Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday June 25, 2016

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Are you willing, Amigos?

Funny how thoughts come back to you. I remember sitting at a bar back in 1975. I was having a boozy conversation with another inebriate. For some reason, I remember proudly declaring, “I’m an alcoholic!” then laughing uproariously while ordering another drink. I was a drunk and I knew it, but it was 4 more years before I did anything useful about the problem. In the meantime, I lost my job, ruined any number of relationships, and deteriorated physically. At each crisis moment I instituted many plans to cure myself: I went to detox, I exercised more, I changed my diet, I went to counselors galore. I even went to church! I did everything I could think of to cure my own misery. The problem, you see, is the number of “I’s” in this paragraph. Even though I admitted my problem, I had to come to the place of hopelessness – I couldn’t cure me.

This is true for any difficulty that consistently plagues me, be it bad habits, bad attitudes, or bad company. The things that keep me from living free and happy are so entrenched that I can’t overcome them on my own. In order to get help, I must go on from admission of the problem to two more milestones:

1. Desperation: As long as there is some hope that you can help yourself, you are not likely to reach out for God with complete abandon. Ask yourself the following questions:

a. Have you ever tried to control this problem yourself? What was the outcome?

b. Have you ever had prayer, counseling, or treatment for this problem?

c. What has hindered your success?

d. Do you believe you can quit on your own? If so, what is stopping you?

e. Are you convinced that you can’t do this alone? If so, maybe you are ready!

2. Willingness: Your desire for help must be willing to do whatever is necessary. If there is any non-sinful behavior you are loath to undertake, then you are not yet willing.

a. Willingness usually comes from pain. Only you can decide when you have had enough.

b. Are you willing to apply spiritual means to solve your problem?

c. Are you willing to ask for help from other people?

d. Are you willing to change the way you think about life?

e. If you answered “no” to any of these questions, then you are not ready for the rest of the process. You will have to suffer some more. Please come back when you are willing.

Somebody Said: Most people don’t have that willingness to break bad habits. They have a lot of excuses and they talk like victims. Carlos Santana

Scripture Reading: Then He said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be My follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for My sake, you will save it. (Luke 9:23-24 NLT)

If you have seen a problem, and you are “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” then take a step of some kind. Make a phone call, respond to an email, go to church…do something! Willingness costs too much to squander it.

Pastor Virgil Stokes

FCF of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745

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