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Cyrus Ministries International (CMI)


Revised March 2006
BACK TO DISCIPLESHIP BOOKLETS
FREEDOM FROM ADDICTION

BOOKLET OUTLINE:

Some comments on the 12-Step Program
Summary
Appendix A: God's Promises for Freedom
Appendix B: Reasons for "Addiction" to the 12-Steps, and Coming Out of the 12-Step Bondage
Appendix C: Guidelines for Coming into God's Freedom from Addictions
    
Overview
     I. Knowing Our Calling
     II Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
     III Living in Christ
     IV Breaking Down Spiritual Strongholds
     V Healing the Wounds in Our Inner Being
     VI Deliverance from the Oppressions and Presence of Demonic Spirits
     VII Reigning with Christ through Worship, Living for Others, Prayer, and Warfare


Some Comments on the 12-Step Program

The 12-Step program is the greatest healing tool given to mankind," according to John Bradshaw, a psychologist of recently exploding popularity who frequently teaches on Chicago TV. He instructs viewers on becoming their "own champion." He also tells them that Biblical histories of Jesus Christ are now regarded as myths by many "scholars." While listening to Bradshaw's 5-hour teaching, Christians realize they're in the depths of New Age philosophies. But many Christians have used the 12-Step program and have experienced help from God while "working the program." How is it possible for both a psychologist immersed in New Age philosophy and Christians to advocate using the same program to control addictions, when the program is based on submission to "a Power greater than ourselves" for that control? What is at the root of a 12-Step program that requires all its followers, as one of its steps, to submit themselves to "a Power greater than ourselves," not specifying who or what that "Higher Power" is?

A Christian man I knew, a member of a 12-Step group, was amazed when I told him that the Unitarian church isn't considered Christian because the church rejects the deity of Jesus--one of the most basic of Christian beliefs. The man's AA sponsor (discipler) in his 12-Step group was an active member of the local Unitarian church. My friend's comment was, "Well, if God wasn't keeping my sponsor sober, who was?" I believe I know, and it wasn't the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, my friend's sponsor, who believed in the god of the Unitarian religion, found help from his god through the 12-Step program.

Indeed, there seems to be help for anyone who gives himself to the principles of the 12-Step program--

The 12-Step program is the greatest healing tool given to mankind," according to John Bradshaw, a psychologist of recently exploding popularity who frequently teaches on Chicago TV. He instructs viewers on becoming their "own champion." He also tells them that Biblical histories of Jesus Christ are now regarded as myths by many "scholars." While listening to Bradshaw's 5-hour teaching, Christians realize they're in the depths of New Age philosophies. But many Christians have used the 12-Step program and have experienced help from God while "working the program." How is it possible for both a psychologist immersed in New Age philosophy and Christians to advocate using the same program to control addictions, when the program is based on submission to "a Power greater than ourselves" for that control? What is at the root of a 12-Step program that requires all its followers, as one of its steps, to submit themselves to "a Power greater than ourselves," not specifying who or what that "Higher Power" is?

A Christian man I knew, a member of a 12-Step group, was amazed when I told him that the Unitarian church isn't considered Christian because the church rejects the deity of Jesus--one of the most basic of Christian beliefs. The man's AA sponsor (discipler) in his 12-Step group was an active member of the local Unitarian church. My friend's comment was, "Well, if God wasn't keeping my sponsor sober, who was?" I believe I know, and it wasn't the God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, my friend's sponsor, who believed in the god of the Unitarian religion, found help from his god through the 12-Step program.

Indeed, there seems to be help for anyone who gives himself to the principles of the 12-Step program--regardless of whether his "god" is the god of the New Age philosophy, the god of the Unitarian church, or the God of Jesus Christ. In AA's main resource book for the 12-Step program, the "Big Book," there are several testimonies of people who have been helped by the 12-Step program. (The "Big Book" is the name given by AA members to the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, a publication of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., New York, NY.) There is no identification in the testimonies as to who the "Higher Power" of each person is, with one exception. A Native American Indian testifies: "I feel Great Spirit at all meetings," and, "Let group spirit of love and understanding protect you. Take my hand. Walk with me up Twelve Steps of AA to peace." This man found help through the "Great Spirit," a god of the Indians, and from the "group spirit" present at meetings.

The 12 steps have been used by people of many different religions with seemingly equal success, regardless of the addiction--alcohol, food, drugs, even sexual addictions. They're used by people who want relief from emotional disorders and traumatic experiences. They're even used by professional groups for stress release. The 12-Step program can be said to be a cure-all for all, regardless of the problem and regardless of the god one chooses to plug into it. Any problem can be solved and any god will do. This is why the program appeals to all: it has a promise of universal use, even in other countries among Hindu and Buddhist people. It is a way of uniting mankind, so that all will worship the "program of the 12 Steps."

Where did this unusual program come from? Bill Wilson, the primary co-founder of AA, recalled in his book Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age, how the 12 steps came into being. On page 63 of this history of the organization, Wilson recounts his friend Ebby's sharing of six basic principles he had learned from the Oxford Groups. These six principles became the basis for the first six steps of AA. Wilson relates what happened during his hospital stay to dry out:

"I was not in too awful a condition. In three or four days I was free of what little sedative they gave me, but I was very depressed. I was still choking on the God business. Bright and early one morning friend Ebby showed up and stood in the doorway, smiling broadly. I didn't see what was so funny.

"`Well,' said I, `what is your neat little formula once more?' In perfectly good humor, he handed it out again: You admit you are licked; you get honest with yourself; you talk it out with somebody else; you make restitution to the people you have harmed; you try to give of yourself without stint, with no demand for reward; and you pray to whatever God you think there is, even as an experiment. It was as simple and yet as mysterious as that. After some small talk he was gone.

