The Message of Faith
Codependency: What Is It?
A Simple Definition of Codependency:
To depend on someone for something that we have no right to expect from them.
A codependent life style is a miserable, fearful, life. From never feeling secure, to the need to always be in control, the extremes of codependency fuel the chaos and pain in our lives.
The Children of the Devil
John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!
The Fall of Man
3 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Genesis 1-2 recorded what God said; now the serpent (the devil, Rev. 20:2) spoke. The word of the Lord brought life and order; the word of the serpent brought chaos and death. Truth is older than falsehood; God’s word came before Satan’s lies.
THE MESSAGE OF FAITH
One of the greatest potential messages to come down through the gospel highway in years, has been the message of faith. Like anything with great potential for good, there is also great potential for harm when this message falls into the domain of the codependent leader. No matter how great the truth, the codependent will always manipulate the message for personal validation.
When I first began to hear the faith message, it was as pure as the driven snow. For the first time, I heard people preach many things I had believed and preached. It was such a confirmation. In the beginning there was much emphasis on the finished work of Jesus, faith, righteousness, and the goodness of God.
Like everymovement, though, the followers don’t have the heart of the leaders. Codependency crept in, and in less than a decade, a message that has so much potential to heal, began tobring forth its potential harm. Like every good thing, the potential for detraction (deminish, lessen, reduce) is present at its conception.
The first trouble was the apparent lack of emphasis on a relationship with Jesus. Obviously, many of the original leaders had strong, meaningful relationships with the Lord that empowered their faith. True to form, however, as the codependent followers assimilated the message of faith they left out the relationship with God and kept the formulas. Before long, them emphasis on God and His faithfulness had been pushed aside for the message of how much man had to do to get God to respond. It had become man-centered.
The message of faith has very subtly changed from our reponse of trust to what God has done, to how we can get God to respond by what we can do. The man-centered message of works crept in, and perverted the message, and robbed it of its power. What once glorified God, now glorified the faith of man.
The very first foundation of the faith is “repentance from dead works.” Hebrews 6:1. The dead works he mentioned is not all of the sinful things he did before he got saved. It was all of the religious things he did to earn God’s approval. Under the law, man did things to try to get God to respond. Under the New Covenant, God did everything in Jesus. He now gives us the opportunity to respond to what he has done. Faith is a response of trust.
Unbelief responds by de-emphasizing what God has done and placing the burden to preform back on man. It places man at the center. Otherwise, the codependent would have to trust God and His integrity.
By the message of faith being twisted to what we must do to get God to respond, we come up with all manner of wrong questions.
1. How much faith does it take to get God to move?
2. How can I make my faith stronger?
3. How long do I have to believe?
4. Why isn’t God doing anything?
5. Is sin blocking my faith?
In all of Jesus’ teachings about faith, He never emphasised how much it took, as much as He emphasised how little it took. Our problem with God is rarely a lack of faith, as much as it is the abundance of unbelief. Every man and woman has a measure of faith. We believed God for the greatest miracle that would ever happen with infant faith; we got born again. God changed our very nature. There is no miracle any greater. Why should anything else require more faith?
In some circles, the proof that you had faith became the amount of “stuff” you had. If you had a lot of stuff, you must obviously have a lot of faith. Getting the stuff, so you could prove you had the faith, became more important than knowing and serving God. For many, what had originally been presented as trusting and walking with God, became an attempt toget a lot of “stuff” so you wouldn’t need God. Security came when a person was convinced he had enough faith to get all the “stuff” he wanted.
Once again, codependent people twisted truth and de-emhasized a meaningful relationship with God. Security was found in the amount of faith one could prove that one had. The codependent heart will pervert and twist any message away from God, to a place of dependency on other things.
With this twist, the standard answer for every problem simply became, “You don’t have enough faith.” Once again the emphasis was placed on what you don’t have in Jesus, instead of what you do have. Man was once again made to be incomplete and inadequate.
Remember, one of the basic goals of the codependent if control. When he is in control, he feels secure. Therefore, the codependent leader always seeks to disempower others. If others can somehow be convinced of their lack, then they will need the codependent leader. He will be in control and he will be secure. All of this will be justified by the legitimate needs that exist in the people.
The man of faith would approach those needs with an emphasis on your ability to handle and solve the problems because of Christ in you. While he would lovingly point out the problem, he would not tell you that you were not righteous or that your faith is insufficient.
Like Paul, he would tell you to “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Eph 4:1
Or as Peter said: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives.” 2 Peter 3:11.
Even when Paul wrote to the Corinthian church and rebuked them for their apparent carnality, he reminded them of their righteousness. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Cor. 1:30.
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 2 Cor. 6:14
The man of faith would never move you to take your eyes off Jesus and His finished work. He would deire that you trust in and depend on the power of God. The codependent would always have you take your eyes off Jesus and look, instead, to your need, and ultimatley to him as the one who will help you meet your need.
I have found that it does not matter what the message is. The codependent will pervert it into something that gives him control. In the early 60 & 70’s, as people were baptisized in the Holy Spirit and leaving the denominational churches, there was the realization that people needed to be discipled. This is a truth. The Bible tells us to make disciples of all men.
Regardless of the sincerity of those early leaders, this movement ended up totally revolving around control. What started out as people being discipled unto Jesus, became people being disciples of other people. The grace of God working in our heart gave way to the power of men working on our mind. For the carnal, insecure leader, this became the justification to control. One man would make another man godly by discipling him. How utterly codependent.
The same thing has happened with the prophecy movement. What started out as an attempt to restore a precious gift to the body of Christ, became a method to control and dominate the lives of people. When a church member does anything that displeases leadership, that displeasure can always be expressed as a word from the Lord. The New Testament believers then begins to consult the prophet instead of consulting God.
The codependent tries to turn every great phenomenon into something that every person should do. If you are not involved in what I am involved in, you’re going tomiss the last great move of God. Or, if you don’t do what I’m doing, you are in rebellion to God. The codependent insists that everyone have all of the same experiences that he has. This validates him and his experience. Think of it, Jesus never had a movement. He ministered to every person differently. It never happened the same way twice. There wasn’t a “spit in the mud and rub on you sickness” movement. There wasn’t a “wash in the pool movement.”
Jesus ministered to every person individually. He yielded to the Holy Spirit as He led Him to minister in specific ways. Jesus was not committed to a method. He was committed to God and to people. He didn’t need for everyone to approve of His method. His validation came from His relationship with the Father, not from the approval of man or the size of the crowd.
“Faith works by love.” The real man of faith is established in the love of God. His roots go deep into the soil of love. His confidence is not in how much faith he has, but in how much love God has. He knows that God is good and that He is faithful. He knows that trusting God’s love is the key. As Paul prayed in Ephesians: 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
1. Being filled with the fullness of God is a matter of faith.
2. Not a matter of how much faith one has, but a matter of what he has faith in.
3. Faith in the love of God causes us to be filled with the fullness of God.
Isa 61:1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;