Habit will reconcile us to everything but change.-C.C.Colton Lacon, 1825
Habit is stronger than reason.-Santayana, Interpretations of Poetry and Religion 1900
A friend recently posted on Facebook about his battle with a Tootsie Roll(™). He is trying to stick with a healthy diet and instead of just popping the free candy in his mouth he stopped to think about his determination to change his diet. His commitment won out over his impulse to return to the old habit.
That is the psychology part of the picture. What I want to discuss here is more about spiritual strongholds, about things that are resistant to the type of change this man was making with his diet. The person who is in sin and sinking into deeper sin, but wants to change. A person who is a good Christian, who goes to church every Sunday and loves the Lord, yet he cannot get out of his sin on his own. He has tried many times and failed. He’s trying harder but having no success.
It is clear that on our own we cannot break the habit of sexual sin and addiction to things like porn, or any other addiction for that matter. On the other hand, we know that it is possible to gain freedom in Christ. What are the Biblical sources of power to make these changes happen? Writing over 90 devotionals for men who are in the battle for their sexual integrity has led me to really ponder this question.
Common folklore says that a habit can be broken in about 21 days. This has not be scientifically proven, however. Scientifically, we do know that the neural pathways are still fresh in our brain and you can easily be triggered to follow the old ones back to the habit we want to break.
What is going to be our supernatural power source to free us?
I think that we have to begin with being drawn to God by the Holy Spirit and responding by becoming a born-again believer in Christ. Now the Holy Spirit lives in us and we can have access to the supernatural power of God. We can access the power that raised Christ from the dead. In addition, we have a new identity as a Christ follower; an identity in Him. Here are a few of the facts of our new identities in Christ:
We are joint heirs-Galatians 3:29
We are called Jesus’ friend-John 15:15
We are chosen and appointed to bear fruit-John 15:16
We are free from condemnation-Romans 8:1-2
Study Neil Anderson’s list of all the verses declaring who we are in Christ to help understand our new identity in Christ. Link to the list:
If we fall into sin, then the first source of help is the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin. Once we sense this conviction of our sin we can respond by humbly going to God in prayer and admitting our sin and seek His forgiveness. Then we must repent, meaning to turn 180 degrees. Next surrendering to God and admit our weakness. In our weakness God can show His strength and help us.
There is more. The Word of God, the Bible changes us and is a power source. It’s sharper than a double-edged sword. God’s amazing grace forgive us of the sin. According to Titus 2:12 Grace trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives. If grace can train you to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, then you would have to say grace is a powerful force in your battle to overcome your sin.
Humbly admit that without Christ we can do nothing.
This is how I see the spiritual journey to overcome sin:
- Holy Spirit draws us and we respond and are born again
- Holy Spirit lives in you
- We come to understand our new identity in Christ
- We will sin but we are no longer a slave to sin
- Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin
- God’s amazing grace forgives us of the sin
- We admit our weakness and then experience God’s strength
- We humbly admit that apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5
- We surrender our sin and our will to God
- Bible reading and believing, memorizing the Bible transforms us
- The Resurrection power of Christ-The power that raised Christ from the dead overcomes our sin
- Grace trains us to renounce ungodliness
- The power of Christ’s life changes us
- The power of the Holy Spirit strengthens us and guides us
- The power of the Word of God in the Bible
Hebrews 4:12-For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
In Galatians 4:1-7 adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but, and a son if a son, then an heir through God.
So, as Christ followers we have been adopted as sons. We are sons and as such heirs through God. What does this mean as far as power is concerned? We are not beggars on the street knocking on a door looking for help. We are inside. We are adopted sons and loved as God’s own family. Wouldn’t a father do everything he could to help his sons?
The final power source is us! Yes, us as children of God. If we have faith and do not doubt we can send that mountain of our sin or addiction into the sea. Whatever we ask in prayer we will receive, if we have faith.
Matthew 21:21-22- And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
Connect to the power sources for true change.
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