"My depression deepened unbearably and finally it seemed to me as though I were at the very bottom of the pit. I still gagged badly on the notion of a Power greater than myself, but finally, just for the moment, the last vestige of my proud obstinacy was crushed. All at once I found myself crying out, `If there is a God, let Him show Himself! I am ready to do anything, anything!'

"Suddenly the room lit up with a great white light. I was caught up into an ecstasy which there are no words to describe. It seemed to me, in the mind's eye, that I was on a mountain and that a wind not of air but of spirit was blowing. And then it burst upon me that I was a free man. Slowly the ecstasy subsided. I lay on the bed, but now for a time I was in another world, a new world of consciousness. All about me and through me there was a wonderful feeling of Presence, and I thought to myself, `So this is the God of the preachers!' A great peace stole over me and I thought, `No matter how wrong things seem to be, they are still all right. Things are all right with God and His world.'"

Bill Wilson had a "religious experience." He sought "whatever God" he "thought there was," and had an experience which "helped" him. Wilson continues: "More light on this came the next day. It was Ebby, I think, who brought me a copy of William James' Varieties of Religious Experience. It was rather difficult reading for me, but I devoured it from cover to cover. Spiritual experiences, James thought, could have objective reality; almost like gifts from the blue, they could transform people. Some were sudden brilliant illuminations; others came on very gradually. Some flowed out of religious channels; others did not. But nearly all had the great common denominators of pain, suffering, calamity. Complete hopelessness and deflation at depth were almost always required to make the recipient ready. The significance of all this burst upon me. DEFLATION AT DEPTH--yes, that was IT. Exactly that had happened to me. Dr. Carl Jung had told an Oxford group friend of Ebby's how hopeless his alcoholism was and Dr. Silkworth had passed the same sentence upon me. Then Ebby, also an alcoholic, had handed me the identical dose. On Dr. Silkworth's say-so alone maybe I would never have completely accepted the verdict, but when Ebby came along and one alcoholic began to talk to another, that clinched it."

In the book Varieties of Religious Experience, James tells readers that they should be tolerant of each religion, even of the "over-beliefs" of a religion, as long as those in other religions are not intolerant themselves. James states, "I think in fact that a final philosophy of religion will have to consider the pluralistic hypothesis more seriously than it has hitherto been willing to consider it." (Varieties of Religious Experience, p. 526). Under this philosophy, Christianity is "a" way to God. The belief that Jesus Christ is the only way is considered an "over-belief." These beliefs are to be tolerated, but are not to be preached among those of other religions, according to James. Wilson's friend Ebby, who told Bill to seek an experience from whatever god he thought there was, thus gave Bill a book listing and advocating the varieties of gods and experiences available to him. James, and apparently Ebby also, led Bill toward a concept of a universal god, then and now a basic foundation of AA.

This was also my experience while in AA. Jesus was my "Higher Power," but when others believed their god to be "a chair," "the group," or even "Mickey Mouse," we were to accept their god also. The important thing was to follow the program: the choice of what god to use became a secondary consideration. The first god was the program, or the Twelve Steps themselves. They became the formation into which any god was to be molded. Members then worship the steps--a revelation from the universal god--and are "allowed" to worship a personal god under the framework of the 12-Step program and its philosophy. Members must, however, be tolerant of the beliefs of others and not describe their beliefs as the "only correct ones."

In 1938, having broken with the Oxford Groups because of the Groups' belief in the saving Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Alcoholics Anonymous groups were practicing a formal version of the six principles that Ebby had originally introduced to Bill. The steps were:

     1) We admitted we were licked, that we were powerless over alcohol.

     2) We made a moral inventory of our defects or sins.

     3) We confessed or shared our shortcomings with another person in confidence.

     4) We made restitution to all those we harmed by our drinking.

     5) We tried to help other alcoholics with no thought of reward in money or prestige.

     6) We prayed to whatever God we thought there was for power to practice these steps.

Wilson writes in Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: "This was the substance of what, by the fall of 1938, we were telling newcomers. Several of the Oxford Groups' other ideas and attitudes had been definitely rejected, including any which could involve us in theological controversy." That is, Wilson had rejected any idea that encompassed the belief that Jesus Christ was the only way to God. "Whatever god we thought there was" made all gods equal and allowed all members to choose their own god. Having eliminated "theological controversy" as a problem, the program hurdled the last barrier to universal acceptance and use.

As Wilson attempted to write a book on the practices of the AA organization that year, he sought additional revelation for the steps, from "whatever god he thought there was." He describes the results starting on page 160 of Alcoholics Anonymous Comes of Age: "Finally I started to write. I set out to draft more than six steps; how many more I did not know. I relaxed and asked for guidance. With a speed that was astonishing, considering my jangling emotions, I completed the first draft. It took perhaps half an hour. The words kept right on coming. When I reached a stopping point, I numbered the new steps. They added up to twelve. Somehow this number seemed significant. Without any special rhyme or reason I connected them with the twelve apostles. Feeling greatly relieved now, I commenced to reread the draft."

The 12 Steps were thus given by "spiritual revelation" or "direction" to Bill Wilson in 1938. The question then is, "Who was Bill Wilson's spiritual director?" The answer, I believe, was not a messenger from the God of Jesus Christ.

