The Ridiculously Easy Way God Taught Me To Break Bad Habits

IMG_1354   

    There is no Scripture in the entire Bible that commands the believer to crucify the flesh. There’s nothing that tells him to die to self. There isn’t even one verse telling the Christian to fight or wrestle against his flesh. In fact, the New Testament says the exact opposite. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).

    What I’m about to tell you I have used in multiple areas of my life to curb both unhealthy, and even sinful habits.

    If you’ll follow the simple principles you read here—-even halfway—many of you will see notable change.  If you follow them completely and consistently, you will experience supernatural freedom.

    How can I be so sure? Because it’s God’s Word and God’s Word will work for anyone.

 

The Addiction

 

    For the greater part of my adult life I was addicted to soda. I don’t mean I really liked it. Or even loved it. I mean I was literally addicted to it.

    At some point I began to recognize how big of a problem this had actually become. So I decided it was time to stop.  First, I tried limiting soda to only the weekends. But that didn’t work because now, instead of drinking fifteen or twenty a week, I’d drink fifteen or twenty in two days. On top of that, I started adding Friday evenings  as part of the weekend. Then I figured if I was adding Friday, may as well throw in Monday. And as you might guess, I was soon back to all week long.

    I finally came to my senses and realized I was struggling needlessly. I remembered that the flesh isn’t something we wrestle with or try to put to death, but actually, according to the Word,  the flesh has already been crucified, and the body of sin already put to death.

And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

(Galatians 5:24)

knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

(Romans 6:6)

    Notice the tense in these passages. It isn’t something that is going to happen at some point in the future—it’s something that has happened. And it happened without any struggle or effort on our part. It’s something that happened as a result of our being in Christ.

    I knew the Word of God wouldn’t profit me unless I mixed it with faith (Heb 4:2). So I wrote down these verses and would meditate and confess them out loud multiple times a week to help insure I was exercising my faith in them.

    I’d say out loud, “Father I thank you that not only the flesh has been crucified but also the affections and lusts (that’s the part I was having issues with). Therefore I know I don’t have to desire soda anymore.”

    This went on for about six weeks with no improvement. I just kept desiring soda and kept drinking it. I’d try not to. I’d set limits just like before but I just couldn’t keep it under control.

    As a side note, this is the point where most Christians would just shrug and say, “Well, I tried that and it didn’t work.”—- I don’t believe God put a bunch of useless information in His Word. If something isn’t working, we need to figure out why instead of just rolling over for the world, the devil, or anyone else.

    So I went to God and just spoke very frankly about it. “What’s going on, here? I’ve done this in the past with other things and it’s worked. Why isn’t this working?” And He answered very plainly back, “The reason it isn’t working is because you’re not taking my Word seriously. Hebrews 2:1 says to pay the more serious attention otherwise what you’ve heard will slip away.” I looked back over recent weeks and realized He was right. I really hadn’t given it much thought. I sort of just parroted that I believed what the Word said, but really wasn’t being serious.

    Then He said something else, “You’ve also allowed yourself to begin believing that this is a mental issue. Like it’s merely the power of positive thought and that you could just will yourself out of the addiction. My Word is not the same as will power.” He was right about that too! I realized I had convinced myself on an unconscious level that I could break bad habits simply by thinking positively. Positive thinking is a good thing, but it certainly has no comparison to the power of God’s Word.

    Once I saw where I was going wrong I changed directions. I began to daily meditate in the Scriptures and take them seriously. I never tried to stop drinking soda. In fact, I drank all the soda I wanted. But one thing I was sure to do was each time I took a drink I’d confess what God’s Word said and I would meditate on the truth of it.

 

“This is Your Deliverance”

 

    Three or four days later  I was driving down the street minding my own business and suddenly I heard an audible voice speaking in another language. For a second I didn’t know where it was coming from. Then I realized it was me! The tongues were coming fast and furious with no effort of my own. It felt like a geyser had gone off on the inside of me. In my mind I said, “Lord, what is this?” And He answered, “This is your deliverance from soda.” (First World problems, I know.) Anyway after He said this I don’t really know how to describe what happened next except that I felt a physical power, or energy descend over me. Then He said, “All you have to do is say, ‘I’ll never drink soda again’ and you’ll be free.” I answered back in my mind, “Well, now wait a second. I didn’t say I never wanted to drink it again, just tone it down a little . . .”  He didn’t respond. Silence. Then that power that had come over me, I felt it beginning to lift. I realized how foolish I was being. So I quickly repented and shouted, “Okay, okay! I’ll never drink soda again!”

    And that was it. Quit cold turkey.

 

Follow Up

 

    To show you this was not the power of mind over matter, after going about 5 years without soda I became distracted, lost sight of my priorities, and stopped praying and reading the Word. Around this time I developed a desire for drinking soda again. And, like before, I tried to control it on my own, with no luck. I was back to being addicted.

    However, eventually I got back into prayer, back into the Word, and one day I realized that over the span of about a week, my soda intake began to dramatically decrease. This happened on a totally unconscious level. I wasn’t trying to stop. I wasn’t even thinking about it. It was simply a byproduct of the Word.

It Will Work For You

    Stop struggling in your own power.  Find some passages in God’s Word that deal with your situation. Write them down. Then, be purposeful and serious every day to meditate, believe, and confess them.

    You may not have the same exact experience of speaking in tongues and all that jazz that I had. And that’s okay. That only happened just that one time for me. In most of the cases that I’ve used these principles, the desire or frequency of the habit would simply just begin to wane over a short period of time until I was able to easily subdue it.

