Lesson 10 - Introduction

  

In this study on relapse, we have found that it is not an occurrence that happens all at once. It is a slow and deliberate erosion of the foundation of established sobriety that has been developed and cultivated through the period of time that God, through grace and mercy, has provided us. We learned that sobriety is a process that takes time and, often, periods of “longsuffering,” also known as patience, in order to establish both quantity and quality. This change was a God-given gift from above and, as we are learning, it is orchestrated and controlled from above.

We looked at the important issue of having an accurate perspective of reality acquired through daily reading of God’s Word and His unfailing love for us. We looked at the importance of allowing God to complete His wonderful work of sanctification (growing in His grace) to develop so that our foundation of sobriety has time to mature.

We also looked at some of the traps that we sometimes have a tendency to fall into, especially sabotage. We looked at the causes and the process of this destructive mind-set, and we saw the possible results of this action if allowed to fully develop in our lives. The main factor that causes all relapse or backsliding was found to be pride. To quote our last lesson, “Pride causes us to persuade ourselves, and sometimes others, to depend upon and to use all sorts of excuses. The excuses try to justify, rationalize, and minimize our sinful behavior. In reality, they only serve to magnify our sinful attitudes. Ultimately, pride causes us to turn away from God and to accept the philosophies of the world.” We saw that pride causes us to be presumptuous, dull of hearing, rebellious, stubborn, and insecure. It can cause us to turn to a sensory or sensual type of faith rather than a foundational, scriptural-based faith. If this occurs, it causes us to follow a pleasure-filled and emotionally based religion, rather than a faith that is based on God’s Word and His Spirit.

In all of this, we must remember that we are in the process of learning that God desires to be intimately involved in every area of our lives. He desires to lead us to victory through the knowledge of Christ as we escape and ultimately conquer the sinful nature, the world, and the devil. We are learning that He allows trials and tribulations to afflict us in order to shape and mold, cultivate and strengthen, and lastly, to develop a sincere willingness and desire to have Him control us on a moment-by-moment basis. He holds our future, and He neither sleeps nor slumbers as He watches over us and cares for our every need. God’s love is proven strong, faithful, and most importantly, everlasting as we endure and overcome all of life’s daily circumstances and events.

In closing our introduction, please remember that God’s mercy is boundless and unlimited. Never be afraid to pour out your heart to Him, and never believe the temptation that He is fed up with you or that He won’t forgive your sin. As we finish this section, please bear in mind that we all have a tendency at times to take ourselves a little too seriously. Don’t lose your sense of humor! Remember that you are God’s project, and you are a masterpiece in the works. Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”