Bill Wilson had other non-Christian spiritual experiences. The book, PASS IT ON--The Story of Bill Wilson and How the AA Message Reached the World, an official publication of AA, recounts several of them. Starting on page 275, the author writes of sťances and other extrasensory experiences in which Wilson participated, along with AA co-founder Dr. Bob and his wife Anne Smith. Wilson remembers visitations from spirits of dead people, who would give him revelations of their previous lives. Later he would learn that the information the spirits had given them about these dead people was true. The book recounts some of the "spook sessions" that Bill and his wife Lois held in their home regularly. One of their bedrooms was dubbed the "spook room." Sometimes they used an ouija board to receive messages. Sometimes Bill laid on the couch to receive them. A neighbor, a "spook circle regular," would write down the messages. Each time, certain spirits would come by to relate a story. Once a "revelation" concerned the formation of the church in Italy, centuries earlier. At other times, Bill and Lois would host "table-lifting" and "table-rapping" sessions.

What about the 12 steps themselves? Are they Bible-based? The 12 steps sound slightly Biblical, but there are serious errors and a serious omission. The major problem with the 12-Step program is that it centers on teaching a member how to "improve" his or her old nature, the nature they were born with--removing "character defects." This idea of altering a person's current being to be restored to its previous goodness is inherent in steps 2, 6,and 7 of the program. It erroneously assumes that everything else that remains didn't need improvement and is good.

The Bible has a different word on the subject: that each one of us, whether seeking freedom from an addiction or not, needs a new nature--one which is perfect--and that we can only receive that new nature through Jesus Christ. We must become a completely new creation through Jesus Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. The Bible also says that there is NOTHING good in our old nature (Romans 7:18). So, to be "restored to sanity" (step 2 of AA's 12 steps) is not Biblical. Furthermore, there is no step in the 12 that provides for the receiving of a new nature through the work of the Spirit of Jesus Christ in our hearts.

It's obvious then why all false religions can accept the 12 Steps. All religions, except Christianity, try to join the believer with his god through penance and self-improvement programs. Believers seek to unite with their gods or to appease them through their practice of religious rituals. Not so with Christianity. The God of the Bible says that we MUST be "born again," to have a new spirit formed in us. The Spirit of Christ comes to make us a dwelling place for the Spirit of God. My old nature must die--through the cross of Jesus--so that I can become a new creation by receiving the nature of Jesus. The life of the Christian is characterized by putting off the old nature--all of it--and by putting on the new. In the 12 Steps, the emphasis is on putting off the bad of the old, assuming that there is some good in the old nature that will remain.

There are other problems with the program. Step 1 states that we are powerless over alcohol. The emphasis is on our helplessness against it. Alcohol becomes the enemy. Jesus turned water into wine. He used wine at Passover. Wine or alcohol wasn't His enemy and is not ours; the sin of drunkenness is the enemy. The focus of the 12 Steps makes something God has given for moderate use into our foe. The question of sin (which of course can only be dealt with by Jesus) is sidestepped entirely by calling drunkenness a disease; according to teachings of AA, "we were born that way." The alcoholic, then, rather than being a sinner, is a victim of God, Who created him with that "disease."

Since AA teaches that alcohol is the enemy, we are taught to live focusing on abstaining from alcohol. Whereas in the past we were focused on drinking, and our lives revolved around it, now our lives revolve around "not drinking." We are therefore still focused on alcohol--either its presence or its absence. The god of alcohol still dominates us. This continued domination by the spirit of alcohol is evidenced in AA teaching and the experience of its members: if they return to drinking, the addiction will be as great as if they had been continually drinking all the while. The "tree" of alcohol addiction continues to grow, even while one is on the AA program. This is to be expected, since an AA member is feeding the "tree of alcohol" even while working the AA program, because the primary focus is still on alcohol--now on abstention from it rather than consumption of it.

Christianity offers a different approach to END the addiction. "Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit," is the exhortation of Christianity (Ephesians 5:18). Instead of merely focusing on what not to do (to not be drunk with wine), the addicted person is told what TO do--to be led by the Spirit of God--and given the grace, the equipment, to do it. If we listen to the Spirit of God and follow His leading, we will not become drunk. We will be too involved with the blessedness of following Jesus to have the time or the desire to go back to our old life. As we follow Jesus through the work of His Spirit in us, we will put to death the old life, and we will put on the new life which leads to holiness. God, through Christ and the power of His Spirit, can accomplish this in us.

In Step 3 of AA, members are told to turn themselves over to God "as we understand Him." God thus becomes the product of a member's understanding, rather than the One Who reveals Himself to us through Jesus Christ and through His Word, the Bible. There is no longer any absolute truth when God becomes whatever we seem to think He is. This is the spirit that guided Bill Wilson as he left the Oxford Groups and formed Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the spirit that said, "We prayed to whatever god we thought there was," as stated in the original six principles or steps of the AA groups from 1935-1938. And it was the same spirit that gave Bill Wilson the revelation of the additional six steps for the program, previously cited.

In the 12-Step programs we are told to "admit our shortcomings with one another." Some "Christian 12-Step" groups cite part of James 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another," as the Biblical basis for this. Certainly, it is good to let our hair down and admit our weaknesses or faults to one another. However, the Bible does not stop there. The full verse in James 5:16 reads, "Confess your faults one to another and PRAY one for the other SO THAT YOU MAY BE HEALED." (NKJV) The mere admission of weakness is not what the Bible advocates; the Bible says we are to confess our faults and PRAY! In the 12-Step programs there is none of the personal prayer, one for another, the Bible calls for. (And this would be difficult to do, since there are often many gods present at a 12-Step meeting.) The Bible says to confess, pray, and expect healing. AA advocates confession, does not advocate prayer, and gives no expectation of complete healing.

