From time to time, everyone struggles to overcome bad habits
and addictions. So I want to review the principles we talked
about last week in our Sunday
morning lesson. Hopefully, this will help us remember
these things, in addition to providing a resource for future
It's Your Choice
God has given us a free will. We choose whether to subject
ourselves to bad habits and addictions (Rom. 6:16-18).
Therefore, we have the power to control ourselves and
avoid sinful behaviors, and thus break bad habits and addictions.
Difference Between Habit And Addiction
Simply stated, an "addiction is a loss of control and freedom,
while a habit is something that is donned or assumed, perhaps
often, but that can nevertheless be removed if desired"
Anything that has control over us is an addiction. For
example: If you must have coffee to function, it is an addiction;
but if you freely choose to drink coffee every day, it is
All Addiction is Sinful
Sinful behaviors are sinful, whether or not they're an addiction.
For example: Illegal drug use and pornography are sinful,
whether they're addictions or not.
Lawful behaviors, on the other hand, can become sinful
in certain circumstances. One of those circumstances is
addiction. If a lawful behavior becomes an addiction, then
it is a sin.
Paul says, "All things are lawful for me, but not all
things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but
I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Cor. 6:12).
Stay Away From Sinful Behaviors
If we have a godly attitude, we will stay away from sin.
Thus, we'll never involve ourselves in sinful behaviors
that are highly addictive.
Paul sets forth this idea in these Scriptures:
- 1 Th. 5:21-22 "But examine everything carefully;
hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form
- Rom. 12:9 "Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor
what is evil; cling to what is good."
- 1 Cor. 15:33 "Do not be deceived: Bad company
corrupts good morals."
If we abstain from everything remotely connected with sin,
abhorring even the thought of it, we'll never become addicted
to sinful behaviors.
For example: If you never take a drink of alcohol, you'll
never become an alcoholic. If you never look at pornography,
you'll never become addicted to pornography.
To avoid and overcome bad habits and addictions, we must
Jesus teaches us to deny ourselves, and take up our cross
and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). To do this, we must control
our mind, by which we control our bodies. He says, "For
out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders" (Matt. 15:19).
Paul expresses these thoughts with an athletic metaphor,
saying, "Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control
in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath,
but we an imperishable" (1 Cor. 9:24-25).
Like an athlete, we must exercise self-control in all
things. If we do, we'll control our minds, which controls
our bodies, and overcome bad habits and addictions.
Walk By The Spirit
If we walk by the Spirit, we'll avoid and overcome bad habits
and addictions. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control (Gal. 5:22). Since we walk by the Spirit,
we exercise control over sin, bad habits, and addictions.
We walk by the Spirit because we belong to Christ, having
crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Gal.
5:24). We don't engage in bad habits and addictions because
Christ doesn't engage in sin.
We've been crucified with Christ, who lives in us; and
the life which we now live in the flesh we live by faith
in the Son of God, who loved us and gave Himself up for
us (Gal. 2:20).
The Power of God in Our Lives
Walking by the Spirit, God's empowers us to avoid and overcome
bad habits and addictions.
We're empowered by God's word and prayer.
- Rom. 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel,
for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who
believes. . . ."
- 1 Th. 2:13 ". . . the word of God, which also
performs its work in you who believe."
- 1 Pet. 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are toward
the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but
the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
As Christians, we have the ability to control our bodies
with our minds, empowered by God's word and blessed with
Avoiding and overcoming bad habits and addictions isn't
a question of ability, it's a question of desire.