Steps to Freedom

Deuteronomy 10&11

 In our last study we addressed addictions. If you are thinking addictions are mainly to drugs and alcohol, think again. Years ago our local newspaper listed the 12 step meetings that were taking place each week in our area. There were nearly fifty twelve step meetings dealing with almost as many different addictions. There were groups dealing with compulsive shopping, gambling, pornography, and a host of others. The common thread that tied these all together was a behavior that had taken control and a life that was unmanageable. There is a saying that goes like this. “Stinking thinking leads to drinking.” Well, apparently, stinking thinking leads to a lot of different addictions and dysfunctional behaviors. I am convinced that the stinking thinking is unmanaged emotional thinking. The fifty plus addictions are symptoms of that kind of emotional stinking thinking. So how do we change our thinking?

 God does not want us to be slaves to dysfunctional behavior. In Chapter 10:12&13 we get a summary of what to do to have healthy thinking but the first thing that must happen is found in verse 16, “Circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.” NASB

To circumcise means to cut off something.  The prophet Jeremiah was sent by God to warn the people of Judah that they were getting casual in their relationship with God. They were following the idols of the land and the teaching and behavior associated with each idol. In Chapter 6:10 we read, “To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the Lord is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.” NIV

The phrase, “Their ears are closed” is literally uncircumcised.  This means something is blocking their hearing of God’s instruction on how to be free and that something is their attitude toward God. When we are willing to change our attitude toward God the door to change is opened up.

 Years ago I was in the Boy Scouts and working toward a merit badge for learning Morse Code. Every week we would practice the code but I never learned it. One day I was talking to a man who was an amateur radio operator or “ham.” He made it sound so fun that I wanted to become one as well. He told me I had to take a test and be able to send and receive Morse Code at five words a minute. I wanted to do it so bad that I learned Morse Code in one night. It was all about the attitude.

The same is true about being set free from dysfunctional thinking and behavior. If we want to be set free we must change our attitude toward God. This is what circumcise your heart means. Chapter 10 verses 20&21 and Chapter 11 verse 1 describe the attitude change that must take place.

Once we have circumcised our hearts and are now willing to listen to the Lord we need to make Him Lord of our life. Instead of resisting what God has to say, (the stiff neck), I need to embrace what He has to say and put what he says into practice. This really should not be too hard. After all, we have been listening to what our dysfunctional behavior or idol has to say and putting that into practice, which leads to dysfunctional behavior.  As we move on in Chapter 11 and 12, we will come across these words, “You shall therefore…” God is speaking and telling us what we need to do. We not only need to cut off that which is blocking our hearing of God speaking but also cut off our old habits and behaviors replacing them with what follows the, “You shall therefore…”

 Chapter 11 deals with what we need to start doing. Chapter 12 tends to deal with what we need to be removing. It is out with the old and in with the new but always remember, God is with you and where God gives a command God provides the power to do what He commands. God is creating in us a new life so we must release the old. We are going through the process of denying our old selfish ways, putting them to death, and following Christ with the new life He has given us. 2 Corinthians 5:17

 Remember Jesus will never leave you or forsake you.

Pastor Dave