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Summary

None of these comments is intended to imply that the people of AA are bad people who wish to deceive the Christian. On the contrary, many Christian people were in AA when I was a member. I brought people to AA. The problem is not with the people of AA. The problem, I believe, is that the spirit that guided the formation of the 12 Steps is not of God and therefore that spirit rules over the program and limits the role of the practice of religions, including Christianity, to the dictates of the program. That is, I can be a Christian and use the program. But--the program dictates the limits and capabilities of my Christianity. Jesus becomes secondary and the program becomes number one. The program becomes the savior, and Jesus is just another "Higher Power."

A member can have success with the 12 Steps with any god he chooses. But he must be "tolerant" and accept all gods of his fellow members as "god," too. That is the teaching of the spirit that brought forth the 12-Step program.

Satan said to Jesus, "I'll make you Number Two in my kingdom; just worship me." The 12 Steps promise peace, serenity, and sobriety if members just use them. Satan offers these to all people regardless of their religion. However, a member is never free of the spirit of alcoholism. It continues to grow even while the member works the program. This is the teaching and experience of AA. This is also what the Bible says: "Satan cannot cast out Satan." (Matthew 12:26 NKJV). Even Christian 12-Step groups believe that complete freedom from alcoholism is not possible. The teaching is: "You must never touch alcohol again; you will always be an alcoholic." On the other hand, Paul says, "Such WERE some of you." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV)

What is the answer? "Be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18 NKJV), and "Walk in the Spirit and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16 NKJV) God promises us a level of freedom from our sinful nature that is above what the 12-Step program offers. When we invite the Presence of Jesus Christ into us, and follow the leading of His Holy Spirit, we can have this freedom. (See Appendix C.)

When we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, Who does reveal all the roots of our addictions (including the satanic), we can experience God's freedom as promised in the Bible and taught by Christians like Charles Finney, Andrew Murray and others. (See Appendix A.) The Bible says, "If, by the power of the Holy Spirit, you kill the deeds of the flesh, you shall live." (Romans 8:13NKJV) "Reckon yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God, through Jesus Christ." (Romans 6:11NKJV) We are seeing this happen as we grow in Christ and minister the power of His Spirit to others. (See Appendix C.) God is also able to help those who have become addicted to, and are in bondage to, the "spirit of the 12-Step Program." (See Appendix B.) Jesus said, "If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed!" (John 8:36). There is COMPLETE freedom through Jesus, the Word of God, and the Power of the Holy Spirit.

Appendix A: God's Promises for Freedom

The idea that we can be free from the strongholds of sinful behavior patterns has been advocated throughout the history of Christianity. This was the teaching of Charles Finney, a preacher used by God to bring revival to this country during the 1800's. He says in Principles of Union with Christ, p. 66:

"For example, suppose we find ourselves constitutionally, or by reason of our relations and circumstances, exposed to certain troubles and temptations that overcome us. Our weakness in this respect we observe in our experience. But upon observing our nakedness and experiencing something of our weakness, we begin by piling resolution upon resolution. We bind ourselves with oaths and promises and covenants, but all in vain. When we purpose to stand, we invariably fall in the presence of temptation. This process of resolving and falling brings us into great discouragement and perplexity until at last the Holy Spirit reveals to us fully that we are attempting to stand and build upon nothing. The utter emptiness and worse than uselessness of our resolutions and self-originated efforts is so clearly seen by us as to annihilate forever self-dependence in this respect.

"Now you are prepared for the revelation of Christ to meet this particular want and need. Christ is revealed and apprehended as your substitute, surety, life, and salvation, respecting the particular trouble and weakness of which it has had so full and so humiliating a revelation. Now if you will utterly and forever cast off and renounce self, and then put on the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is seen to be needed by you to meet whatever problem or temptations you have, then all is complete in Him. This far Christ is reigning within us in place of our self-centered and selfish selves. This far we know what is the power of His resurrection, and are made conformable to His death. This far He will be for us personally all in all in every situation we find ourselves."

God can deliver us--completely. This was also the teaching of L.G. Parkhurst Jr. of the Christian Life Study Center in Minnesota. In the introduction to Finney's book, page 9, Parkhurst writes:

"Yet, Jesus promised that through faith in Him, we can move beyond forgiveness to living a holy life. Each Christian should strive to live a perfect life before God, but only through faith in Jesus Christ can we move toward that goal. Christians can be so transformed that they have the power to overcome any sin, sinful habit, or harmful pattern of living. Especially, God has given Christians the power to overcome and be victorious over every sin which He specifically condemns in the Scriptures. Christians sometimes try to explain sin away, because they have come to believe that they can have no power over certain sins, but God has promised that through faith in Christ not only can every sin be forgiven but every sin or sinful habit can be overcome in this life. If churches and pastors are going to be really helpful today, then they will need to move beyond preaching only the need of forgiveness and acceptance of Jesus, and begin teaching about transformation and holiness in this life, the principles of union with Christ."

Appendix B: Reasons for "Addiction" to the 12-Steps, and Coming Out of the 12-Step Bondage

Some people who have participated in a 12-step program find themselves "addicted" to the program. The program has become their source of direction and life. There are several reasons for this:

1. We have given ourselves to the program.

At every closed meeting of AA, a person reads a quotation on "How it Works," from the AA "Big Book," (Alcoholics Anonymous, p.58). The beginning of this quotation reads, "Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program." The attendee is urged to give himself to this program, and then often becomes a "servant" of the program, unable to experience peace without it. If he follows God, it is because the program tells him to. The program becomes primary; God is a secondary consideration.

