Everyone has habits, both good and bad. A habit is a behavior acquired by frequent repetition. An addiction, on the other hand, is a compulsive dependence on an object, an action or a feeling, resulting in major life problems.
Good habits reflect God’s character and strengthen our character. Bad habits lead us astray, drag us down and affect our lives in negative ways.
Scripture uses words like bondage, slavery and stronghold to describe what it means to be a prisoner of sin. Maybe you aren’t enslaved to something as destructive as drugs or alcohol, but you may be held captive to some seemingly harmless activity or attitude. “….For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him, (2 Peter 2:19b, NIV).”
Heart attitudes like anger, criticism, greed and prejudice can be just as damaging as hard-core addictions to drugs, pornography, gambling and eating disorders. Only when our habits move from pleasurable to painful, do we desire and maybe even get ready for change.
The first step
The first step is to acknowledge what’s fueling your negative habit. God created us with a desire for a loving, personal relationship with Him, one in which He meets all our deepest needs. Bad habits and addictions develop when we attempt to meet our God-given needs for love, security and significance through an unhealthy dependence on people, things and activities. With the help of the enemy, wrong thinking takes root in us and things become idols that take the place of God.
Satan uses shame and condemnation to keep us in bondage. He makes us think that God is fed-up and disgusted with us, so we won’t turn to Him for help.
In John chapter 8, when a woman caught in adultery was brought before Jesus, He didn’t condemn her. He showed her that even her would-be executioners weren’t without sin. He simply said, “Go and sin no more.”
As her sin lay bare before the Lord, I believe something supernatural happened in her heart. She sensed His love, forgiveness and acceptance and was set free from the lies she believed. No longer defined by her behavior, she received a new beginning. Get the picture?
Stop throwing stones at yourself and turn to Jesus, and keep turning every minute of every day. God brings conviction which brings repentance, rooted in right thinking and the power to change—not condemnation.
From bondage to freedom
How do we move from bondage to freedom? It takes faith and trust. Believe that God has not condemned you for your bad behavior. Trust His love for you, and the truth of His word. His truth sets you free!
Will power alone ultimately brings failure. But, if your desire is to surrender to God and let Him change you, you’ll find incredible peace, power and freedom.
If you’re feeling defeated, put down your stones and turn to Jesus. He loves you and He alone can give you the power to walk away from anything that holds you in bondage. Let go and take His hand!
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