Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
What are your bad habits? Even after His conversion to Christ, the Apostle Paul seemed challenged by anger and impatience. In Romans 7, he was at odds with himself: questioning and disgusted by his own behavior.*
My bad habits included
fits of anger and judgment; selfishness in too many ways to list; overeating on too many occasions to count. (I write in past tense as a way of speaking the elimination of my bad habits into existence; it's a declaration of my purpose and God's promise, rather than its perfect accomplishment.)
Actors, models and talent for Christ: whatever your bad habits include (or included
), consider them to be going... going... gone. By the power of God, they are banished. They have vanished. To further this great disappearance:
1) Pray for it, 'Without ceasing' (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 'Pray that you may not enter into temptation' (Luke 22:40). Keep a handy, dandy list of your favorite Bible Verses to help you. Consider His Word, 'The Sword of the Spirit' (Ephesians 6:17), to be your battle Gear. That's how Jesus fought Satan's temptations in the desert.**
2) Plan for it. 'Make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts' (Romans 13:14). Clean out your mind. 'Whatever is true, whatever is honorable... dwell on these things' Philippians 4:8). Clean out your house. Clean out your friends. Clear out of haunts: 'Flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness' (2 Timothy 2:22).
3) Praise for it. 'Thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Corinthians 15:57). So 'In everything give thanks' (including your inevitable triumph over bad habits), 'For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus' (1 Thessalonians 5:18). Because God inhabits the praises of His people. Where God is, Satan isn't.***
4) Speak for it. 'Let the weak say, 'I am strong' ' (Joel 3:10); 'I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13); 'Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers' (Ephesians 4:29). Speak life and victory, even to your own ears.
5) Wait for it. 'For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay' (Habakkuk 2:3). 'Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing' (James 1:4)... including freedom from bad habits.
6) Look for it. 'But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same Image from glory to glory' (2 Corinthians 3:18). 'Whoever looks intently into the perfect Law that gives freedom' (James 1:25), which is God's Word, will begin to reflect His brilliant freedom in appearance.
7) Expect for it. 'Being confident of this, that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion' (Philippians 1:6). Because 'The Lord your God is He Who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you' (Deuteronomy 20:4). He is the One Who promises delivery from every enemy, including bad habits.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Here's the bottom line on bad habits; to your best ability, discontinue their practice. Consider the seven steps above. God will do the rest, for 'The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations' (2 Peter 2:9).
To Be Continued...
* Romans 7:14-24: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+7%3A14-24&version=NIV
** How Jesus responds to Satan's temptations: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+4%3A1-13&version=NKJV
*** 'Yet You are holy, O You Who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel' (Psalm 22:3 NASB).
*** 'The Awesome Power Of Praise' (article): http://www.victorychurch.nu/articles/the_awesome_power_of_praise
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Practice Makes Perfect series.