2. We commit ourselves to the path of the group.

The group path becomes primary. Some in the group may be following the path of Jesus; others may be following the path of their New Age god; still others may be following the path of their god who is a chair, and so on. The commitment is to the "collective path," as dictated by the program. Members encourage each other to recognize the collective path, thus encouraging all to follow the god of the universal religion. All members welcome and give place to all gods through these confessions. Members admire the sobriety of all those in attendance, regardless of the god who has provided it for them. This "universal god" then has a place in the confessions and hearts of all in attendance.

3. We make the confession that alcohol is our enemy.

The "How it Works" quotation continues: "Remember that we deal with alcohol--cunning, baffling, powerful." Even after years of abstinence, members confess that they need to fear alcohol. They are always in bondage. The Bible says that in Christ, each of us becomes a new creation.

Because a member makes these confessions at each AA meeting, the spirit that created the 12 Steps can intimidate and cause emotional and spiritual anxiety in those who want to leave the 12-Step program. However, through Jesus each of us can become totally free from our addictions, and also become free from the spiritual bondage we might have entered while practicing the confessions and beliefs of the 12-Step program. Although some good things are said and done at AA meetings, the spiritual roots of the program encourage confessions and teachings that are both damaging and in conflict with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

4. We confess the fatalism of Eastern Religions and Islam

In eastern religions and Islam, believers are taught they must just accept their state in life. The Hindu is told that whatever state he is born into is his "karma" for that life. If he is born into poverty, he must accept it, perhaps as a punishment for errors in a previous life. The practice of this belief system reaches its extreme when Hindus are prohibited from killing rats infesting poverty-stricken areas because some of the rats might be "people" suffering their punishment for misdeeds of a previous life.

Islam teaches that if someone is starving or living in other harsh physical circumstances, there is no need to help the person, because their plight is the will of Allah.

The "How it Works" section of AA's "Big Book," cited earlier and read at every meeting, makes a reference to those who are unable to follow the 12-Step program. The text reads: "There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault, they seem to have been born that way." The notion that people are just born with the "disease" of alcoholism, and must learn to make the best of it, is the basic fatalistic philosophy and confession of AA and its members.

This is why the 12-Steps are popular with homosexuals. The program allows them also to say that they were just born that way.

The Christian belief is that we were born into sin, but that, through Jesus, we can be changed. We can be transformed and no longer need to continue in or be subject to our sinful addictions. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, the apostle Paul lists some of the sinful practices of his day and ours. Included among them is drunkenness. Then he says, "But such WERE some of you." We can be free through Jesus; we can be FREED through Jesus. We don't have to be subject to the fatalism taught, confessed, and experienced by people in other religions and in AA. Paul exhorts us that we are to REIGN in life, through receiving an abundance of His righteousness and grace (Romans 5:17). This can be experienced by every person who comes to Jesus, fully giving Christ the Lordship of the problem previously given to the 12-Step program. Hallelujah!

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Appendix C: Guidelines for Coming into God's Freedom from Addictions

The following guidelines are offered as considerations in ministering to those who are in bondage to drugs, alcohol, food, sexual infidelity, same-sex desires, etc. These are not "steps to freedom," but considerations in understanding and receiving revelation of the spiritual strongholds that bind people in their addictions, and knowing and receiving the freedom God has for us "in Christ."

Overview

God wants us to know Him, to be intimately aware of His desires and of His character and nature. He wants us to fear and reverence Him as God Almighty, and to know Him as our Loving Heavenly Father. We were created to glorify God.  We glorify God by living in the reality of His Presence in us and with us in all areas of our lives Ė our secular lives and our religious lives.  We glorify God by spending time reflecting on who He is and glorifying His very being.  We glorify God by letting Him manifest his will through us into all of our being, into our family activities, into our workplace activities, into our governmental activities and into our church related activities.  Jesus glorified God by doing all God had for Him to do in His earthly life.  He lived in continual communion and awareness of His Fatherís presence with Him.  Jesus prayed that we would be one in spirit with our Father as He was. (John 17:3, 21)

God is Spirit. That is, He is a purely spiritual being, with no physical body. Man has a spirit that dwells within his body. When he is born, manís spirit is not in tune with the Spirit of God. Man in his natural state is not seeking fellowship with God. He has lost that fellowship because of the sins of Adam, and by himself he is unable to enter into fellow-ship with God.

Jesus Christ, Godís Son, entered the human race and became a man. He did not have a dysfunctional spirit like other men because He was Divinely conceived by the Holy Spirit rather than by a natural father. His spirit was in communion with God, and He lived in fellowship with His Father throughout His life. Since our sins have been paid for through His death, and since He took our sinful ways on Himself and bore the penalty for our sins, we now can be free from the ways of sin and death that we have inherited. Now that Jesus has been raised from the dead and lives in heaven at the right hand of the Father, He is able to impart His Spirit, the very Spirit of God, into our being. Through the Holy Spirit our spirits can be awakened to the things of God. We can now become free from the ways of Satan and free from the dominion of the demonic spirits that operate in Satanís kingdom. The Holy Spirit can form a new life in us so we will want to be dependent on God, living in communion and close fellowship with Him as Jesus did.

We can be restored to the original plans and purposes God had in mind for us when He created us. We can know God and live for Him. We can show forth His life and character to others as we meditate on Him, focus on His Word and the other means of grace He provides, and as His Holy Spirit enters all of our being.