 

     

Living In Sin: An Accusation That Really Just Means, “I’m Better at Hiding My Sin Than You”

hiding

 

So I think we’ve all heard the term. It’s a label pretty closely resembling the Scarlet Letter. A sentence that gets passed upon unfortunate souls who we feel have strayed from the paths of righteousness: Living in Sin.

 

I don’t really know why more Christians are not concerned about this topic.  I mean, the claim has been that if you’re, living in sin and die that way, you’ll go to hell. Others aren’t willing to say you’ll go to hell, but they’re also not willing to say with any certainty that you won’t. Then you have some folks who will tell you that as a Christian, you can’t lose your salvation at all—-comforting, right?  I thought so too . . . Until I found out that there is a  fine print disclaimer on this one that basically says, “oh, by the way, if you sin too much, you probably never were saved to begin with . . .  So you’re going to hell anyway.”

However one wishes to pronounce, “tomato” or, “potato”, the train of thought here is:

“living in sin” = “soul in jeopardy”

So, I think it’s time we stopped giving this subject the, under the rug treatment, and got some real answers.

 

M.I.A.

 

The issue I ran into almost immediately when investigating this topic in the Bible is that some of the greatest dynasties we have erected—-doctrines that are fundamental to our Christianity, are largely Missing in Action:

For instance,

The Bible really doesn’t mention or refer to a, “Hierarchy of Sin”–where some are worse than others.

Nor is there a, “Sin-O-Meter” which measures whether or not the number of sins exceed the, “allowed daily amount” by grace.

There’s also that weird Variety thing that no one has ever spoken out loud but sounds something like, “A variety of sins here and there is fine. We all do it. But when one sin is committed in a higher frequency than all the other average sins, well then I’m afraid you’ve crossed over into, living in sin.”——- In other words, God wants diversity when it comes to your transgressions. But He frowns on a concentrated amount of any one of them.

So, apparently with this idea, you just need to make sure your vices are proportional to one another.

Then you have probably the most popular of these ideas; what I call the, “Heart Monitor.” This is where we convince ourselves that if we are sorry for our sin, or feel bad when we do it, that this is somehow different from a person who sins without feelings of remorse.

 

 

So Then —What’s The Bible Really Say?

 

 

All of these concepts are actually quite difficult to find and extract application from in the Scriptures. I mean, sure, they are kind of . . .  sort of———————– ish in there. But they are certainly not as clearly outlined as most of us have been led to believe. And they are not anywhere close to being a measurable criteria for us to live by.

No, instead, it would seem that upon searching God’s Word what we find more than anything else is simply that sin is sin—- Either you do it or you don’t.

Some may point to Scriptures that talk about, practicing sin  such as 1 John 3:9 as if this is the dividing line between believers and non believers. But then gloss over the other part of the same verse which says a born again person cannot sin—–period. Not just practice sin, but sin at all. Even if that part wasn’t in there (or you decided to avoid the versions that translate it that way), there’s another problem we run into with this. And that’s the fact that nearly every professing Christian on the planet says they sin multiple times each day. One minister I recently heard on the radio said we sin, “constantly.

Yet . . . We’re suppose to believe this does not constitute practicing sin?

 

 

 

 

. . . Anyone else beginning to feel like there’s a few loose floor boards, up in dis’ house?

 

 

Now, some will wonder if we all violate this passage that speaks about practicing sin, then what does it mean?  Why would God write such a thing to us? It’s not the subject, but God actually tells us why He said what He did—- Chapter 2 reads, “I write these things to you so that you won’t sin.”  He didn’t say, “I write these things to you so you will know whose most likely going to hell.

I talk about this passage and others like it in an FAQ I wrote on the subject of The Grace Message.

 

What’s it all About?

 

This being the case, where does the whole, living in sin, thing come from? As previously pointed out, the Hierarchy, Sin-O-Meter, Heart Monitor, and Variety doctrines are largely bunk.

 

 

My theory?

 

 

I’ve  noticed that as I progress in my Christian walk, I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding my sin——-Come on . . . You know what I mean. Us seasoned folk have learned to talk the talk and walk the walk— in front of the right people.  In other words, sin tends to go underground and undercover over the life span of the average believer. We get so good at playing the game that we can be overly critical, judgmental, lustful, hateful and selfish—— inwardly, without skipping a beat (or should I say a, “Hallelujah”?) outwardly. As we become experts in this field, it seems we also become more aware of those who aren’t. 1 Corinthians mentions folks who compare themselves with and among themselves.  So if you think about it, the only way the, “living in sin” thing really works is if we compare ourselves with another human being.  I mean, we’ve already admitted to sinning, “constantly” and on a daily basis, so we certainly can’t compare ourselves to Christ and come away feeling like we’re not living in sin, can we? At least not without a couple hundred theological jumping jacks.

But when comparing ourselves to one another, it inevitably creates a lesser-of-two-evils type scenario. Then those who sin different from us, and aren’t quite the pros at hiding it that we are, will stand out. And let’s face it, there is a part of us that enjoys pointing these folks out. Just like looking at someone who is fatter than you (yes, I’m going there) makes you rationalize how fat you are, so this makes you feel better about your sin.

. . . I know, I know— it can be pretty disturbing when unconscious thoughts are put into words.

 

I have a knack for it!

superman

 

But, in all seriousness, I have a feeling the Holy Ghost has been dealing with a lot of us about this. Maybe finally hearing it out loud will cause us to think twice before accusing others of what we ourselves are still guilty of on a, “daily” and, “constant” basis.