“They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are slave to whatever controls you.” (2 Peter 2:19)
“The thief’s’ purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (John 10:10)
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)
Many people are addicted.
– Video games
– Work, etc.
I want to look at how to break free from a destructive habit or behavior.
No matter what the habit might be – the steps are all the same.
I want to give you my biblical steps.
When we break a habit, there is usually a spiritual part, a physical part and an emotional part.
Today we will be dealing with the emotional and spiritual part.
I would like to use an acronym to help us remember:
B – Begin Today
Not tomorrow, next week, next month.
Have you noticed – there are more people going on a diet tomorrow than today?
“Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then.” (Proverbs 24:1, GN)
Stop saying one of these days.
Stop postponing, procrastinating.
It is going to be harder to change tomorrow that it is today, because delay always makes a problem worse.
“If you wait for the perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4, LB)
Remember, the person who really wants to change will find a way with God’s help!
The person who does not want to change, will keep on finding excuses.
R – Refuse to blame others.
This problem is a sold as Adam and Eve.
We will never get better until we accept personal responsibility.
I have to admit it is my problem.
“Some people ruin themselves by their own stupid actions and then blame the Lord.” (Proverbs 19:3, GN)
We can blame our parents, our spouse, our teacher, our children, the devil, God.
But in order to BREAK FREE I have to assume responsibility for my life.
E – Examine my life
We need to take personal inventory continually.
We need to do an internal audit.
We need to ask ourselves questions like:
– What are my weaknesses?
– How long have I had this problem?
– Where am I tempted most?
– What are my fears?
– What are my frustrations?
We need to daily evaluate our life before God.
“Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:40, NLT)
To change I need to stop pretending. I cannot cover my faults.
Hiding a hurt only intensifies it and makes it worse.
Denial prevents healing.
“My dishonesty made me miserable and filled my days with frustration… until I finally admitted my sins and stopped trying to hide them… and God forgave me! All my guilt is gone!” (Psalm 32:4-5, LB)
We need to do this continual evaluation of ourselves.
Healthy people are always evaluating themselves.
– Am I sleeping?
– Am I making it?
– Where am I getting off course?
Let us be honest with God and self.
A – Ask Christ to take over your life.
He is always waiting to help.
We need someone greater than ourselves to help us change.
We cannot change on our own power!
It is not mind over matter!
It is not just a positive confession!
“Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, … So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” (Romans 6:12-13, NLB)
What the Bible says is that the solution to our addiction is to ultimately choose the right master!
Every day we are controlled by someone or something:
– Other people
– Others time schedules
– Food, etc.
We have to serve somebody or something – why not choose the right master?
This is where freedom comes!
Instead of having others control my life – I am going to choose God to control my life.
Often we only want to give God the problem – but He cannot help us that way.
“If you want me to work on the problem – you have to give me every area of your life.”
When we turn the management of our life over to God this will produce incredible power to change.
Why don’t more people do it?
Because we are afraid to miss out on the fun, so we think – freedom and we think we will become fanatics!
Jesus has some to give us like not just BIO life but ZOE, quality life.
– We matter to God
– He has a good plan for us
– He wants us to experience joy!
Relax – allow Him to take control of your life.
K – Keep away from temptation
This is just plain sense.
If you do not want to get stung by the bees – stay away from them.
Avoid situations where you are tempted.
“Don’t give any chances to the flash to have its fling.” (Romans 13:14, Ph)
If I have a problem with alcohol – then I am careful who I am with.
I try t stay away from it.
I will stay away from things that will cause me to fall.
Plan careful what you do and avoid evil or shady circumstances.
The key to overcoming any temptations is to think in advance!
F – Focus on something better
“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)
“Be careful how you think your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Proverbs 4:23, GN)
The spiritual battle for sin is fought in the minds.
If I want to change my life, it starts with my heart, my thoughts, mu emotions.
Therefore we need to learn to re-focus our attention.
The key to turn our mind is to focus on something better. SWITCH CHANNELS.
“Fill your mind with things that are good and deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, honorable.” (Philippians 4:8, GN)
This is the principle of replacement – replace the bad with the good.
The car petrol tank is never empty – it is filled with either petrol or air.
We may think our mind is empty – bad thoughts will never just go away until replaced with good thoughts.
This is why Paul says to the Romans:
“be transformed by the renewing of our mind.”
R – Restore broken relationships
Why is it important?
Because anything that is out of control in my life is hurting somebody else.
When we have addictions we manipulate other people to fulfill those addictions.
Go to those people you have hurt and restore those relationships.
It may take some time, but you take the initiative.
“As far as your responsibility goes – live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18, Ph)
Make a list of people that your habit has harmed and to those people and you ask forgiveness – offer restitution where possible.
Why? A clear conscience is essential for change.
E – Enlist a support group
We all need support.
“Two are better than one… “ (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, GN)
We all need friend who will pray for us. Care for us. Encourage us. Keep us on track.
“Confess your other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (James 5:16)
This is the price of freedom.
Learn to live a life that is transparent before people.
This is one of the purposes of the Church – to be of support and encouragement.
E – Extend myself to others.
“Christ helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others in trouble, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:4, GN)
God wants to take our greatest weakness, the area we are ashamed of and we do not want anybody to know about, and He wants it to make it our ministry.
God never wastes a hurt.
We will be helping others with the same problem.
There is nothing more fulfilling than knowing that God is using us to help others.
“My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, those of you who are spiritual should set him right; but you must do it in a gentle way. And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted too. Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2, GN)
If we want to be like Christ, loving and kind, then we must carry each other’s burdens.
We have read the Scriptures from the apostle Peter at the beginning:
“For a man is a slave of anything that has conquered him/her.”
What has conquered you?
What are you a slave of?
Let Jesus get you free and choose Him as your Master!