The day God freed me from the chains of drinking and smoking is also the day He warned me if I chose to return to doing those things the consequences would be much worse. The Bible echoes these exact words in 2 Peter 2:20 KJV "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning." This kind of frightened me because I had just come from a place of utter darkness. One where I could not turn down a drink if I saw someone I knew drinking or if I smelled something I liked to smoke it would then spark in me the desire to partake. Not only that but participating in all these things started to open up the door for spirits to come into my heart. Therefore, creating strongholds in my mind that seemed to grow each time I willingly walked toward one of my temptations. See my life had become one of pure torment that death seemed like the only logical answer to combat the mental, spiritual and physical agony I was going through during that season. So after receiving my warning, all I could think about doing was whatever I needed to stay far away from all my triggers as best as I possibly could.
So, I planned to go into defense mode which I thought I could adequately achieve by staying in my home. I mean I cut off everyone and everything believing that if I just kept to myself, then I would have an extra level of protection. Little did I know, my way of protecting myself was just creating a self-imposed prison sentence on me. I thought if I could just shut myself away from the rest of the world then temptation and maybe even sin could not find its way to me. I merely forgot that demonic spirits aren't kept out by four walls. I quickly realized that there had to be a better way to deal with backsliding than the idea I had implemented. I began to research what causes us to be tempted and figured by starting there I could have a better idea of how to fight back. In James 1:14-15 KJV the Bible says "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." Through this verse, I learned I would have to watch my lust very closely. Now you may have heard the word lust as just being defined as an intense sexual desire, but Strong's Concordance also identifies it as a longing especially for what is forbidden. So for me this included drinking and smoking.
After noticing my protection plan was not working, I decided to just stay away from the people and places I knew that could open the door back up that God had just closed. This worked for a few months until I was hit with some really hard situations. The adversary started to send attack after attack. He attacked not only my finances and my family but also my home. As I was trying to walk righteously after God, here I was just being tested! The weight of each test began to grow more substantial and more cumbersome in my heart that one day I was so sad and tired that I took a drink when offered. As I drank it, I could feel the heart of God sadden by the fact that here I was reopening the door to what I was recently freed from. It seemed that I did not trust him to make a way out of this test of temptation, even though in 1 Corinthians 10:13, God promises that he will make a way for us to escape being tempted. I realized that if I did not start trusting God or get shown a way to fight back, then I was going to experience his initial warning in my life. As I prayed for strategies to combat what was going on, He began to send me people who could show me how to use his word against the enemy and all I can say is that I am so grateful! I have learned that using His words from the Bible as well as repenting of my sins against him have allowed me to take back what Satan was trying to steal from me!
My prayer for you as you read these words is to know that if you have slid back into the things that once tempted you, please don't hide from God. He is not scared off by any of the shame or guilt that you may have felt or are even feeling right now! If you would like for me to pray for you, please leave me a comment below or feel free to send your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.