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Avoiding and Overcoming Bad Habits and Addictions
Bible study on bad habits and addictions.

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 reference.

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 a habit.

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 of evil."
  • 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.

Exercise Self-Control
To avoid and overcome bad habits and addictions, we must exercise self-control.

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 answered prayers.

Avoiding and overcoming bad habits and addictions isn't a question of ability, it's a question of desire.