Simple Encouragement - True Friends vs. Enablers - Purity 549
Purity 549 10/14/2021 Purity 549 Podcast
Today’s sunset photo of a pathway through Breitbeck Park near the shores of Lake Ontario in Oswego NY comes to us from Celestial Blue Photography. As awesome as this sunset photo displays the glory of God’s creation, I like to point out the dedication of the photographer to his craft that is unseen and behind the scenes. For those who don’t know, Rocco Saya recently broke his leg near this scene and his injury was sever enough to require a metal rod to be surgically implanted in his leg back in mid-September and he is still on the mend but his love for his craft compels him to capture the beauty that surrounds him.
It’s Thursday, and I share photos that highlight paths on this day because it is on Thursdays that I originally started my recovery journey back in 2015 and since then have applied the principles of Christian Discipleship (Living by faith in the power of the Holy Spirit or “walking in the Spirit”) to other areas of my life to increasingly experience my freedom in Christ.
I also share photos of pathways on Thursdays to invite people to join me on the path of Christian Discipleship by attending the Freedom in Christ Discipleship Course that I am facilitating at Rock Solid Church in Hudson NY at 6:30pm this evening. For those who are not local to Hudson, I podcast a version of the class and encourage you to check it out, in addition to the other discipleship classes we offer on the mt4christ247 podcast.
I always like to point out that discipleship is born out of our love for God. Just like Rocco Saya loves photography and is dedicated to his craft despite injury, the Christian should pursue the things of God and be dedicated to learning and apply His wisdom to their lives because of their love for the Lord and to not let the things of this world or the lies of the enemy distract them in their pursuits. I was reminded of how enticing the things of this world could be and how they could lead us to distraction just last night.
Next week I will be on the prayer team for the Freedom in Christ Ministries’ “Fall Practicum”, a training seminar for Community Freedom Ministry Associates (CFMA’s), and my time will be consumed by ministry work from Monday to Wednesday. I teach and launch the podcast for the Freedom in Christ Course on Thursdays. So looking ahead, I realized yesterday afternoon that I should utilize my rare free time last evening to record the podcast for next week’s lesson to stay ahead and not have to scramble to get it done at the last minute next week.
But after a day at work, I fixed myself some dinner and decided to turn on the television. I enjoyed the break apparently because I decided that the podcast could wait because I needed some “me time” and was contemplating what to watch next and what to eat next. The old slothful pattern of binge eating and watching T.V. was ready to be deployed!
However, I was contacted by a Christian friend and in our conversation I confessed my situation and to their credit they encouraged me to do the podcast for the discipleship class even though it meant that our chatting would have to end if I were to pursue that path.
They probably won’t think much of what they did for me, but I just have spell it out for all of us to appreciate the selflessness and care behind such a simple encouragement.
I don’t know about you, but I have had several relationships in the past where I was in similar situations and things went differently.
In the past I would have responsibilities or aspirations for self-improvement of other goals and in the course of life I would become stressed. In the past I had no real relationship with God and didn’t know the benefits of having a daily spiritual practice, so when I got stressed I would look to other things, like alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or entertainment, or all of the above, to comfort me or relieve the stress. When the stress came, I would go to those other things and my noble intentions regarding my responsibilities would go out the window.
In the past, I had people in my life who would enable my patterns to continue. They wouldn’t encourage me to do the “better things” that I wanted to or should do. They would agree with me about the difficulties of life and my choices to blow things off or push them out to the last minute. When I was stressed about those responsibilities, or plans to better myself, or just in general, they would encourage me to relax and seek my comfort in those unhealthy habits because “nobody was perfect”. While their advice was understandable and may even seem practical and merciful, if often lead to increase stress at latter times and the continuation of habits and cycles that would keep me enslaved to the status quo. No improvement or betterment can be expected if we comprise our core values and goals.
We can’t guess the motivations of “enablers”. I would suspect most enablers are acting out of ignorance and just want to maintain the “peace” out love for the troubled people in their lives. But like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah said of the false prophets of his day, enablers are trying to proclaim “Peace, peace” when there is no peace. Their advice to “let people be” in their homes is contributing to the tumultuous conditions in which they live because they have compromised what should be core values, such as “sobriety” “responsibility” and “accountability”, to indulge someone’s “weakness” or “sin”. FYI, drunkenness, slothfulness, gluttony, and failing to do what we are supposed to do are things God warns us to avoid in the Bible.
Enablers or those who are codependent may play a more active or sinister role in encouraging their loved ones to go astray. Their need for love and attention may drive them to distract their loved ones away from their responsibilities or goals simply because they want to be cared for or made to be the center of attention.
Others have discovered that their loved one’s addictive tendencies make them easy to manipulate and control and may actively tempt and offer their loved one’s the things that lead them to distraction or keep them locked into their patterns of behavior or their addictive cycles.
So when my friend didn’t say “oh that’s okay” to my choice to slack off or encouraged me to put things off to spend time chatting with them, they really showed their love for me. They showed that they understood what I really cared about and instead of encouraging me to take a path that might lead to problems later they encouraged me to be proactive and responsible to give me a measure of peace next week instead of having it right now.
