Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How to Break-Free From a Bad Habit (#2)

Sorry that I am posting very late today. It has been a very busy day, but one that started off with a powerful move of God in our staff meeting. During prayer, we had two Word's of Knowledge spoken over our meeting. God refreshed us in an awesome way. I will share more about it in our Sunday services.

Yesterday, we began to look at some steps on how to break-free from a bad habit. We are using the word Break-free to accentuate each point. Let's continue this discussion.


After I assume personal responsibility, I take personal inventory. I do an internal audit. I take an honest appraisal of myself. This is the principle we find in book of Lamentations 3:40
"Let us examine our ways and test them and return to the Lord."
God says, on a regular basis, I need to do some personal inventory. I need to ask myself questions like, "Where am I most tempted? Where am I likely to fall? What are my weaknesses? How long have I had these problems in my life? Where am I vulnerable? Where am I coasting?" Anytime you're coasting you're headed downhill. You need to look at yourself and take a frank evaluation of your faults, failures and temptations. If you're going to change anything in your life, you've got to stop pretending. You've got to stop faking it, wearing a mask. You've got to stop covering up your faults because hiding a hurt and hiding a habit intensifies the pain and only causes it to grow deeper.

Notice what the Bible says in Psalm 32:4-5. David says, "My dishonesty made me miserable and it filled my days with frustration until I finally admitted my sins and I stopped trying to hide them and God forgave me and now all my sin is gone."
This step -- examining my life -- is not a once in a lifetime, once for all shot. Healthy people repeat this over and over. They are constantly taking their spiritual pulse. They are constantly examining their lifestyle. The Bible says in Proverbs 4:26
"Ponder the path of your feet." They are constantly saying, "What am I doing with my life? Where am I headed? What is the direction of my feet?" You do it on a regular basis. Constantly I'm asking myself, "Where am I vulnerable? As a Pastor, I ask myself regularly, where am I vulnerable? What are my weaknesses? What could trip me up and cause me to miss God's will for my life?"

The Bible says in I Corinthians 10:12
"Let him who thinketh he stands take heed lest he fall."

If you want power in your life, you must walk with integrity, you must walk with humility. Those two things keep you on track. The Bible says evaluate your life. Why?

Jeremiah 17:9 says, "Our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked."
That means I can't even figure out my own motives, much less yours. You don't know why you do what you do much of the time.

When the Bible says, "the heart is deceitful," that means given any situation, I am capable of any sin. Given the right situation, you are capable of any sin. The moment you say, "I'd never do that" what you're doing is setting yourself up. One of the greatest weaknesses in life is an unguarded strength.

A few years ago, a young teenage boy from Germany, flew a single propeller plane right into Red Square in Moscow. In one of the most heavily guarded military places of the world, he flew a plane right in the middle of it. One of the greatest weaknesses is often an unguarded strength. Examine yourself.


Many people will tell me, "I'd love to change. But I can't. I've listened to the tapes. I've read the books. I've gone to the seminars. I've prayed in the quiet time. I've made the public commitment. I've signed the paper. I've prayed. I've cried. But I just can't change."

You can't on your own. You need a power outside yourself. You need a greater power to change the things you can't change. That's why you need Jesus.

I'm not just talking about being a Christian. I'm saying, you need Jesus not just for salvation. You need Christ every second of every minute of every hour of every day if you're going to change and be the person God meant for you to be. He needs to be in control.

Something is always going to control your life, one thing or another. You're always going to let something control you. Some of you are controlled by the desire to make money. Some of you are controlled by the desire to have fun. Some of you are controlled by the desire to be popular or famous. We can be controlled by the expectations of others. We can be controlled by a substance. Some of you are controlled by alcohol or drugs or prescription drugs, for that matter. You may be controlled by fear. You may be controlled by worry. You may be controlled by guilt. You can be controlled by somebody else.

Anything that you allow to control your life that isn't God, the Bible calls that an idol. And in one of the Ten Commands, God says no idols. Anything that you center your life around that isn't Jesus Christ is your god. For some people, their god's their hobby because their whole life revolves around their hobby. Then you wonder why you're under tension all the time. You don't have a strong enough center to hold your life together. Anything other than God that's number one and at the center of your life is not strong enough to hold it all together.

The Bible talks very honestly about what's called the "power of sin". We don't use this phrase today very much. You don't hear very many people talking about the power of sin. Instead we talk about addictions and victims and dysfunction -- psychological terms. But it's the power of sin.

So how do I break free? Freedom comes from choosing Christ as your master. Romans 6:12-13
"Don't let sin control your body any longer; don't give in to its sinful desires. But give yourself completely to God -- every part of you -- to be used for His good purposes." In America, most of the time we want to give God the problem but we don't want to give Him anything else. We want to give God the situation that's hanging us up but we don't want to give Him our whole lives.

The Bible says if you want to break free, if you want to change your life, you've got to give yourself completely. That means I've humbly said, "God, I admit it. I've blown it. You're God and I'm not. And I need Your help. I submit myself to do what You want to do. I want You to be the Lord of my life, Jesus."

We use the word "Lord" all the time -- Make Jesus the Lord of your life... Jesus is Lord ... Lord Jesus. What does it mean to be Lord? We don't understand this term because, in America, we live in a democracy, not a kingdom. We do not live in a feudal system where you have kings and queens, lords and ladies, vassals and counts and serfs and knights. What we have are presidents and things like that.

So what does it mean to be Lord? Lord is just the old fashioned term for "the big boss... number one... the guy in charge... the CEO, the chairman of the board..." When you say, "Jesus, I want You to be Lord of my life," what you're doing is putting a sign over yourself that says, "Under new management." I think that's the best definition of Christian -- Under new management. All of a sudden, I'm not calling the shots -- He's calling the shots. Jesus Christ doesn't want to be a part of your life, He wants to be the CEO, the chairman of the board. He wants to call the shots. He doesn't just want to be resident in your life, He wants to be president of your life. That's what it means to give yourself completely.

When I do that, what happens? Power. Power to change your life. Power to break bad habits. Power to do the things that you never thought you could ever change in your life up to this point.

I love the Phillips paraphrase of Romans 13:14 "Don't give any chance to the flesh to have its fling."

I believe this week as we continue to look at God's Word, you are going to BREAK-FREE from the habits and bondages in your life. Please feel free to post your comments below. Blessings!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day!

Pastor Rusty L. Blann