What kind of bad habits do you struggle with? Most people think that when they come to Christ that their bad habits will magically disappear. And some church people act like if you have any bad habits in your life that you must not truly be saved, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Christians or not, we are all people, and people make mistakes. People have bad habits.
If you are anything like me, you have poured your heart out in counseling sessions with your church leaders, stood in prayer lines, repented and vowed to do better. And still found yourself giving into that temptation the next time it presented itself, leaving you asking, “What’s wrong with me?”
Nothing. There is nothing wrong with you. The very fact that you are concerned about it is a good sign. It’s the people who won’t admit they have a problem that should worry.
Everyone, at one time or another, struggles with some type of bad habit or addiction. Maybe it’s shopping too much, smoking, drinking alcohol, pornography, coffee, sweets, etc. People don’t want others to know about their problems, so they hide them in the closet, hoping that no one will ever find out about their secret. When a problem is hidden in the dark, it will continue to haunt you. But once it is brought into the light, that is when you will be able to overcome it.
A bad habit or addiction is anything that robs you of your time with God, that you feel that you must hide, that hurts your health or the health of others or is against the Word of God.
It is important that we guard what we are feeding the gates of our heart–our eyes, ears and mouth. Looking at pornographic magazines or watching R-rated movies causes those images to enter our eye gates, and once there, our minds store those images for safe keeping. Then at the most awkward moments, it will replay those images. Maybe in your dreams, when you are praising God at church or when you are kissing your girlfriend.
Perhaps you don’t watch anything objectionable. Instead your vice of choice is heavy-metal or rap music that talk about killing cops and degrading women. At first, you may just think the music has a nice beat, but after awhile, even though, you are not consciously listening to the lyrics, those words–the ones about murder, drugs and sex–will seep into your subconscious. You will find yourself getting into trouble because you have a shorter fuse than you used to. You will blur the line between right and wrong. You won’t remember why having sex without a marriage license is sinful, why stealing and lying are immoral. All because you didn’t guard what you let through your eye and ear gates.
How do you overcome the bad habits and addictions in your life?
1. Repent. I John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we didn’t struggle with problems in life, there would be no reason to repent. However, we do, so we must ask God to forgive us for our wrongdoings. He is a gracious God who promises to forgive us when we repent. The mistake most of us make is in hiding our sin from God. Somehow we think that we can hide it from the One who sees all and knows all. Run to God when you slip in your recovery. Run to Him when you sin because He is on your side. He is not sitting up in Heaven, waiting to pounce on you anytime you make a mistake. That is not who He is. God is love not hate.
2. Ask God For Help. In II Corinthians 12:9, God tell us “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Think about that for a moment. In our times of weakness, we can count on God to be strong for us. If we team up with God, we can conquer anything. Romans 8:37 promises that “we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”
Philippians 4:13 states that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Never be afraid to ask God for help because without Him, beating a bad habit is like digging yourself out of the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It’s an uphill battle.
3. Make A Decision. I will–when said together, those two words can be the strongest words in the English language. Why? Because they denote choice. Even in the Garden of Eden, we find humans making their own choices. Eve could have chose not to talk to the serpent. She could have decided not to eat the fruit. Adam could have refused the fruit when Eve offered it to him.
Every day we make choices. Will I have the soup or the salad? Will I cheat at golf? Will I give back the extra change the cashier gave me? Every day we make up our minds to do the right thing or to do the wrong thing. But when faced with a choice, humans usually choose the wrong thing because it is easier to give into temptations than to say “no.”
So, we must train ourselves to choose the right option. Whenever you have to choose between right and wrong, take a moment and determine which is the wrong option and which is the right. If you don’t know, ask yourself what would happen if you picked a certain option. If it would result in someone being hurt or in something that is contrary to God’s Word, it is the wrong choice.
4. Find Someone To Talk To. James 5:16 advises us to “Confess your faults one to another that ye may be healed...” As I said before, when we leave things in the dark, they continue to have a hold over us. In order to stop this cycle, we must find someone to confess our habits and addictions to. Once it is out in the open, then you will begin to heal in that area of your life. Make sure to find someone you can trust to talk to. You don’t want your sins to be broadcast all over your church, your neighborhood or your school. Instead go to your minister, youth pastor, parents, school counselor or a close friend.
Expose your bad habits and addictions to God’s light, and you will be amazed at how quickly they will crumble under the heat.