Denial Is Not a River in Egypt – Reflections on Principle 1 of Celebrate Recovery

by Bill Peters

Principle 1 of Celebrate Recovery –
Realize I’m not God: I admit that I am powerless to control my tendency to do the wrong thing and my life is unmanageable.
“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor.” Matthew 5:3

Then Samuel said, Do you think all God wants are sacrifices — empty rituals just for show? He wants you to listen to him! Plain listening is the thing, not staging a lavish religious production. Not doing what God tells you is far worse than fooling around in the occult. Getting self-important around God is far worse than making deals with your dead ancestors. Because you said No to God’s command, he says No to your kingship.
1 Samuel 15:22-23

Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Mark Twain

Mark Twain was not confused about the Mississippi River nor the Denial River. Some folks, I know, live on the Denial River and it is not in Egypt. They live in a houseboat and I have lived with them for a time myself. On the Denial River, one cannot admit he or she has a hurt, a habit or a hangup that has captured their lives and keeps them from living full, free and happy in the Lord. Some have unforgiveness because of a broken relationship or because they have been abused as a child. Some have hidden anger that controls their life at times. Some need to make amends because they have wronged someone and hurt them deeply. Some want to control a husband or wife or an adult child by guilt or some other ploy. Some seem to have a problem managing money and they spend it when they don’t got it. Some have an addiction or issue with food. Then there are addicts of drugs, alcohol, and pornography. Everyone should know that there is no one perfect if they study God’s word as all fall short of God’s ways. But the problem is that we often fear admitting our hurt, habit or hangup to others and we lie and deny that it exists. Thus, one sin can become two if sin is denied.

King Saul had several flaws in his life that he would not admit. One hangup was that of anger fueled by jealousy of David and he tried to kill him. Another basic flaw, a hangup, a sin that festered beneath the surface, within his heart was plain disobedience to God and having things his way. It was prideful rebellion against God. Something exists like this in every man but for Saul he chose careless neglect of God’s word in his life. He had been commanded not to take any of the spoils of war from the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3). But after a decisive victory, he let the Israelites keep the best of the livestock for themselves (1 Sam 15:9).

When the prophet Samuel confronted the king, Saul rationalized that he had kept the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to God. But this was sinful pride and lying, which had developed into defiance of God, even though he claimed to serve God. The remedy for rebellion is humility, openness and truthfulness in surrendering to God. Like Saul, I have found myself rationalizing away my sin at times. Only when I have come to my senses and admitted my weakness in sin, made a 180 degree turn, and acknowleged my need for God in my life can I begin recovery to a life of happiness and wholeness in Jesus.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *