Thursday, July 1, 2010

How can the flesh conquer the flesh?

I would like to share an email I got from a neat blog friend {I have her permission}.  The email, as well as my response, speak for themselves. To God be ALL the glory.
"When you began writing about psychology and psychiatry I was interested AND see, I had received a referral for *** (4 yrs. old, adopted from **** at age 21 mos) to see a child psychiatrist...I have been praying and praying about whether or not to cancel altogether after reading your stuff and asked God to give me discernment..You see, I don't believe that this lady can heal ***. I know God is the true healer, but just like doctors have some abilities to help heal, I believe that there are people who have counseling abilities who can give us tools to help us. That is what I am looking for me and tools for ***
The reason for the referral is "eating disorder". *** is obsessed with food. OBSESSED. We have had seasons since his adoption where it wasn't as intense but whenever there is stress in his life...he goes overboard.  *** was eating food behind my back, hiding the evidence and then I discovered that he was also eating NON food things and it broke my heart..I have done EVERYTHING I know to do to help him not see food as see it as fuel for his body. Everytime he asks for more and I say no, he is putting up another brick in the wall of his heart b/c he sees me as withholding LOVE from him and everytime he pushes me away, I put another brick in my wall to keep him from hurting me or rejecting me any it was also an attachment problem.  I have read all the books. I just didn't know what to do.  I tried the social worker's advice, literally letting HIM be in control and eating whenever he wanted. He ate until he threw up.
Perhaps I gave up too soon...I am only looking for tools..and then...this week...his therapist gave me a referral to some big wig an hour away. This person has studied under all the big names in attachment therapy..nancy thomas, gregory keck, deborah gray...and ask I read her resume I began to feel like, wow, maybe this will help...and then I read about her methods and how she also proudly studied under some Indian Shaman and my stomach just fell....they use hypnosis, meditation, yoga and "spiritual guidance" as part of their methods. Um. NO THANKS! I don't think I want that kind of spiritual guidance!!
I just don't know what to do. I do believe God will show me the way, I just wanted you to know. I so badly want my son to learn to trust us, but more, to trust God and his provision."
What the Lord spoke to me for this friend and her son {it was amazing how the Spirit took over as I was writing this email:
First and foremost, I want you to know how humbly blessed I am that have shared your heart with me.  I can not imagine "fighting this battle" alone {the Lord stands with you}.  I am going to being to pray for you first, that the Lord will fill you with "ALL wisdom and understanding."

As for your son, he is in bondage to food, God calls it gluttony.  Your son's god is his stomach--God calls that idolatry.  What he needs is freedom--freedom through Christ.  Psychology, man's wisdom, a workbook, etc. will never break the chains that are binding your son. His flesh {sin} is his current master. This morning, after a sweet, sweet time with the Lord, I was ministered to by these all important words of Andrew Murray--and now I know they were for YOU.  He said,
"people have tried in the power of the flesh to conquer the flesh-a wholly impossible thing.  They have endeavored by Beelzabub to cast our Beelzabub-and this will never happen.  It is JESUS ALONE who will subdue the flesh and the devil." By you taking your son to a child psychologist, you are attempting to conquer his flesh {sin} with sinful practices.  This is satan's delight because he knows, as Andrew Murray said, "this {the conquering of the flesh} through fleshly means is wholly impossible.  And your son will continue to be held in the clutches of the evil one. I will say it again and again, satan is NO respecter of age--he will torment even the youngest of children.  It makes me angry, it makes me want to fight.  And fighting is what we need to do, but we MUST do it on our KNEES!  In prayer, fasting and speaking the Word into our children's minds--until it becomes their delight!
Mama, you are the only one who can "stand in the gap" for *** {not a psychologist}.
Lay down the "law" with your son.  Let him know what you expect of him.  And if he chooses not to obey, he is rebelling against your authority and will need discipline.  A verse we have posted in our house is, "the good you know you ought to do and you don't, it's sin {James 4:17}."  If your son knows the good he is supposed to do, and he chooses his own way {following after his flesh} then he has sinned.

Mama, please know that I am praying for you.  This is a spiritual battle.  *** needs the freedom that only Jesus Christ can provide.  He is the only one who can "set the captives free." Get on your knees and wage war my friend.  
Stand in the gap and fight for your sons soul.  Fight for his freedom. Fight for the  chains of bondage to be loosed.  God could miraculously do this over night, or it may take years of battle, but do not loose heart!  Like I mentioned in my blog post, I walked around in the chains of bondage for years--and it was not until the Lord revealed my sin that I found true and lasting freedom.  May the Lord open *** heart and mind at a young age, to see and understand his sin and give his life to the One who died in his stead so that he will no longer have to live in chains."
Before sending this response {which is not in its entirety}, I asked the Lord to speak wisdom and knowledge into this mama, for the sake of her son.  This is the response I got,
"I cancelled the remaining appointments. I feel at peace but there will be great opposition from extended family members. (sigh) Thanking Jesus for the full armor of God.  Weary but not powerless, struck down but not destroyed!"


Susan A said...

If the mama is reading comments ~ if she has been pondering on how to go about this with her child, here is something that I probably would do if I had children myself:

1. be sad with your child when he is overeating and explain to him why it is not good for the body.

2. let your child know that you love him very much and that you understand that he is finding it hard to eat normally because we all have troubles with sin which makes it hard for us to be free to do the right thing that our Saviour created us for.

3. let your child know that we will always have trouble with our flesh, and that is why our Saviour has come to do away with us, we see this when we see the Cross, He has raised from the dead and defeated sin, and our new life is in Him.

4. when we have invited our Saviour in our hearts and knowing that we can't but He can, we can pray and ask Him to help us, and He will.


I guess perhaps just explaining the above again and again whenever a child is rebelling and doing wrong things... will help them to be aware of when exactly they are rebelling and start to look onto our Saviour for help, and ask Him into their lives.

Then when the child accepts His work for him, then you have a prayer partner where you can encourage the child to pray with you to ask Him for His assistance in our troubles:

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Mat 18:19,20)

I hope what I shared is ok, it is kind of practical thing that I'd have done if I have children... hope that is helpful in some way, everyone has different, biblical ways to go about it, I guess it depends on the Spirit's help and wisdom at that particular time.

May He give you wisdom on what to do, and bless you abundantly as you seek His counsel alone for this. :)

A family being transformed said...

Susan A,

I am sure my friend will read the comments. Thanks for your insight.

Yes, I know that this mama loves her son and wants the best for him. She affirms her love to him through discipline and affection {the two must go hand in hand}.

I believe it is very important to teach our children the devastating effects of sin {"the wages of sin is death} at a young age. Often times, instilling a healthy fear of God and fear of rebelliousness is left out of parenting, which places the child in grave danger.

Although we will always battle the flesh, victory is ours in Christ. Sin does NOT have to have master over us. It is a daily choice to dwell on the things of the Lord {His truth and His righteousness}.

I also find it to be of great importance to PRAY with our little ones--"without ceasing." Throughout the day, in all circumstances.

Thanks again Susan. Blessings

A family being transformed said...

Oops, I wanted to add. I mention the "law" as Gods Word says that the law was important--showing us our sin and need for a Savior.

Read Romans!!!

The Bentley's said...

Thanks for writing that. I am going to keep this wisdom/advice so I can remind myself of this when it comes along. I love that all the resources we need are from God! Praying for that mom, you are doing the right thing!!

Are These Kids All Yours? said...

Love this post!!! Thank you!

A family being transformed said...

Susan A,

I would love to know more about you :-) Feel free to email me some time!

Susan A said...

hi Summer,

I hope you don't mind me asking questions about training children His way... about three weeks ago, my brother (who has 5 children) and I were talking about this (he doesn't know about your blog and I haven't told him about it, and for your information, he used to be an assoicate pastor (and studied in bible school for counselling) so he is involved in church related things).

What he usually does with his children, is if they were being rebellious, to just correct them and say nothing, not bringing up the Bible, until later on when they were feeling calm, neutral and happy, to have bed time bible stories which gives him the opportunity to talk about issues relating to their earlier behaviour, in a way that they do not feel threatened, and in a way that they were able to open up and ask questions about it, and so on... giving him the opportunity to share His word. He said if the child was being rebellious right there and then, bring up bible verses that condemns this kind of thing, would just make them even more rebellious and harden their hearts towards our Saviour, since they were in no mood to listen.

So I was interested to see your reply about:

instilling a healthy fear of God and fear of rebelliousness is left out of parenting, which places the child in grave danger.

