LOOKING FOR SOME OTHER WAY
All through the Scripture God declares that He is the Way to life, liberty, and true happiness (John 14:6) (John 8:36) (John 13:17). However, the constant wandering of man’s heart causes him to often seek another way that seems right to him, but which only brings death, bondage, and unhappiness. Solomon declared, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12). Every person must decide; will they take God's way or will they look for another way? Those who struggle with addictive behaviors have a real temptation to look for answers and solutions from any source that promises deliverance, even if that source of deliverance is declaring ideas and truths contrary to Scripture. Therefore, you have a decision to make; are you committed to the world’s way, your way, or God's way?
I. What are the other ways that attract you?
A. Man's philosophy and psychology. Man's philosophy is insufficient to fully deal with the problems of man. Even though you find some truths similar to Biblical concepts, you won't find the whole truth in man’s philosophies or reasoning. Man’s philosophy will always lead you to more confusion as you try and harmonize God’s way with man’s way. Paul declared, “Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words” (Col. 2:4). Then he added, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8). If you seek this other way you will be cheated and deceived from ever finding the fullness of what God intends for you in this life.
B. Another gospel from a cult group. Cult groups will also provide a measure of truth. However, the Biblical error within these groups will only add to your confusion and problems. God’s Word is the only safe place for understanding concerning who God is, what He desires you to do, and how to deal with your problems. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul also warned: “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted--you may well put up with it” (2 Cor. 11:3-4)! Paul also said, “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh” (Col. 2:18-23). If you don’t follow the only One who is the way and the truth you will never find that truth for your life. You must hold fast to the Head who is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can help you in your fight against the flesh.
C. Self-reliance or self-help groups. Solomon says, "He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered" (Prov. 28:26). Again, self-reliance or a self-help group will only provide a measure of truth and help for you in your struggle with your addictions. If these groups teach a mixture of man's philosophy and psychology they are declaring that Christ is not sufficient to solve your problems. Your help will come from your trusting and obeying the Lord. He is your help in trouble, your refuge and strength (Ps 46:1). Your help will come from opening yourself up to other Christians in your church and allowing them to bear your burdens with you (Gal. 6:1-2). Whatever group you are a part of is not the issue. It is what that group believes and teaches that is the issue because it will affect your life.
D. The half-way solution. If Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, then give Him your whole heart. Don't try to go half way with God or your commitment to the Body of Christ. God's blessings are given to those, like Joshua and Caleb, who “wholly followed the Lord” (Num. 32:12). God's perfect will is only found by those who completely offer their lives as living sacrifices to Him (Rom. 12:1-2). Jesus reproved His own disciples for not being fully committed to Him. Jesus said, “But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say” (Luke 6:46)? Jesus also taught them: “You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:13-17). Therefore, fully commit yourself to following Christ and you will find all that He promises.
II. Why do we look for another way?
A. Man thinks he knows best. Solomon said, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15). The question is; do you have this attitude? Heed the counsel of God’s Word and obey His commands.
B. Pride deceives a man. Paul taught: “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself” (Gal. 6:3). Do you struggle with an arrogant heart? Don’t deceive yourself. Humble yourself and acknowledge that you need Him.
C. There is a powerful pressure that comes from the world, the Devil, and your own flesh. Paul explained this pressure in his letter to the Ephesians when he discusses what it was like before you came to Christ. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others” (Eph. 2:1-3). Here are the pressures you need to resist if you are going to follow God’s way. These pressures will never subside until the day you go home to be with Christ. Therefore, ask God to fill you with His Spirit so you can fight in faith and obey God’s commands.
III. Steps to take:
A. If you sense the temptation to look for another way for freedom, ask yourself why? You must determine the reason why you are drawn away from seeking God's way. Jesus constantly asked people why they were acting the way they did. He said, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith” (Matt. 8:26)? “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites” (Matt. 22:18)? "Why do you reason about these things in your hearts” (Mark 2:8)? Consider some possibilities: Is it your confusion over what God's way is? Is it your unwillingness to take His way? Is it the desire to continue in your compulsive behavior? Is it that you are listening to lies from Satan or your flesh?
B. Get counsel from a Christian brother or sister that knows where you are struggling and is knowledgeable in the Word of God. You may also want to seek out your Pastor to help you determine any hindrance in your commitment. Solomon said, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).
C. Then, lay aside every weight and sin that so easily besets you and fully consecrate yourself to Him and His way for your life (Heb. 12:1-2). The weights that hinder you are not sinful things but they are issues that stumble you. Weights can be over commitment, priorities that are reversed, or friends that don’t really build you up. The sins that hinder you are behaviors that directly violate the Word of God.
D. Ask Him to teach you His way. David prayed, “Teach me Your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies” (Ps 27:11). If God has a way for you to walk then you want to have Him teach you that way. Why? David gives you the answer when he prayed, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name” (Ps. 86:11). When God teaches you His way it unites your heart to fear and respect Him. How does this occur? Faith comes by hearing His Word and that faith is which changes your heart toward Him.