The Secret to Breaking Sinful Habits

Jeremiah 8:4-12
Say to the people of Judah: 'This is what the Lord says:
When people fall down, don't they get up again?
And when someone goes the wrong way,
doesn't he turn back?
Why, then, have the people of Jerusalem gone the wrong way
and not turned back?
They believe their own lies
and refuse to turn around and come back.
I have listened to them very carefully,
but they do not say what is right.
They do not feel sorry about their wicked ways, saying,
"What have I done?"
Each person goes his own way,
like a horse charging into a battle.
Even the birds in the sky know the right times to do things.
The storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes
know when it is time to migrate.
But my people don't know what the Lord wants them to do.

"'You keep saying, "We are wise,
because we have the teachings of the Lord."
But actually, those who explain the Scriptures
have written lies with their pens.
These wise men refused to listen to the word of the Lord,
so they are not really wise at all.
They will be ashamed.
They will be shocked and trapped.
So I will give their wives to other men
and their fields to new owners.
Everyone, from the least important to the greatest,
is greedy for money.
Even the prophets and priests
all tell lies.
They tried to heal my people's serious injuries
as if they were small wounds.
They said, "It's all right, it's all right."
But really, it is not all right.
They should be ashamed of the terrible way
they act,
but they are not ashamed at all.
They don't even know how to blush about
their sins.
So they will fall, along with everyone else.
They will be thrown to the ground when I
punish them, says the Lord.

The Secret to Breaking Sinful Habits
Jerry Bridges


SITUATION Jeremiah prophesied from the Temple gates and challenged the people. He told them that even if it meant destroying the Temple, God would bring discipline on Jerusalem. The nation had forgotten God after the death of good King Josiah.

OBSERVATION True religion must have substance, integrity, and purity. God will uncover and rebuke sin, especially when people minimize it or let it go unacknowledged.

INSPIRATION Habits are the thought and emotional patterns engraved on our minds. These internal habit patterns play just as forceful a role as external influences in our actions--in fact, perhaps more so...

As unbelievers, we formerly gave ourselves to developing habits of unholiness---what Paul called "ever-increasing wickedness"(Romans 6:19). Every time we sinned---every time we lusted, coveted, hated, cheated, or lied---we were developing habits of ever-increasing wickedness. These repeated acts of unrighteousness became habits that made us, in fact, slaves to sin.

Though we are to deal with these habits of unholiness, we must not try to do it in our own strength. Breaking sinful habits must be done in cooperation with the Holy Spirit and in dependence upon Him. The determination that "I'll not do that anymore," based on sheer human resolve, has never once broken the shackles of sin. But there are practical principles which we can follow to train ourselves in godliness.

The first principal is that habits are developed and reinforced by frequent repetition...
This is the principle underlying the fact that the more we sin the more we are inclined to sin. But the converse is also true. The more we say no to sin, the more are inclined to say no.

Therefore, in dependence on the Holy Spirit, we must systematically work at acquiring the habit of saying no to the sins that so easily entangle us. We all know what these sins are; the sins to which we are practically vulnerable. We begin by concentrating on saying no to these. Then God will lead us to work on others in which we may not even be aware of at this time. The more we succeed in saying no to our sinful desires, the easier it become to say no.

In the same manner we can develop positive habits of holiness. We can develop the habit of thinking thoughts that are pure, true, and good. We can develop the habits of prayer and meditating on Scriptures. But these habits will only be developed through frequent repetition. (From The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges)

APPLICATION Are you a person of integrity? How do you work without supervision? Do you work harder if your boss is around? Do you cut corners you know your supervisor will never notice? Work for your employer as you would for Jesus Christ.
EXPLORATION Idolatry Punished -- Exodus 22:20; Deuteronomy 4:25-28; 8:19-20; 1 Kings 9:6-7; Psalm 97:7; Ezekiel 7:20-22; Romans 1:22-25; Revelation 14:9-10.

The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus - Max Lucado General Editor; New Century Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers

1 comment:

Heart2Heart said...

Also the more in line we are in walking in God's way, the easier it is to spot sin when it tries to slip in the backdoor.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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