Luckily, Ithe Lord has helped me to mature since my dark days of addictions and reactive emotions, and when my friend made the simple suggestion to do what I said I wanted to do, it was all the accountability prompting that I needed. I decided that after the current episode of the TV sitcom I was watching was over I would record the podcast for next week.
And you know what, that exactly what I did. The overeating slothful pattern that wanted to run its program was stopped dead in its track. I am no longer a slave to those cycles, but I have to be intentional and diligent to pursue the better things, the things of God, and to recognize what I am doing from moment to moment and to discern whether or not I am “on track” or have veered off course. And as last night taught me, we should be honest and report what we are doing to our friends that can encourage us to pursue our goals rather than wallow in self pity or indulgence.
So keep walking and talking with God. He will lead you in the way you should go and to people who will encourage your progress on the path of Christian Discipleship. Life is hard enough so we should trust the Lord and be wise when we choose our traveling companions on our life’s journey. We don’t want “yes” men or women who will indulge our worst tendencies and we don’t want those who will seek to manipulate or control us by offering us “peace, peace” when there is no peace. The Lord won’t lead you astray so be sure to consider his wisdom when you evaluate the possible relationships in your lives and choose the people who are seeking the Lord and who really want what’s best for you and your purpose in God’s kingdom.
Today’s Bible verse is drawn from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verse is:
Psalm 139:7-10 (NLT2)
7 I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!
8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.
9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.
Today’s verse simply reminds us that God is omnipresent and He is available to us personally.
This passage teaches us that no matter where we go God is there. For the Christian that is a great comfort because we have found peace with God through faith in Jesus Christ and need not fear that Lord “sees us when we’re sleeping or know when we’re awake.”
God is not Santa Claus however and for those who are not at peace with Him this passage tells us He is also the one who will send us to hell (the grave in the NLT) – Satan is not the king of Hell. God sends people there and His wrath is what is poured out on those sent there.
So there is no escaping God, but the good news is that we don’t have to escape Him. He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness to all who put their faith in Christ.
Instead of being freaked out that God is everywhere, the Christian can instead find comfort that His heavenly Father is always with them and, as this passage indicates, can receive His guidance and strength when we seek Him.
So rejoice over your peace with God through your faith in Christ and recognize that the Lord is always with you by speaking to Him and by asking for His guidance and strength. He is with us. He loves us. And He will give us the guidance and strength to make it through this life and to fulfill our purpose for Him.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from June Hunt’s Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase June Hunt’s books for your own private study and to support her work. If you need this title you can find it online at several sites for less than $5.00:
Sonnets and love songs are filled with sentiments of a love that last forever. In fact, we all want love that lasts forever. The problem is we all want it now. Some people are so desperate for love, they begin to play games—unhealthy games of flattery and flirtation, risky games of seduction and sex. They are unwilling to wait for God's perfect timing and plan.
Do they not realize God's Word contains guidelines for great relating...and dating? He wants you to rely on Him to meet the needs of your heart and to wait on Him to provide all your relationships. Because the Lord knows you best, you can look to Him to lead you each step of the way. The book of Proverbs cautions those who try to plan their own course....
"In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps." (Proverbs 16:9)
A. What Characteristics Should You Seek in Someone You Date?
When Bryan posts a sonogram picture of his baby on Facebook, many of his friends instantly like the photo and congratulate the father-to-be. For them, the innocent image is a sentimental expression of joy for a brand new life—but for Frieda, it's a slap in the face.
The fact is...Bryan is Frieda's ex-boyfriend, and the baby is not hers. Although it's been a year since they "officially" dated, they continue to talk off and on and never have severed all ties. They've always kept their options open about maybe getting back together—someday. Yet Bryan's recent actions reconfirm Frieda's gnawing concern about Bryan: a lack of integrity. He has a new girlfriend, she's pregnant with his baby...yet he chose to reveal this news to the world—and Frieda—on Facebook!
Character counts. What characteristics are you looking for in someone you would date? Do you know your non-negotiables? Even more so, make sure you know which characteristics you desire in a mate before you begin to date...and then prioritize developing those same characteristics yourself....
"What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)
The Character Checklist for Dating
Place a check mark (✔) beside each character trait you need to see in the person you feel drawn to date. Does your prospective date...
- □ Demonstrate wisdom and discernment?
- □ Have a heart to do what is in your best interest?
- □ Possess a sensitive conscience in regard to right and wrong?
- □ Refuse to use you or others to gain status?
- □ Have the approval of the significant people in your life?
- □ Have a reputation of keeping commitments?
- □ Display follow-through in meeting obligations?
- □ Show respect toward authority?
- □ Have a positive outlook on life?
- □ Exercise discipline and self-control?
- □ Manage money well?
- □ Maintain eye contact when talking with people?
- □ Interact courteously and honestly with others?
- □ Have an active Bible study and prayer life?
- □ Share your personal values?
- □ Show evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in their life?...
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23)
Biblical Counseling Keys: Dating: Secrets to Great Relating When Dating.
Join our “Victory over the Darkness” or “The Bondage Breaker” series of Discipleship Classes via the mt4christ247 podcast!
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Encouragement for the Path of Christian Discipleship