Friday, September 21, 2007

How to Break-free from a bad habit (#5)

Good morning! This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. What a beautiful day that the Lord has blessed us with. I love Fridays! That means some good stuff is getting pretty close: High School Football, Razorback football, and most important of all, Sunday services! I hope you will be able to attend this weekend as I plan to preach a message entitled, "Seven Ways to Praise the Lord." We will be looking at Seven Hebrews words in the Bible that teaches us about praise and worship. I look forward to meeting together with you.

We come to the last day and part of our study on breaking bad habits. Let's review.

Begin today                                                      Refuse to blame others                                                             Examine MY life                                                                     Ask Christ to take control of my life                                                                 Keep away from temptation                                                                 Focus on something better                                                                     Restore broken relationships        

Now, let's look at the last two steps.


God never meant for you to go through this life on your own. You get some outside help who can encourage you, who can spur you on, who can keep you motivated, keep you accountable. That's why God gave us the church. If you're going to be what God meant for you to be in life, you cannot do it alone because God did not design you to be a Lone Ranger. He meant for you to have support.

The Bible says this in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
"Two are better off than one, because together if the one falls down the other can help him up. If someone is alone and falls, there's no one to help him."
You have to have support. That's why you keep falling in that same cycle, over and over, because you're trying to do it on your own.

At First Assembly, we have many of opportunities to give you support. In the first place, if you haven't done so already, why don't you just join us? Stop being a spectator and become a participator.
Stop being a consumer and start being a contributor. Stop being an attender and become a member. Join the church family. Get committed to Christ and His church. I encourage you, if you've been receiving spiritual food here at First Assembly and you're not a member, what are you waiting on? Then we have many Sunday School classes and departments. You need Sunday School. It is very important. Your children need Sunday School. You were meant to have people around you who, in a crisis, can hold you up. If you're serious about changing, you need support.

James 5:16
"Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed
." Does anybody like this verse? If I were God I wouldn't have put this verse in the Bible. It's too hard. But since I'm not God, I guess I'm going to obey it. Because God is God and I'm not. That's what it means to be a true Christian. It means when God says something in His word, if I understand or if I don't, if it makes sense to me as a human or if it doesn't make sense, I'm going to do it. Why? Because God knows more than I do. The Bible is not a book where you read it and go, "God says this but I know better. I'm going to do this other thing because I know what will make me happy." The true Christian says, "I don't care what it says, if God says it, I'm going to do it. I'm going to obey it because He's God and I'm not."

God says to confess your sins to each other. Notice the rest of the verse, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." I do like the healing part. I like the physical healing. I want to be physically healed. I want to be emotionally healed. I want healing in my relationships. I want healing in my spirit. I want healing socially. God says if you want the second part, you do the first part.

I know some of you have a bad habit and you need to deal with it. I know you're saying you're going to change, ask God for help, but you want to skip this step. "I'm not going to tell anybody about it. It's just going to be me and God. We'll work it all out because I don't need anybody else to break this habit." As your pastor who cares about you, I want to say this to you, "Good luck! It's not going to happen. You're not going to break free." God designed us to need each other. He didn't put this verse in the Bible by accident.

Here's what you've got to decide: Am I going to pretend I've got it all together? Or Am I going to admit that I don't have it all together so I can get it all together? As long as you pretend you've got it together, you're never going to get it all together.


1 Corinthians 1:4
"Christ helps us in all our troubles, so that we are able to help others in trouble, using the same help that we ourselves have received from God."

God never wastes a hurt. He wants to take your greatest weakness, your greatest area of failure and He wants to heal you and turn it into your ministry to help other people. Who can better help somebody who's going through the pain of divorce than somebody who went through the pain of divorce? Who can better help somebody who's addicted, than somebody who's been set free from addiction? Who can better help other issues such as -- pornography, homosexuality, infidelity -- than somebody who's been caught in that trap, and been set free? God wants to heal you and then God wants to use you. And nothing feels greater than that.

Galatians 6:1-2
"If a person is trapped in some sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ."
This says we're to carry each other's burdens. If you know somebody in your life, in your family, a friend, somebody you care about, and they're messing up their life with bad decisions, stupid decisions, or bad habits, you must care enough to confront them in love. You cannot say, "It's none of my business... That's their private life... I've just got to take care of myself..." If you care, if you want to be like Jesus, you must say, "I love you enough that I am not going to let you mess up your life and just stand by and watch you blow it from a bad habit that's killing you, from stupid decisions."

I urge you in the name of Jesus Christ, speak the truth in love, live the truth, share it with other people.

Some of you are thinking, "It's hopeless. I've tried it all. I've listened to tapes. I've been to the seminars, made the decisions, prayed. I'm just never going to change." You're wrong. You haven't tried these nine steps. And you haven't done every one of them. Let's close with God's promise.

1 Corinthians 10:13
"God keeps His promise. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond your power to resist. At the time you are tempted He will give to you the strength to endure it and so provide you with a way out."
God says "I will never allow more on you than I put in you to bear it up." If you want to be free, take these steps. It starts with a decision.

As we close this study out, please pray this prayer in your mind. God will hear you. "Jesus, You know how much I'd like to change some things in my life. I've got some habits that are really causing me problems. Some of them I'm really ashamed of. You know how I've tried to change in the past. I've failed repeatedly. I can't do it on my own power. I just can't change on my own. Today, Jesus, I admit that I need Your help. I need You to be my Savior and I ask You to be my Lord. I need the power of Your Holy Spirit to change my life. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen."

I BELIEVE that you are going to be FREE in Jesus name! If you have a testimony of God's liberating power in your life, I would love for you to share it in the comment section below. It will encourage many people. I hope to see you in our services Sunday! Blessings!

Rejoicing (and spinning) in this wonderful day!

Pastor Rusty






Anonymous said...

Awesome word, Pastor. I like having steps to follow right out of the bible. I also like the emphasis on Sunday School. I believe many Christians could grow so much more in the faith if they would committ to attending Sunday School. We have really good teachers. Thanks!