Our spirit can be free so that we become a "spiritual" being, one led by the Holy Spirit who influences our spirit. We can be freed from domination by our sinful desires and our own senses, freed from living for ourselves, doing what we want, what we think is best, or what we think will give us pleasure. We can know the joy and peace of living as Jesus did, knowing and doing the will of God as it was revealed to Him in each situation.

Living in spiritual freedom means we no longer are dominated by the sinful ways of our old nature. I, for example, am no longer dominated by alcoholism. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has set me free. I am no longer subject to the whims of drunkenness, but I am filled with His Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18) Living in spiritual freedom means we are no longer dominated by our own pleasures or desires. I am no longer living for myself, but through the Holy Spirit, I am focusing on Jesus, Who is directing and leading me each day. (2 Corinthians 5:15) No longer do lustful imaginations or thoughts dominate my mind or actions as they once did, but now I have thoughts of seeing people come to know Christ and experience the joy of knowing Him.

Living in spiritual freedom means we are now able to begin to know Godís voice as He speaks to us. We are able to have a love for His Word, His people, and His ways. We will know and experience the truth that we are created by Him, each with unique callings and gifts. We will know that He has always been with us, offering us help, wisdom, and affirmation, even though we did not know it at the time. We no longer have to be continually oppressed by the weight of depression or by the fear of failure, rejection, or abandonment. We no longer have to be driven by what people think or want, but now we can begin to know and do the will of God, knowing that what He wants and is able to do is far better that anything we might do.

Living in spiritual freedom means that we can now receive revelation from God as to how to help people who are beset with problems. We can be part of Godís answer for a lost and needy world. We no longer have to figure out for ourselves how to meet the needs of others; rather we can listen to the voice of God, Who will direct us, showing us how to bring His help to others. We become a servant of God, rather than feeling responsible ourselves. We then know that we have something to bring others, rather than feeling inadequate or being weighed down with othersí needs.

Living in spiritual freedom means that we now have a new perspective on life; we begin to see things from Godís perspective. We begin to see His plan and purposes in the affairs of life, both for ourselves and others. We see life as a series of circumstances orchestrated by a loving and caring God rather than as just a series of seemingly unrelated events. We begin to see how God is able to work good in situations which outwardly seem to be disastrous. We sense His will and know His ways, so that we can flow with what He is doing, rather than trying to get things changed around into what we think they should be. We learn that through prayer God can reveal His will and plan to us so that by our prayers we can affect our circumstances with the will of God.

The Bible teaches us how to come into the spiritual freedom God offers so that we can participate more fully in His plan and purposes for us and for the world. We have found seven of Godís principles to be very helpful to us and to those God has brought to us, in coming into experiencing Godís freedom in Christ. Those seven principles are:

I. Knowing Our Calling

II Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

III Living in Christ

IV Breaking Down Spiritual Strongholds

V Healing the Wounds in Our Inner Being

VI Deliverance from the Oppressions and Presence of Demonic Spirits

VII Reigning with Christ through Worship, Living for Others, Prayer, and Warfare

A brief description of each of these areas follows.

I. Knowing Our Calling
We are called saints, called to be children of God, called to live "in Christ," becoming like Him. We are accepted by God through Christ. We are called to fulfill special roles as children, parents, siblings, workers, church members, and the like. When we see our functions in life as "callings from God," we can feel fulfilled and know that because of the resources God has and is willing to impart to us, we can be what God wants us to be. We will experience, like Jesus, that whatever God calls us to be, we can be. Satan, or the temptations of the world, or the strength of our own sinfulness will be unable to keep us from being what God has in mind for us.

Jesus is our example of one who was able through the power of God to fulfill His God-given calling. God delights in doing for us what He did for Jesus. He delights in imparting His life, His wisdom, His desires, His power, and His peace into our being so that we can be what He wants us to be. Fear, lust, addictions, physical infirmities, insecurities, complacency, inadequacies, problems of life, mental and emotional pains, and the like need not keep us from knowing and experiencing Godís calling and purposes for us.

II. Be Filled with the Spirit
Godís life comes to us through His Holy Spirit, Who comes to us through Jesus. Jesus modeled a human life of one who was filled with the Spirit of God. Jesus is our example of one who was in continual communion with God through the Holy Spirit. He was obedient to God in all situations through the power of the Holy Spirit. He was obedient to Godís will, even when it meant undergoing the most painful and intense suffering any man would ever go through. He was obedient even unto death--the death on the cross. Satan was unable to stop Jesus from doing Godís will in all situations. Though the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, "No!" to Satan in every situation. Jesus won the victory over Satan, sin, and the world. He did it through the power of the Holy Spirit. Now Jesus reigns in glory, filled with all the glory of God, able to impart His Spirit to us. We are told to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We are told to walk in the Holy Spirit. We are told that the Holy Spirit has special names that describe His work and ministry among us. Our role is to receive the Holy Spirit into our being, to let Him fill us by letting Him influence all of our being. We need to let Him express Himself to us and through us to others. We need to let Him influence our mind through letting Him bring to us thoughts of God and visions of His will and desires. We need to let the Holy Spirit influence our emotions by receiving His emotions and feelings into our being. We need to let Him influence our desires by letting Him express His desires and purposes to us in each situation. When the Holy Spirit does this, He is communicating to us the desires, attitudes, feelings, thoughts, and expressions of Jesus. As we do this, focusing on Jesus and listening to the Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves becoming one with Jesus.

As we embrace the ministries of the Holy Spirit, we become filled with the nature of Jesus, Who was also filled with the Holy Spirit. We need to know the Holy Spirit as our Comforter, as our Counselor, as our Wisdom, as our Power, as our Knowledge, as the Spirit of the Lord, as the Spirit of Truth, as the Spirit who will impart to us the fear and reverence of God. As we let the Holy Spirit do this for us, we become filled with Him as Jesus was, and we become free to live as Jesus lived.

