Lesson 9 - Introduction

  

We have examined the twelve principles and their scriptural applications to our lives. We observed the perspective of our problems from God’s point of view by carefully examining them through the scriptures.

We learned what our present practice now should be as a new creation in Christ. We discovered that God has provided a way out of our bondage from the ways of the flesh (sinful nature) by setting us free through grace and faith in Jesus. We then began to daily practice putting off the old man and all his ways. We learned the importance of dying to self and obeying the God-ordered priorities that He has placed in man’s life in order to give him the utmost in life. These are: Jesus first and others second. We learned that if we practiced keeping these two items in their proper order, God would take care of all of our personal needs. The promises we received from God’s Word and the new way of life He manifested within it have given us renewed hope. This helped us to pursue the necessary changes in our lives despite the ongoing trials and tribulations that often occurred because of our putting off our old behaviors, allegiances, alliances, habits, and practices. It showed us the reality of our three enemies and their ongoing strategies to steal, destroy, and kill us. These enemies are: our flesh, this world and its philosophies and teachings, and finally, the devil.

The next important issue to look at is relapse or what the Bible calls “backsliding.” We will study this for several reasons. The first is not to place you in fear of relapse happening to you but rather to show you that it is not something to be afraid of or unavoidable. Relapse is an incident that can be avoided through the daily practice of Godly living, through regular Bible reading, prayer, accountability, fellowship, and serving first in the community of believers and secondly, serving the outside community.

We will see certain characteristics that transpire during this critical period. These are listed as a measuring tool and not as something to suggest that you are now presently going through the process of relapse. Some of these items occur during normal everyday life in the form of temptations. Other characteristics, when put together in a chain of events, can be the cause of avoidable, but common, occurrences during the learning period of putting into practice regular Godly living habits. Remember, you have had a long period of time to practice what has brought you into bondage. It may have been a lifetime of practice or perhaps just a short time – it doesn’t really matter. The flesh doesn’t need a lot of time to make a habit of something. Remember what Romans 6:16 states, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?”

We will also learn about reasoning processes and ungodly habits that may contribute to a backslidden condition. Thinking errors or the foundation of your beliefs is not the only thing that needs to be addressed in order to bring about permanent change or that just a behavioral change is required to give a balanced and fruitful life of sobriety. It takes a change brought about only through receiving the precious gift of sobriety from God who gives perfect and unchanging gifts that bring life not only to the individual, but also to those who surround him.

In closing this introduction, we suggest that you pray and ask the God of life to prepare your heart and clear your conscience so that you will learn from these lessons. Please remember that He has called you to freedom and has made way for you to be free from fear and worry. He has given you power, a sound mind, a sincere faith, and a clean conscience. He has promised you a good and fulfilling life if you’ll remain abiding in Him. He knows your needs and your future, and He has promised a future that will be good for you.

Lastly, please remember that relapse doesn’t have to be a part of your life or in your future. It might be that you may be called on to minister to someone who has fallen into this trap. If this is the case, then you will need to learn why and how it happened. In doing so, you may learn how to prevent it from happening in your own personal life.