Freedom That Lasts is a Christ-centered, Bible-based, local-church-focused discipleship ministry to those enslaved in life-dominating sins or overcome by hurtful events of life. If your church is considering starting an addiction ministry, FTL may be a good option for you. Developed by Jim & Pat Berg, FTL’s philosophy is built upon three convictions.
ADDICTIONS BEGIN WITH CHOICES
While Freedom That Lasts® recognizes that there are snowballing physical consequences for using drugs and alcohol, we believe that every addiction and life-dominating sin begins with choices – not a disease. These choices issue from a heart that turns to something in the creation – a substance, a behavior, another person, etc. – as a way to make life work apart from God.
We recognize that difficult – and often hurtful – circumstances can easily tempt a person to turn to substances, behaviors, and people for relief and deliverance. But when a person tries to face temptations and overwhelming events without putting God at the center of life, he is making a choice with predictable results.
Scripture makes it clear that if an individual is addicted to a life-dominating sin or a stubborn habit, if he experiences no conviction from God about his choices, and if he experiences no chastening from God while he persists, that individual needs to seriously question whether he has come to Christ in saving faith. Jesus said that he rebukes and chastens those who are His children (Revelation 3:19; 1 John 3:2-10).
GOD’S “RECOVERY” PROGRAM IS SANCTIFICATION
The biblical path to freedom from the power of sin in the believer’s life is through sanctification. Bible teachers through the years have expressed the main components in the sanctification process in terms similar to the following:
Sanctification is that process whereby the Spirit of God uses the Word of God to make the people of God like the Son of God amidst the circumstances they face in the providence of God.
This statement captures the elements necessary in any discipleship ministry if lasting change is to take place. Students will not see any God-honoring, lasting change until they first become children of God. Once in the family they can begin the process of taking on the likeness of Jesus Christ in their character.
The biblical means of expediting that process is through the discipleship efforts of the Christian family and of the members and ministries of the local church. A Christ-centered addiction program will see its ministry to addicts primarily as a discipleship ministry. The individual in bondage to a life-dominating sin needs to come to Christ for salvation and then be discipled into a maturing walk in the Spirit in obedience to the Word of God. This is God’s plan for freedom that lasts; God’s “recovery” program is sanctification.
The finished work of Christ – His death, burial, and resurrection – is the groundwork for salvation and for all biblical change. The curriculum and teaching found in the Freedom That Lasts® program will emphasize this groundwork and its implications for understanding and applying the key elements in the sanctification statement above.
GOD’S “SUPPORT GROUP” IS THE LOCAL CHURCH
God intended for His people to find teaching, mutual support, and accountability within biblically sound local assemblies. Straying sheep are easy prey for wolves, and a believer who is not united in community with other believers under the preaching of God’s Word and experiencing the comfort and accountability of fellow believers will not last long in his efforts to overcome his life-dominating sins, stubborn habits, and overwhelming hurts. God’s “support group” is the local church. There is no God-honoring alternative.
For more information, check out the website of Freedom That Lasts.