III. Living in Christ
The Bible says that before God formed the world He purposed that we should be in Christ. (Eph 1:4) Being in Christ means we can become focused on Him, letting Him guide us, letting Him show us how to react, listening to what He wants us to say, doing what we sense He wants us to do.

The Bible also says we are with Him as He lives in the heavenly places. We are to recognize that when we have committed ourselves to be dead to sin, as Christ was, we can also be alive to God as Jesus was. We are to reign with Him and to follow Him as God brings all things under His dominion through His cross.

Being in Christ also means that we experience Godís forgiveness by receiving and giving the forgiveness God offers us through Christ. We no longer hide our sins but now bring them to the cross of Jesus, knowing that He is the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. The Bible says that if we confess our sins--that is, admit to God the wrongs we have done--He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. (1 John 1:9) We no longer retain bitterness and unforgiveness toward others, but we extend Godís forgiveness to those who have wronged us or treated us unfairly. In doing this we pray that those who have hurt us will also come to know the love of Jesus and His ability to cleanse and forgive.

Being in Christ means that we can stop trying to improve ourselves. Now we can enter into a divine exchange, giving our wrong ways, attitudes, actions, etc., to Him, and receiving His Spirit Who brings us holy ways, attitudes, etc., so that we want to do what God wants. We no longer focus on our actions, but rather we focus on doing what Jesus wants, and we end up doing "good" things. Itís not that we ourselves become perfect, but by focusing on Him, doing what He wants, trusting in His power through the Holy Spirit, we do more and more perfect things.

Being in Christ results in our beginning to think in new ways. Our minds become renewed so that we begin to focus on the things and purposes of God. We begin to receive vision and revelations from Him. We have new attitudes about ourselves, life, and Godís will for us. We have peace in knowing that He can show us what to do in each situation, no longer trusting in our abilities to think of what to do.

IV. Breaking Down Spiritual Strongholds
When man sinned He lost His ability to spiritually commune with God. He no longer could know in his spirit, Godís love and provision for him. God told Adam and Eve that as a result of their sin the woman would seek her identity through the man, and the man would seek his identity through his work. This "curse of sin" has resulted in much insecurity, and Satan has had a field day of holding people in bondage to these fears. This curse can be broken through Jesus, since He has come to restore us to a spiritual relationship with His Father. In Him we are to find our true identity.

Under the old covenant, manís obedience was the determining factor in whether he would receive Godís blessings or be under His curse. Health and blessing were the promises to the obedient. Sickness, poverty, and other curses were the result of disobedience. Jesus paid the price of our sins. He redeemed us from the curse of the law. Under the new covenant the blessings God promised Abraham can come to us through Christ.

Under the old covenant the sins of the fathers were visited on the children for up to four generations. Patterns such as alcoholism, divorce, anger, lust, and sexual immorality would appear in succeeding generations. Under the new covenant these sinful patterns can be broken. Jesusí righteousness, His blood, and His Spirit offer us freedom from the generational sin patterns.

V. Healing the Wounds in Our Inner Being
Jesus came to heal the broken- hearted. He came to lift from us the weights of the pain and agony of life. He said, "Come to Me all you who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28 NKJV) Jesus encourages us to cast our cares upon Him. He encourages us to receive comfort, strength, life, and righteousness from Him.

Many have been wounded in their spirit through rejection or guilt. Many have been made to feel ashamed of their very being because of their race, sex, size, or other uncontrollable characteristics. Many have been put down and mocked because of learning disabilities, speech defects, financial status, family situations, etc.. Jesus can heal these hurts as He removes the old and brings in the truth of His love, acceptance, and purposes.

Many are plagued by fear. They are afraid of being abandoned, or of being rejected, or of not having enough to handle the cares of this life, or of not being able to meet the expectations of others, or of having to face a new day. Living in fear--being driven by fears--can be very debilitating. Jesus, through the presence of His Spirit, can bring healing and freedom to fearful people. He can make the reality of His presence with us so real and practical that we can confidently know that we know that we can handle the affairs of life. He can minister His wisdom and love to us in such a way that we begin to see life from His perspective, and are able to live by the truth of His being identified with us in each situation of our life.

Still others are paralyzed in some areas of their lives because of having undergone tragic or deeply emotional experiences. Experiences such as sexual abuse, loss of jobs or stature, broken relationships through divorce or untimely death, or ridicule and put-downs of parents or close friends can render us incapable of performing well in some areas. The wounds we have suffered deep in our spirit can be healed through the healing presence of the Comforter, The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sends to us. Our hurt, pain, and trauma can be lifted from our spirit, and the life of the Holy Spirit can resurrect our wounded, or slumbering, or fearful spirit. Jesus came to bring life to our spirit.

VI. Deliverance from the Oppressions and Presence of Demonic Spirits
Jesus came to bring deliverance to those oppressed by the devil. The Bible says, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:38 NKJV) Jesus knew that the demons of Satan had power over people. He knew that some were sick because of a demonic presence. He knew that some were oppressed spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically because of evil spirits. When Jesus saw the spiritual oppressions of the people, He brought healing and freedom. He used the authority He was given, and He ministered through the power of the Holy Spirit Who was present with Him to bring freedom to those who came to Him.

Jesus gives us authority to bring freedom to those who are being oppressed by demonic spirits. He said, "I give you authority over serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy." (Luke 10:19 NKJV) Under the authority of Jesus and the anointing and leading of the Holy Spirit, we can personally experience and bring to others the freedom of Christ.

