Breaking the Bad Habit Cycle
Bad habits. Do you think you have one? Or do others complain of you having some?
Most people try to eliminate bad habits by using their willpower. However, to be free of bad habits, cravings, and addictions permanently, you need more. You need God’s help.
Unfortunately, the majority of people in this world are not yielded to God and His ways. In this world, one’s appetite is the ruling force. This can take on a variety of forms. An intense appetite for sex becomes lust. An insatiable desire for food or power leads to greed. And the list goes on and on, with the spirit of selfishness being the root cause behind them all.
We know what selfishness means, and we can usually spot it in others (but often not in ourselves). However, selfishness is defined as being devoted to or concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself, pleasure, advantage, desires, feelings, etc., regardless of others. Such self-devotion is the parent of self-centeredness, which promotes the continued choices that lead to habits that ultimately lead to obsession. By that time, the individual is so heavily enslaved to his or her cravings that he or she is addicted to satisfying “the desire” and will do so—at any cost and anywhere! This is also the point where a person can’t find the brakes for ending destructive behavior.
We may feel sorry for the person who seemingly has totally “lost it.” However, to be governed by one’s carnal desires is a mind-set that opposes the Word of God.
The Word of God came to us on our level as Jesus, yet the law of sin and death continues to operate in the earth. Romans 8:6 says, “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” Those who habitually fix their minds on carnal or fleshly desires set into motion the vicious cycle of addiction.
However, there is an alternative! According to Romans 8:2, the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus makes us free from the law of sin and death. Also, those who set their minds on the Kingdom of God pursue spiritual things. And although fleshly desires profit nothing (John 6:63), yielding instead to the leading of God’s Spirit produces life and life in abundance—which is truly living.
Now, there are some practical steps one can take to aid the process of deliverance. Remember, faith without works is dead. For starters, realize you are what you think (Proverbs 23:7). Ask yourself, “How did the thought pattern begin that led to the addictive behavior or habit?” Was it framed by people whom you spend time with? Was it fed by words and images you were exposed to? More importantly, you have the power to change all of the above!
Finally, your mind must be renewed by reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word of God—daily! You are the only one who can renew your mind; no one else will or can do it for you. To continue operating according to old thought patterns will only hinder your ability to overcome old behavior. Refuse the devil’s lies that you are stuck, and that there is no way out. With God’s help, you can put off the old man (your old thought life with its corresponding habits), and you can put on the new man (your new way of thinking, which is based upon God’s Word) and along with it, an abiding victory over all that has ever held you in bondage!