“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:15-18 NIV)
Apostle Paul was writing about his own deep frustrations and experiences of wanting to do good. But he came against sinful nature and failures of his own flesh. Something inside of him was so strong that it deterred him from doing the right thing.
Like Apostle Paul, we can become frustrated when choosing between what we know to do, and don’t. As long as there is life, we will always face countless opportunities to make choices that will either make or break us.
Habits can make or break us! A bad habit is a negative behavior pattern that can lead to self-destruction. Paul says “For what I want to do, I do not do, but what I hate, I do”. In your mind you don’t want to do wrong, but you partake in it anyway because it satisfies the need. Some habits will lead you closer to God and others will lead you astray.
Let us remember, we have two forces within us that drives us to choose good verses bad. It’s a war within us, a constant competition between what we know is right (the light path) versus the very thing (the dark path) that goes against everything we believe in. There’s an ongoing war in us, between the good, the bad and the ugly!
Bad habits create self-destructive behaviors that can be detrimental to our natural, spiritual and emotional health. It is our responsibility as Christians to recognize these behaviors that are harmful to our lives and begin turning them into better choices. We also have a responsibility to take of care for our earthly temples that God has given us instead of adopting harmful behaviors that abuse our bodies and the consequences that follow.
Bad Habits (to name a few) and Self-destructive Behaviors
- Drug & alcohol abuse –addictive; chain smoker; always on a high
- Overeating– stress eating; never full; junk food junkie; unnecessary indulging
- Under eating – malnourished; weight obsession; bulimic
- Overspending – credit card abuse, constantly in the red; overdraft junkie; shopaholic
- Complaining – discontent; never satisfied; unhappy; always finding fault
- Overuse of cellphone – unable to hold a conversation with people in front of you; social madness
- Lying – speaking with forked tongue; unable to tell the truth; can’t look at you straight; habitual liar;
- Mean – just plain ol’ mean; unhappy; bad demeanor; unpleasant personality; grumpy
- Burned out – taking on unnecessary tasks; emotionally exhausted; chronic fatigue; weakness; low energy; negative attitudes toward self;
- Procrastination – wait until last minute to do a task; delaying time;
- Lack of exercise – couch potato; remote control king/queen; inactivity; idleness; laziness
- Lack of self-compassion – don’t care about yourself; self-inflicting wounds; low self-esteem; lack of motivation
- Lack of spiritual growth – no commune with God, lack of prayer and bible reading; no fellowship at church.
People have a tendency to behave in self-destructive ways because it is an emotional response or reaction to other stressors that they are dealing with. They turn to bad habits for self-fulfillment and emotional satisfaction.
Trust the Process – How to abandon Bad Habits
Trust God – If you trust God and continue to ask Him for guidance, He can help you transform those self-destructive behaviors into encouraging life-saving victories!
Choose Godly friendships – Social support (good friends) is good medicine for the mind and spirit. Surround yourself with good friends that will motivate and support you on your journey.
“Don’t let anyone fool you. “Bad companions make a good person bad.” I Corinthians 15:33 (NIRV).
Identify the Problem – Identify the habit and the underlying cause; understand the behaviors attached to the problem; avoid those people who are determine to damage your good efforts.
Prioritize – Stop and understand the problem; consider how this problem rates to other issues going on in your life. We all have a tendency to overeat during the holidays. How will you prioritize your overeating habits? Will you be able to resist hanging out with the partying crowd, creating new bad habits?
Plan the Solution – Set goals. Write your plan in a spiritual journal. Be optimistic for solutions; expect good outcomes; have a conversation with yourself in the mirror and say to yourself “Self, I can do this”. Self-talks can be critical to your victory! Constantly pat yourself on the back for taking small steps. Reward yourself!
Implement the plan and follow Through –Observe your modified behavior. Write it down. Learn and condition yourself through daily application of prayer and God’s word. Learn self-control! Let the love of God replace your frustrations!
Lack of self-compassion (http://self-compassion.org/
Shopaholic Information http://www.shopaholicsanonymous.org/
Alcohol / Drug Abuse https://drugabuse.com/
How Eating Habits Affect Your Health https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2017/05/how-your-eating-habits-affect-your-health
II Timothy 1:7 “ For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (ESV).
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