Randy Langham
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How would you like to experience a change in your life that produces victory, peace and fulfillment? If you have a destructive habit, would you like to have victory in that area? How would you like the mental stresses, anxieties, and phobias (based on lies) to end? Let’s go one step further. How would you like to have such a complete change that you are able to help others so they can experience the same victory? If these are your desires, then you will be excited to know the biblical truths presented here.

Instead of meeting for the rest of your life taking classes or support groups to help you “cope,” these steps seek to focus on God’s eternal truths. The Lord Himself says, sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Rom. 6:14). He also says He has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7, KJV). God truly has a way for believers to apply principles and gain victory over addictions, weaknesses, mental hurts, and every difficulty which robs people of peace and calm in their minds. While on earth we will never reach perfection, but victories are still available.

The Lifeline in the Journey

The book of Philippians in the Bible has great wisdom to help people gain victory from bondage. It was written by a Roman prisoner, Paul, who told the believers in Philippi how to have joy and how to be free from mental and emotional bondage. Look now at some general principles for victory.

This article will show how five strands of rope can serve as a lifeline to draw you away from destruction and pull you to safety and victory. The Bible says similarly, A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. (Eccl. 4:12). We will look at five strands: (1) committing to the Lord, (2) praying to the Lord, (3) replacing your wrong beliefs with actual truths, (4) replacing bad habits with good habits, and (5) replacing bad friends with the best friends. All five of these strands are needed to hold you firmly to the right path.

1. Commit to the Lord

The world would have you believe “You are a victim of society,” “You were brought up in a dysfunctional home,” “You have a disease [which makes you do bad things],” “You were born that way,” and among others, “You can’t help it; others made you that way.” In other words the world would have you believe you are not responsible for your choices. The truth is you are.

The path for victory begins with a commitment to do what is right, a resolution that says whatever it takes to be the person God wants me to be.

Therefore, my beloved brethren ... stand firm in the Lord, (Philippians 4:1)

This commitment needs to be a once-and-for-all, final decision to get on the right path. This decision also includes a daily commitment to live one day at a time, because following the Lord requires taking up our crosses daily (Luke 9:23). If you have already made resolutions never to do the bad things again and you have failed, then get back up on your feet and use all five aspects of a lifeline to pull yourself to safety. The application for strand number one is (1) to make some kind of public covenant and to commit to God’s best for your life.

2. Pray to the Lord

The second strand in our lifeline is to cry out to God for our needs. God goes with us on the journey and wants to be a part of our lives. According to the following passage let your requests be made known unto Him.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

In a support group, prayer is a powerful strand in your lifeline: pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much (James 5:16). The application for strand number two is (2) to join a small, to pray for everyone in the small group every day, and to encourage them to pray for you daily.

3. Replace Your Beliefs

Your behavior is determined by your beliefs. Period. End of subject. If you want your behavior to change, you absolutely must change what you believe is true. If you think sin is no big deal, or if you think there is no reason to live, or if you think you can handle temptations all by yourself, or if you think nobody loves you, or if you believe any lie to be true, ... then you will act according to what you believe is true – whether or not it is actually true.

Strand number three in your lifeline is to replace your stinkin’ thinkin’ with truths. The best way to do this is to read the Bible on a regular basis. This is an absolute must for every person on earth. Without the truths from the Bible we will more likely believe lies as if they were true. To help you focus on Scripture passages you are encouraged to (3) study your Bible daily using course material in a group or from your own study plans. To help sink truth deep into your soul you are also encouraged to memorize and meditate on Scripture passages each week.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell [meditate, think] on these things (Philippians 4:8).

4. Replace bad habits with the best habits

The previous strand in your lifeline is replacing your beliefs because your beliefs determine your behavior. When you come to know truth you will more naturally make better choices. Perhaps you have already heard: first you have a thought, thoughts lead to an action, actions lead to a habit, and habits lead to a lifestyle.

This strand in the lifeline begins with basic disciplines that turn into habits. Within time good habits will replace bad habits.

You have probably heard it takes about three weeks to start a new habit and an additional three weeks to make the habit stick. Whether or not the length is exactly 21 days is beside the point here. The real point is that what you do on a regular basis will become a habit – for good or for bad. So use that principle to replace bad habits with the best ones over the next month or two.

The absolute most important habit or behavior to build into your life is a daily devotion with God. Whether or not you do anything else (4) make sure you spend time with God every day of your life, reading your Bible, praying, and listening. This should be your greatest habit.

Perhaps the second most important habit or behavior to build into your life is an instantaneous desire to seek the Lord when the stresses of life come. The moment you experience anxiety, pressure, or stress of any kind go to the Lord. If you do not, you will fall back into old habits to relieve yourself of pain. You will go to some form of medication. You might eat more, sleep more, watch TV, play computer games, consume alcohol, engage in immorality, etc.

Focus on building the habit of a daily time with God.

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)

The word translated practice suggests a habit.

5. Replace your wrong friends with the best friends

The fifth strand in your lifeline is to have constant accountability from the best possible friends. Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up (Eccl. 4:9-10). Isn’t it odd how people claim they cannot break their illegal addiction, but when the police are present they find it easy to avoid the habit. Office workers may claim they have an addiction to playing computer games while on the clock, but isn’t it odd how they can shut down the machine quickly when the boss walks into the room. Guilt works. When you really mean business to do what is right you will ask the best people to hold the rope.

Professional athletes and entertainers spend big bucks to hire coaches, trainers, nutritionists, wardrobe designers, etc. to help them succeed. When godly Christians desire to succeed in the spiritual life they spend “big bucks” on the right accountability partners to get the help they need. Some unwise Christians think that with God’s help they can do anything – and they don’t need any other person to help them. If you think you do not need anyone to help you, because you are strong enough to do what is right, then the opposite is also true; other people do not need you either. The truth is, you are in need of the help from others.

Look at this one other way. Grade people on their level of maturity from 0 to 10. The zeroes don’t care about God. The tens are totally sold out to God. Where would you like to be on that scale of 0 to 10? If you answered 10, then you need to quit hanging around the eights and the nines in your quality times.

God designed people to learn from, and at times copy, the examples of others. When kids grow up to be parents they do not know how to raise their kids so they often times duplicate the actions of their parents. As disciples we have the option of choosing whom we will emulate. So why not follow the examples of the most mature Christians possible. The Christians in Philippi were told to do this.

The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Php 4:9).

The Philippians were in turn to set an example and be held accountable in front of others.

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men (Philippians 4:5).

If need be a more aggressive form of accountability should take place to keep people in line. One example appears when two women in Philippi were at odds with each other and a third person (or group) was told to intervene to resolve the matter.

I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to live in harmony in the Lord. Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:2-3).

The phrase “have shared my struggle” comes from one word “sun-ethlesan” which means “together-athletic” and overall means “striving together as a team.” Paul states the two women were team players, but now they are in conflict with each other. They needed to be held accountable to work together as a team.

To apply this strand into your life you need to (5) join a small Bible study group with a godly leader. Some churches call it Sunday School, some call them Life Groups, some call them Cell Groups. Whatever its name, you and the people in your new group need each other to grow spiritually. You need the benefits of large group time when your church worships, but more important than that is a small group fellowship to grow together. These people need to hold you accountable and you need to help them as well. For the best accountability have someone call you every day – literally every day. God says, encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called "Today," so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (Heb 3:13).

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