- Build authentic relationships.
- Engage in emotional healing for wounds of the past.
- Tear down strongholds that have taken you captive.
- Take thoughts captive.
- Establish new routines.
- Recharge your relational connection with God
Build authentic relationships.
At the 2012 Deeper Walk Conference, John Lynch made the point that secrecy is sin’s greatest ally. He told the story of a night when a fight at home, a tempting invitation, and the weakness of the flesh conspired to lure him into a potentially tragic decision. As he was in the car driving, he called a friend and told him of the battle that was raging inside of him. Simply exposing the temptation robbed it of its power, and he was able to get back to being himself. The story makes you think. Do you have friends like that? Do you have friends you can call at a moment’s notice to share when darkness is threatening to do you in?
Listening prayer is a huge part of emotional healing. At Deeper Walk we promote the Immanuel Prayer method developed by Karl Lehman (www.kclehman.com). I also have a booklet on the topic called REAL Prayer: A guide to emotional healing. REAL is an acrostic to help remember four steps in the path of listening prayer related to pain in the past: Remember. (Lord, help me remember whatever You want to heal today.) Explore. (Lord, bring to mind what I need to remember about that experience and show me the lies that Satan planted in my heart because of that wound.) Ask. (I invite Jesus to make His presence known in that memory and do whatever He needs to do to bring healing to it.) Listen. (Look and listen to see what the Lord wants to show you that can bring healing to that memory.) While these methods can be extremely effective, the important point here is that you engage in a process. You can’t just ignore the past and hope it goes away.
Tear down strongholds that have taken you captive.
How important is the mind to leadership success? If your life is being driven by lies, what kind of impact do you think that will have on the way you live? I find it helpful now and then to ask God to show me in words or pictures what lies Satan is trying to get me to believe. I did this recently, and I saw myself standing at the edge of a cliff holding onto a rope with a person dangling over the edge on the other end of the line. I lacked the strength to pull the person to safety, so I was stuck, just holding the rope, waiting, and getting really tired. The picture symbolized a counseling relationship I was in where I felt very much over my head. When I asked the Lord to show me His truth, I sensed that His hand was underneath this person. Their success/failure was not totally up to me. I also sensed that He was standing beside me wanting to help, but that I was blind to His presence. Taking thoughts captive is about exposing Satan’s lies and replacing them with God’s truth. The wrong thoughts can paralyze us with fear or puff us up with pride or blind us in anger or depression so that we do not operate on a foundation of truth. The results can be catastrophic.
Establish new routines.
I have found that if I want to establish a new habit I need a coach. I don’t think I have ever successfully implemented any lasting life change without two things: a coach and a team (or at least a partner.) In high school I decided to take up tennis. First, I went to a two week tennis camp. It turned out that a friend of mine also went to that camp. We started playing together every day. We got good enough that I decided to try out for the school team. I started playing with other players who were better than me, so did my friend. We took some more lessons. After just a two summers of this, we both made the school tennis team. John Maxwell has said, “Decision making is over-rated. It is decision management that counts.” He is right. I made progress in my tennis game because I got coaching, I had a partner, and I joined a team. This gave me the structure and guidance I needed to make the changes that needed to occur. In a similar way, Cloud and Townsend have written that discipline is not something you simply choose to have. It has to be developed. You need people who will help you create the structures that will teach you discipline until a habit is established and you have learned discipline.
Recharge your relational connection with God.
A lack of authentic relationships, unresolved emotional baggage, spiritual bondage, lies in our thinking, and undisciplined living all tend to undermine our walk with God. Thanks to the grace of God, we are still loved and accepted, no matter how much we seem to be sinking into the abyss of mediocrity. However, the purpose of grace is not to put a stamp of approval on our foolish decisions and our ignorance. It is to keep the lifeline of relationship available to us in every situation. Legalism teaches us that we have to earn God’s acceptance by our performance. License teaches us that our performance has no consequences. The key to personal success in life is our ability to stay relationally connected with God. Jesus said it simply, “I am the vine. You are the branches. Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). To a great extent, maturity is measured by our ability to remain relational with Christ regardless of our circumstances.