Many of the women I minister to feel there is no hope for overcoming their situations. And sadly, I often meet women who are put in jail right after having a baby that tested hot for drugs. Equally sad are the women whose children have been taken away from them, which drives them to use drugs and alcohol to escape that emotional pain. These women feel defeated and hopeless. When I asked them why they use, 99% of them say it is to avoid feeling emotional pain. They know the drugs and alcohol takes them further away from the life they desire. But, they feel they have no inner strength to stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. Their hearts are full of emotional pain from unloving acts from those who should have loved them. Unfortunately, most people do not realize they have a love hunger that they are trying to satisfy with everything but the true source of love.
You may not have a drug or alcohol problem, but if you are honest, you also have some mechanism for escaping inner pain (e.g., binge eating, shopping, watching TV/movies, workaholism, etc.) For example, I was a workaholic, and my accomplishments helped me feel good, which concealed the pain in my heart. I also felt helpless to control my anger when I was offended. As a result, I believed I was unlovable and worthless for close to 50 years. I have good news; with God’s help, I was able to transform my unhealthy beliefs and wrong thoughts with His truth.
The following five facts have helped the women in jail have hope to achieve lasting peace, love, and victory. I pray they help you as well:
1. Know the source of offenses that steal your peace, love, and sense of worth.
a) Taking an offense to something is when you feel resentment for something done or said which often causes hurt feelings or displeasure. These resentments build up in our hearts throughout our lives.
b) The demonic powers around us are destructive forces in our lives. In Ephesians 6:12 it says, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Also see Eph. 2:2; 2Cor. 4:4.
c) The Bible says that the devil is the father of lies (John 8:44). The lies we believe cause us to be offended, which results in resentment and hate. For example, my oldest son believed the lie that I hated him because I disciplined him. He believed the lie that my discipline was abusive, therefore, he says he hates me. I can’t change what he believes because resentment is consuming and the demons keep it stirred up in him to keep him in bondage to these destructive thoughts.
d) The demons want to keep you defeated by destroying your peace, self-worth, and ability to feel loved. Children are their favorite target because they are so vulnerable, then as adults we wonder why we have so many offenses in our hearts. Feeling unloved and offended can lead to various destructive actions and addictions, which result in feeling more defeated. For instance, when I am offended and get upset, I desire to binge eat, especially chocolate, or I get angry and tell the person off. Both responses are destructive; binge eating is destructive to my body and anger destroys my relationships. We can choose to respond with peace and love, which I know sounds impossible. Choosing a non-destructive action requires us to constantly check our thoughts and control them, though I still need to improve. Awareness of how we are offended is the first step.
2. Know your source of help to resist the demonic attempts to destroy you.
a) Jesus knows what it is like to suffer demonic attacks and temptations. He overcame the devil and defeated the enemy of our souls, and is able to help us overcome (see Hebrews 2:17&18; Heb. 4:15&16; and 1 John 3:8).
b) To receive this help, we need to put off the pride of being self-focused and the lie that we don’t need Jesus. Then, humbly ask Him by faith to transform our lives. When we do this, then we will be rooted and grounded in His love and nothing can separate us from His love (see Ephesians 3:17; 1 John 4:9-10; and Romans 8:35-39). Also, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit who is our helper (see John 14:26; 15:26; and Romans 8:24-27).
c) After receiving Jesus into our hearts and submitting to God, which is to obey Him, then we will have all the divine promises in Christ Jesus. We will also have his divine nature and power to have lasting victory over all our issues and addictions. 2 Peter 1:3-4 says, “seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4) For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” We tap into this divine power by faith through prayer and believing. We do not see the divine power in us, but we know it is there by faith and that it is ours through prayer.
3. Know the true source of love, peace, and victory.
a) God will always love us and He gives us His worth. (See Colossians 3:12). He is our only source of love; not our parents, not our boy/girlfriends, not our family, not our spouse; no one can love us as God does. Our love is flawed because each of us has wounds and hurts (offenses) from the sins and weaknesses of those around us.
b) God is our only source of peace. Isaiah 26:3 says “You keep him/her in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he/she trusts in You.” Jesus said in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Also see 1 John 5:4) The key to lasting peace is to keep our minds on God through continual prayer.
c) God is our only source of victory over the demonic world; James 4:7,8 says, “Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8) Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Victory occurs when we submit to God and resist the devil through prayer and standing firm in our faith. Victory also requires that we remove sin from our lives. Also see 1 Peter 5:8,9a.
4. Know the truth and pray the truth to stay in perfect peace, love, and victory.
a) Our responsibility is to keep our minds on the truths of the Word of God and remain with Him through prayer. As we stay in prayer, we will be victorious over the many temptations to believe the devil’s lies and become offended (John 15 and Colossians 3:1-3). But first, we need to humbly confess our sins through prayer and seek God for forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9). You see, sin blocks our prayers and God will not hear our prayers because He is Holy (see Is. 59:1,2).
b) If we keep our minds on our problems and what we don’t like, then we will be worried, fearful, angry, depressed, etc. So, when you find yourself focused on a problem or an offense, then turn it into a prayer of repentance and submission to regain your peace, love, and victory. For example, we can get upset with a family member for the things they did or said or how they said it, and it can consume us. But when we turn the problem over to God and trust Him with it, then we will be filled with peace and love again. I have also found that being thankful keeps me in peace. As you know, when you don’t feel peace in yourself, you are not at peace with others around you.
c) Our prayers and words have power and we can take every thought captive in the name of Jesus and command them to be gone. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says, “For though we walk in the flesh (live in the world, NIV), we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh (this world), but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses (strongholds). We are destroying speculations (arguments) and every lofty thing (pretensions) raised up against the knowledge of God (truth), and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Taking our thoughts captive is critical to have lasting victory over our destructive emotions and actions.
5. Lastly, remove the many offenses in our hearts through prayer and forgiving.
a) Offenses hinder love but purifying out hearts by removing offenses allows us to feel love and to love others. Purifying our hearts begins with obeying the Word of God, that is, to do what it says. 1 Peter 1:22 states, “Having purified your souls (heart, mind, and conscience) by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.” We are able to love with a pure heart when our soul wounds are healed as outlined in my healing booklet found in my website (hopeforcompletehealing.com).
b) One of the truths we need to obey to be victorious over offenses is to forgive those who offended us. Then to put off the lies we believed. (See Matthew 6:12; Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32). Our unforgiveness perpetuates the inner pain we feel and keeps us in bondage to it. We will never have lasting peace, love, or victory if we do not forgive.
I hope you found these five facts helpful and know that lasting peace, love, and victory is possible. In my website, I list many truths concerning key character traits to help you replace the devil’s lies with truth. I encourage you to take a look at these and be blessed.