Those who have dealt in witchcraft, or who have dabbled in horoscopes, or who have gone to fortune tellers or card layers or others attempting to divine the future, have opened the door for demonic spirits to be involved with their lives. Involvement with spiritism, with the New Age Movement, or with non-Christian organizations such as Freemasonry, the Unification church, eastern meditation, and the like, likewise opens the door for demonic spirits.

When demonic spirits gain a foothold we often see such things as rages of anger, or tormenting dreams, or chronic illnesses, or sleeplessness, or mental illnesses, or recurring accidents. As we let the Holy Spirit reveal the openings that have occurred, and let the power of Jesus enable the person to confess their sin or involvement with "Satanís devices," the spirits have to respond to the command of Jesus to leave. People, their families, and even their communities can become filled with the presence of God, knowing His love and purpose in a deeper way as the demonic spirits are cast out. The power of God can be manifest and His liberating presence can be experienced more and more in this way.

VII. Reigning with Christ through Worship, Living for Others, Prayer, and Warfare
We are called to reign with Christ. (Romans 5:17; Revelation 1:6) We are called to participate with Him as God brings all things under His feet. (Psalm 110:2) As we are able to do this because of the spiritual freedom we are beginning to experience, certain things will start to happen.

We will want to express our gratitude to God for the freedom we are experiencing; our hearts will become filled with thanksgiving. As we spend more time with God, thanking Him, our spirit will become more aware of the greatness of the character of God, and we will not just thank God for what He has done, but we will begin to worship God for Who He is. We will become awed by the very Presence of God. We will become a people who want to express our sense of worship of the very Being of God. We begin to say with David, "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple." (Psalm 27:4 NKJV)

Reigning with Christ also involves our becoming like Him. We who have known and received His love and freedom-giving ability will want this same thing for others just as Jesus did. Jesus lived for others. He came to give His life so others would know His Father. As we become filled with the Spirit of Christ we too will want to live so that others can know the love of God. We will be free from seeking our own desires and will follow Christ as He directs us in living out His life through us. Paul says he "dies daily" so that the life of Christ can come forth to others. As we grow in our spiritual freedom we too will find ourselves wanting to live so that others can come into finding their life "in Christ" as we have.

Prayer will become a primary focal point in our life. As we become free from being bound up in ourselves, we can know God and know what He is doing and what He desires of us. God will impart His desires to us as we spend time with Him, and we can ask Him to do what He has revealed to us through prayer. God will show us His will for particular situations so that we can ask Him to act in them. We will begin to see our life as Divinely ordered, rather than as a set of seemingly unrelated circumstances. We will come to know that, through prayer, we can influence each circumstance we find ourselves in with His presence and will. We can change the world through the revelations God gives us, and through our participation with Him in prayer.

Finally, we will come into a deeper understanding of our real enemies as we grow in our spiritual sensitivity. We will be able to discern the presence and activities of Satanís demonic spirits. We will be able to know our position in reigning with Christ over Satanís powers through the work of the Holy Spirit. We will be able to execute our God-given authority over Satanís spiritual forces as we learn to bind and loose (Matthew 16:19), and as we learn to declare Godís judgments to the spiritual strongholds and to others. We will know the privilege we have been given in declaring Godís truths to ourselves, to God, to others, and to the evil powers in the heavenly places. We can participate with God as He brings all things under the dominion of Christ. (Psalm 149:4-9; Psalm 110:2, 2 Corinthians 10:6)

The principles cited above represent some areas of ministry God has given us to bring people into freedom. We have more detailed information on each of them. God has provided the way, through Jesus, for COMPLETE freedom for His people. Jesus called and anointed His disciples for the ministry He had for them. We in the church have the same call--to be His disciples, and to bring others to the TOTAL freedom only He can give us. If you would like personal prayer for ministry or to have these things imparted to you, please call us.

Letís go, Church!!

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About Cyrus Ministries International

Rich and Kay Fick are the directors of Cyrus Ministries International. God has anointed and called them to this ministry. Rich, an ex-alcoholic, has personally experienced Godís love, forgiveness, power, healing and restoration. Their ministry involves helping others come out of their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical bondages into the fullness of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to know and live in Godís plan and purposes for them. They minister to individuals, equip churches for ministry, and disciple others in breaking down spiritual bondages over individuals, families, generations, communities and nations. Their calling and vision is to see Godís people living in the spiritual presence and reality of Godís heavenly kingdom as Jesus manifests His life into them and through them on earth.

The ministry has taken them to churches and groups locally and to many locations in the USA, as well as other nations. (Canada, Mexico, Ecuador, Romania, India, Israel, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and Bolivia). As they travel, Rich and Kay minister healing, train leaders, and teach and disciple, as well as establishing ongoing networking relationships. Cyrus Ministries provides oversight to ministries and churches in other nations, helping them to come into their calling and destiny. Leaders from other nations are invited to come and spend time at the Big Rock location for training and impartation.

The Big Rock Ministry Center offers a meeting place for both small and large groups.Ü There are regular times of prayer, worship, teaching, impartation of the gifts of the Spirit, and fellowship.Ü


Serving God as He Unites Heaven and Earth in Christ

     
Rich and Kay Fick, Directors, Cyrus Ministries International

MAILING ADDRESS:
P.O. Box 210
Wasco, IL  60183-0219

MEETING ADDRESS:
46 W 779 Route 30
Big Rock  Illinois 60511

E-Mail:  cyrusministries@cs.com     Webmaster:  cmi-website@sbcglobal.net

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