Posted by: missionventureministries | January 31, 2019

CHANGING BAD HABITS INTO GOOD HABITS – Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 

Habits are by definition behaviors we do on a regular basis and they are formed by practice and repetition. Our goal as Christians is to practice good habits that will lead us towards God and His purpose for our life and to break bad habits that will separate us from Him, which the Bible calls sin.

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Romans 6:1-2

We all commit sin, however, it is the habitual sin in our lives which is often the most frustrating and causes the most pain to ourselves, those around us and will forever separate us from God if we do not wake up and change our ways.

Many earnestly desire to be free of their sin but with constant temptations from the devil and his demons, our flesh and the world, individuals who do not know the power of God, can keep being pressured back into it.

The Bible instructs us to develop good habits when we become Christians such as prayer, bible reading and meeting with other Christians; developing these new habits will also help us to develop ‘fruits of the Spirit’ and overcome sin in our life – Galatians 5:22-26.

By the grace of God, we are ‘To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness, Ephesians 4:22-24. This is the best antidote to replace bad habits with good habits.

When we become new creations, we see that God wants us to leave our bad habits and sins behind and take on new Christ-like behaviors. If we trust in Him, He will help us change, because, as Hebrews 13:5 tells us: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

So how do we accomplish this? First, we need to realize that there is sin in our lives; then we need to confess them to God and accept His forgiveness. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

The Bible and the Holy Spirit will tell us what we need to change and which areas of our lives aren’t in line with His Word as we read in Galatians 5:19-21, Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Once you acknowledge the particular habit you need to change, you need to start monitoring your behavior and becoming aware of when this happens. You should pay attention to what triggers the habit. Is it certain people or situations that cause you to sin? Do certain TV programs trigger your habit? What thoughts or feelings do you have right before you sin?

Gathering this information will help you recognize patterns and make a plan for overcoming the bad habits by seeking God’s help.

To begin, you need to decide and take action and see with which godly behavior you should replace your bad habit with; otherwise another bad habit may emerge in its place. Because, as the Bible teaches, “when the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” Matthew 12:43-45

You need to have a positive behavior to replace the negative one. Pray and ask God to show you the way.

Remember what Ephesians 4:22-24 says: To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self.

You need to ensure your new goals are specific, achievable and realistic. For example: I will get up at 6:45, which is 15 minutes earlier than I normally do and I will read my bible for 15 minutes every day and pray.

While 15 minutes might not sound like much, it is better to start with an attainable goal because it is difficult to form new habits as our brain prefers routine to change. By making small changes, your brain and body will protest less.

As Christians, our key motivation to change bad behavior is to obey and please God, so we can become more Christ like. Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

Therefore, you should, commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. Psalm 37:5

Stay accountable to other Christians and have them pray for you and with you. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16

Honesty, faith and determination are a great factor in overcoming. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from Him anything we ask, because we keep His commands and do what pleases Him. 1 John 3:21-22

As you see, the key is that you need to ask according to God’s will, and it is vital to also understand what James states: You must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6-8

Having an accountability partner is vital, because, if one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:10

Accept advice from mature Christians, particularly those who have overcome a similar habit to yours. Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom….. Proverbs 19:20. Because, without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. Proverbs 15:22

Avoiding temptation is another key to success. Whatever the source to your downfall is, stay away from them, and instead: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Romans 13:14

Remember to avoid people who will trigger your bad habit and, do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

Follow the psalmist advice and hate the assembly of evildoers, and do not sit with the wicked, Psalm 26:5. Instead you need to submit to God who will help you to overcome your bad habits if you are sincere. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.   Proverbs 3:5-6

Keep your focus on Jesus and concentrate on doing what is right and do not give the devil an opportunity (Ephesians 4:27); always remembering that, if you have died to self, meaning you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior and have made Him the Lord of your life, you have been raised up with Christ, therefore, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Because as a believer, you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Jesus defined the only people who are truly born again as those who have come to the light as He said: This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. John 3:19-21

Renewing your mind is one of the most important steps in changing your habits. You need to think new thoughts and form new beliefs in regards to your habit and most importantly you need to believe that you can change. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

As you read this message of hope that is filled with God’s word you should realize that once you start reading His word you will find it renewing your mind. Your desire will change and you will no longer want to sin and you will acknowledge that: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16

If you memorize scriptures they will come to mind when you are tempted by bad habits. Jesus overcame temptation by quoting scripture, you can do the same! Read Matthew 4:1-11.

God tells us we can change and that the victory has been won in Christ Jesus; because, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37

Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” Mark 10:27

The key message being that: All things are possible to them that believe! Mark 9:23 

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