Deadly Cocktail

I’m addicted to strong drink.

It started when I was not yet five, a wisp of a girl with long hair and stick legs.

They took me to places I shouldn’t have been. They made me do things I shouldn’t have done. They told me things I had no business believing.  And it all felt so horribly good in a dark, evil way, that when the cup was passed, I drank it too.

I didn’t even think.

I just drank and the numbness set in and the darkness wasn’t so frightening and I was hooked.

I never saw the lies for the poison they were, smoothing over lips and tongue and entering the belly. I only saw the relief they gave.

The lies, the strong drink can become a way of life.

And then something comes along that shakes a stick at you, calls intoxication for what it is and tells you that you aren’t the victim you thought you were, you’re a drunkard.

You’ve done gone and made yourself inebriated on the stuff and you can’t stop. You’re addicted and there are no excuses.

Oh, it gets ugly alright.

It’s happened to me. And as I read Judges 6 again fresh, I see the cocktail.

Right there on the pages of scripture, there’s the deadly brew that has ensnared many and it was my drink of choice and it flows free still to anyone willing to try it. It’s the liar’s deadly mix that he’s specialized in serving up to God’s chosen people, people like Gideon. People like me.

I’ve drunk it. Not only that, but I’ve been addicted to it. Maybe you have too? Maybe you still are? Perhaps this post is for us, you and me.

Before God could use Gideon to fulfill His miraculous purposes…before God can use you to fulfill yours… He had to expose the strong drink Gideon had been feasting on his whole life. Isn’t this the way it always has to be? God shows up in our lives and it is interesting to note that what we start saying at that point reflects the stuff we’ve been drinking.

“Then Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles? But the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”  Judges 6:13

Let me stop and ask you, has God shown up in your life and given you a vision for something great, something that you are a part of?

And what has been your response?

You see, Gideon’s response exposed the lies he’d been drinking. His answer to an incredible vision from God wasn’t faith but doubt.

This is the first part of the deadly cocktail: Doubt in God’s goodness.

This lie has many faucets. It doubts God’s intentions towards me. It doubts His Presence. It doubts His provision. It doubts His power. Gideon’s response reflects all these things.  The conclusion of this lie is that “God has abandoned” me.

And if God has abandoned me, I’m on my own.

Herein is the set up for the second part of the deadly cocktail, by which our enemy seals our fate and reduces us to blubbering fools, unable to live and lead the victory that God has granted.

“He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house…” (Vs 15)

The first part of the cocktail says, “God won’t.” The second part says, “I can’t.”

Yes, that’s the strong drink I’ve been addicted to. The “God won’t” and “Surely, I can’t” mix.

The mix that rolls over and says, “This is out of my league, leave me alone so I can wallow in numbness some more.”

I for one have had a belly F.U.L.L of this stuff. There’s good news for bellies and hearts made sick with this!

God’s response to Gideon is pretty astonishing if you really think about it:

“Surely I will be with you and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” (vs 16)

The antidote for the deadly cocktail we’ve drunk is “God will and I can.”

Now perhaps it needs to be said that we can only through Christ who strengthens us and that we can do only what God gives, not what we desire for ourselves. This isn’t a blanket statement to pursue either self effort or self interest.

Even so, God tells us He will and we can, for whatever purposes He has for our lives.

Have you drunk the elixir? Have you caved in to thinking you will never…. (fill in the blank)? That you can’t…..? That God has given up on you or that His power isn’t enough for your situation?

Set that strong drink aside, my friend. Take the bottle and smash it.

Pick up this one instead: “GOD WILL and I CAN” and drink deep.

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How To Really Change

She told me about the cycle, not the female kind, the human kind.

Sin-confess-sin-confess-sin…

I nod. I know.

As we talk, I see myself and as the conversation goes on the picture becomes clearer…

I’m in the boxing ring, ready to go at it with the opponents that face me. In this boxing ring I never face one that’s easy; it is always the one that knows just where to hit.

I’m not feeling powerful, not thinking very victorious, because I’ve been in this ring many times before.

And every time I’m here, I get busted up.

It gets so repetitive that when the opponent comes out, before the first blow even, I’m defeated. The fall is inevitable. The blood flows.

Again and again.

Then I realize something. I don’t even have my arms free to fight back with. They are tied behind my back. There is no way I can fight without arms. I’m defenseless, on the ground, without a chance.

The opponent comes on and there I go- bam! Down for the count.

I start looking behind my back to see what in the world has my arms tied up. I look. I look closer. I can see the cords that bind:

L              I                E                 S


Lies are holding me bondage. Lies are setting me up for the fall…every time.

Lies like, “You can’t do this.”  “Just give in, you know it’s too hard.”  “You’ll never change.”  “Who do you think you are?” “It’s not that bad.” “You’ll never be enough.” “God is so sick of you.”

These are the ties that keep my arms bound and the result is that I’ve been a plumb punching bag.

