward in areas that biblically define how and what the Holy Spirit produces in a persons life.
Points 5-8 will be continued next week!