Perhaps there are certain children who will do well listening and accepting His word on the spot during their rebellious behaviour, but there may be certain others which will be completely turned off and harden their hearts.

Perhaps it is different for each child, and the parent needs to ask for wisdom on how to go about it?

A family being transformed said...

Susan A,

Thanks for your questions.

The most important thing we must do is look to Jesus and the Word of God for our example! How does Jesus discipline us, His children, and what does the Word have to say about discipline?

"The rod and reproof bring wisdom." Proverbs 29:15

The ROD and REPROOF. The rod shows the child that sin is harmful and the reproof teaches them how they have rebelled against God's standard--it seems, from this verse in Proverbs, that both are a necessary part of discipline.

The entire book of Proverb has beautiful pieces of wisdom, that when woven together, form a tapestry of how parents are to train and discipline their children.

I do not believe that your brother has scripture to back up his "philosophy" of not sharing God's word at the same time as using the rod. I would be curious to know. Maybe he learned this in a "counseling" course?

Going back to the book of Proverbs, we read over and over again about teaching our children to fear God--"to fear God is the beginning of wisdom." And to "hate evil."

I encourage you to do a study of the first five or six chapters of Proverbs.

Blessings as you study God's word--not just a hearer of the Word but a doer too.


A family being transformed said...

It is interesting to note that the Bible does condemn sinful behavior.

A family being transformed said...

Oops, I am a distracted mama with 12 little one asking me 100 questions.

Please know I was not speaking ill against your brother--I am just curious what scriptures he uses to build his philosophy of discipline. If this is what he finds useful to discipline/train his children, that is between he and the Lord.

Susan A said...

hi Summer,
no worries about being distracted with 12 children asking hundreds of questions :)

I understand what you mean... just recently I've learnt something which I thought might be applied in the discipline and rearing of children, a different view on it, but Messiah-centred.

For example, the law only condemns. It shows us the right way, but it condemns us if we try to follow it with our strength, because of the sin that is in us, we rebel against His law (Paul said that the law is good, spiritual, and holy... we are not).

So the problem is not with the law, but with US. Our struggle against the law, His wisdom, in so many ways.

That is why the Son came, He said He did not come to condemn, but that through Him we might be saved. Teaching the law and expecting us to follow it in our strength only leads us to failure. If we were able to keep the law, we would not need the Son!

Does that mean we cast away the law? Paul says "by no means! we establish the law"... the key is to recognise that the law is good, holy, just, and our sinful state when we rebel against it, as the law points to our need of our Saviour.

I guess... to teach His ways (e.g. wisdom in Proverbs) to children, at the same time, if they rebel, say sadly, the reason why you're rebelling is because of the sin that is in you, which is in ALL of us... we need to acknowledge this, and look at Messiah on the cross, He did away with us... He knows about this sin in us, and that is why the Father doesn't accept us, the Father accepts only the Son, because He is sinless and perfect, only He Himself can do this, this is why the Father sent Him to us... we need to acknowledge3 our sin and rely on Him and ask Him to help us, ask Him to help us to love His teachings, His ways, His laws, and He says He will send His Spirit to us so that we may be able to do it... keep His laws out of love, the love that His Spirit brings.

Hope this kind of makes sense? Just something that I've learnt recently, food for thought. :)

Susan A said...

hi Summer, I hope you don't mind me adding... just more food for thought which I thought of last night :) in case someone might find it useful.

Receiving His Spirit to be able to love Him (this results in obeying His commandments out of love, not compulsion) is a bit like what happened to you when you shared about yourself being unable to get out of the grips of anoriexia... it wasn't until our Saviour actually spoke to you that you were set free. Our children, everyone, needs to meet Him personally, like you did, when they realise they can't keep His laws, and admit their sinful state... which is what He is asking us to recognise, and He *WILL* set them/us free.

2Co 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

No matter how hard we try to obey Him from our power and strength, even if our minds LOVE his commandments and laws, sooner or later our sinful self rebels (grumbling, bitter with others, and so on). We just need to continually admit that sin is in our members as we continually look at His work on the cross, and ask Him to come personally and help, His word, His guidance, for only He is able to tackle this. He alone is the resource we need.

Christine said...

Nice to meet you. Thanks for leaving comments on my blog. Blessings. I look forward to reading more.