By Mike Quarles
(Note from Fred: Mike is a wonderful brother we have gotten to know recently. He has had an addiction recovery ministry for many years, and currently works with Steve McVey and Grace Walk Ministries. Info below.)
This is the question that I get in my ministry over and over. My ministry is to teach, train, equip and provide resources that show people how to find true and lasting freedom from addictions. My message is very simple. In a nutshell, it is that “Your old self was crucified with Christ and you are dead to sin, freed from it and you no longer live, but Christ lives in you and the life you now live you are living by the faith of God who loved you and gave Himself for you Rom. 6:6, 7; Gal. 2:20”. By the way I have noticed that when people believe that they find true and lasting freedom. In fact I don’t see anyone getting free until they believe this truth. I think a large part of the problem is that it is too simple. That is why I went to seminary and got educated beyond the level of my intelligence.
However most really struggle with this truth and ask the question, “How can I believe the truth”? That really isn’t their question. They are really asking, “How can I get a feeling or an awareness that this is true”? Of course the answer is you cannot or if you do it won’t last and you will be right back where you were asking the question again. I’m not putting down anyone or accusing anyone as I have asked the question many times myself.
What if on a bright, sunny day in Atlanta with the temperature hovering near 100 someone walks up to you, wipes the sweat off his brow and says, “How can I believe the truth that the sun is shining; do I need to pray longer, read my bible more memorize scripture, get counseling, etc., etc. I am confronted with that question in many different forms – not about the sun shining, but believing the truth of their being dead to sin, freed from it and their oneness with Christ.
The answer is you will never believe if you must have visible proof, an awareness, or a feeling. Scripture is clear that it is only by faith that we receive and appropriate truth. What is faith? It is looking to, depending on, trusting in, receiving and believing what you cannot see. It is a transaction done by the Spirit and cannot be confirmed physically and materially. It is helpful to me to know that I am not a physical being who has received a Spirit, but a spiritual being who lives in a body. My body is not who I am and one of these days my body is going to give out and die, but I will live on eternally. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8).
Faith according to Merriam Webster is “firm belief in something for which there is no proof”. I think they mean no physical proof. The bible says “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”. Abraham is called the “Father of Faith”. He believed in God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things which do not exist (Rom. 4:17 ). WOW! There is the Key! He believed God. He believed what He said and what He would do. He believed God could raise the dead and by His word speak the creation into existence. WOW! What you and I are called to do is to believe what He has done. IT IS FINISHED! It is a done deal that we are in Christ and He is in us and He is our life (John 14:20, Col. 3:4).
When Jesus cursed the fig tree and Peter pointed out to Him, that it was withered, He said, “Have faith in God” (Matt. 11:22 ). When Jesus was on the way to Jairus house to heal his daughter, who was dying some people came from his home and said to Jesus, “Don’t bother the teacher anymore, your daughter is dead. Ignoring what they said, Jesus said, ‘Don’t be afraid, just believe’ (Mark 5:36 ). To have faith in God and to believe Him, you must ignore everything else. You need to ignore the circumstances, your feelings, what others say (including most Christians).
When we ask that question, “How can I believe the truth”, we are really making a statement of unbelief and saying we don’t believe the truth that we are dead to sin and freed from it and Christ is our life, because I don’t have a sign, a feeling, an awareness or any visible proof. To look for this visible proof is unbelief and as long as you look for it you will never get it. Unfortunately that is where most Christians live. They wouldn’t dare declare that, but their lives demonstrate that is what they believe. As my friend and pastor says, they live like practical atheists. But it is true whether you and I believe it or not.
We cannot get any more free than we already are (Gal. 5:1, John 8:36). We cannot get any more complete than we already are (Col. 2:10 ). We cannot get any more righteous than we already are. If Christ is in me and I am in Him and He is living my life, then what else do I need? Do I really need more than Christ. I have it all.
Norman Grubb tells of the time when he was confronted with the truth of Gal. 2:20 when he and his wife Pauline were in Africa as missionaries, but both of them realized it was not a reality to them. They decided to stay up one night until they could declare that it was. They did, although Norman admitted he had no feeling or awareness of it, but he was going to stand on the truth of it. He took a postcard and drew a tombstone on it and wrote “Here lies the old Norman Grubb”. And it was two years later before he really understood and realized that Gal. 2:20 was a reality in his life. When I learned the truth of Gal. 2:20 twenty-five years ago and was freed from my alcoholism, I wrote a little pamphlet called, The Key to the Victorious Christian life and put a tombstone on the front of it, with “Here lies the Old…Born in Adam…Died in Christ… with the verses of Gal. 2:20 and Rom. 6:6, 7). I’ve distributed thousands of them.
It is the truth that you are dead to sin, freed from it and the old self you were was crucified with Christ and you no longer live, but Christ lives in you and the life you live, you live by the faith of the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. It is true whether you believe it, feel it, act like it, look like it or not . Truth is what God says, regardless of how you feel.
I am no different than you. I hardly ever feel dead to sin and freed from it and that I am one with Christ. In fact hardly a day passes that I don’t feel insecure, inadequate and inferior. BUT, I don’t have to let my feelings define who I am. I don’t have to let my feelings determine my actions and you don’t either. We can choose to say “Lord, I don’t feel dead to sin, freed from it and one with you, but it is true and I am going to choose to believe it, regardless of my feelings.”
For those of you have been supporting us the address to send support has been changed. From now on please send it to Grace Walk Ministries, PO Box 6537, Douglasville GA 30135. This is our 28th year of living on support and it is such a privilege of being in a ministry where we get to share the “truth that sets you free”. We have two more sessions left on the Freedom From Addictive Behaviors Basic Webinar. We plan to offer an eight session webinar on our newest book. Helping Others Overcome Addictions in the next few months. We will send you an email to announce it and also have information on the website.
Grace to you,
Grace Walk Recovery Ministry
4590 Mountain Creek Drive
Roswell GA 30075