But with this understanding comes a new weapon, a way to cut the cords of lies. I can know truth and truth will set free.

So at first, I let truth untie my arms. I’m still getting busted up ~ because these arms aren’t trained to fight back yet ~ but I’m at least starting to block some blows and say, “Oh no you don’t.”

Then, I start using same truth that cut the cords to strengthen my arms. Like a stretchie band, I pull some weight on it, see if I can trust it. I start to find that it works with me, it stretches, it is something I can use to train with. I begin to make lifestyle adjustments around the truth I have discovered.

It’s when I become willing to put truth into practice that my arms begin to be trained. Sure it aches, but I’m learning how to make some punches. I develop an uppercut. I start using my arms effectively and efficiently. { I wonder how to sucker punch? That’s one I want to learn.}

I start gaining some ground. I begin having some victories. I think I just might be able to knock. that. opponent. Out.

I share with my friend that addressing wrong behavior without dealing with the underlying lies is like going into a boxing ring with your hands tied behind your back.

Discovering this changes everything. Every behavior is built on a system of beliefs. Get at the beliefs and the behavior crumbles with them.

“For our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, and against the powers of this dark world. It is against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly world.” Eph 6:12

Victory comes by taking up spiritual tools- TRUTH- and tackling spiritual falsehoods. The steps to change are R-I-S-C :

R- Recognize that at the core of every defeat is a lie(s). This is where change happens, by targeting the lies.

I- Identify the lie(s). Prayerfully ask God for wisdom, ask for godly counsel, learn from others who’ve walked similar paths. This step can take time as God sifts through belief systems that have been built over many years. Persevere! “If you continue in My word, then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

S- Submit to the truth. Discover and Embrace the specific truths that the lies stand in opposition to. Repent of believing falsehoods and humbly commit to reject the old pattern of lies. In the moment of crisis, be prepared to verbally speak your weapon- truth- and consciously reject the lie(s).

C- Change your response to one in keeping with truth. Practice truth with your body, bringing your physical self to bear on the truth. Keep practicing this lifestyle change, making truth part of your behavior, part of your actions, part of your punches! “Therefore do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you.” Romans 6:13-14

The outcome?

“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves to sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” Romans 6:17-18

Change starts in the heart by rejecting lies, submitting to truth, freeing up the body to turn from sin and serve Righteousness.

Go knock that opponent out.

Related posts:

Core Lies

Injecting Mud


Core Lies

Okay, so I’m not telling you anything you probably don’t already know, but Sarah Mae has her FREE e-book on Core Lies up at her site.

My heart is blessed to see this resource up because several years ago, God started a process of identifying deeply embedded lies in my belief system. {He began the process with a very dramatic event- a story for another day}

The very first comment I left on a blog was on Sarah Mae’s when she asked for input on core lies back in December. This topic is near and dear to my heart. Here is part of my story as I shared in the comment:

Sarah Mae,

I am a visual person and God is gracious to give me illustrations to show me what He is doing in my life at any given time. As God walked me through the process of sifting truth from untruth in my life, He gave me the imagery of Achan to illustrate the process… You know when he took the goods under the ban and the Israelites cast lots to see who was guilty of the sin. (See Joshua 7)

First, the tribe of Judah was selected. God identifies the large categories first. In my life, the lies stemmed from two main areas: abuse as a 4 year old child, and the religious-but-powerless upbringing I had.

Secondly, the family of the Zerahites was selected. From the large group, God narrows it down, because not all things in that large group were lies. Much of my upbringing, for example, was helpful and good.

He showed me that certain things in my past caused me to “stumble” which means “to cause one to distrust One whom he should trust and obey.” This stage was identifying ways I became reliant on myself and withdrew from God, even “spiritual” looking ways. This stage was recognizing the ways I began “performing” and seeking after other things when I should have been laying hold of Jesus and developing a genuine faith in His love and goodness towards me.

Thirdly, the household was selected. God is getting ever closer to the “core.” In this phase, God revealed to me the misconceptions I held about Him and His nature, the “flesh and blood” concepts I picked up as truth but in fact were lies. For example, God is not a taskmaster but the rule by rod upbringing I had taught me He was.

Finally, from the household, man by man is brought near and Achan was selected. It is at this point that the core was identified, the one that had tainted the entire camp. God identified the core lies in my life as follows:

1. You are not good enough for God.

2. You have to do this by yourself. You are on your own. (Self reliance)

3. God is chiefly interested in your obedience (as opposed to relationship and obedience as an outflow of that- John 15)

Through a very difficult season of parenting my own children, God has used my emotions of fear, inadequacy, anxiety, and anger as triggers to teach me those underlying lies. From there, I have been able to identify them, label them, reject them as they come up, and embrace truth instead.

What freedom!

I am grateful to Sarah Mae for including an additional portion of my testimony in her e-book, which you can download by clicking here.