||Breaking Bad Habits
Breaking Bad Habits - Colossians 3:1-15 - Skip Heitzig
Thank you. Wow. Thank you.
I greatly appreciate that. My wife really should be here to receive that applause, more so than me. I mean, she's the one that had to live with me for 40 years. So you know, we got married on June 13 in Southern California. I had not lived here yet. And it-- on that day-- usually, summers and so are like 75 degrees. It was over 100 degrees there. So sort of like here.
You know, the last couple of days, there's one dominating thought that I have had, not even related to my anniversary. But it's been, I'm just thankful to God that somebody invented the air conditioner. I don't know who that was. But he should be canonized a saint or something for that.
I don't know how people lived in this kind of heat without air conditioning. I know you get used to it, and it's a dry heat. But you know, so is a blast furnace. So I'm just really grateful that we have air conditioning. Right now, we're in a comfortable spot. And let's get our hearts on fire, all right?
Let's turn to Colossians, chapter 3. I've always been amused by the story of the man that was hired to paint a church building. Pastor hired him to do it. The man took paint and proceeded to paint the building. But he knew, even from the beginning, he did not have enough paint to finish the job. So added paint thinner. And painted, and he ran out again. And he added more thinner, and he painted some more, and ran out.
Added more thinner, and he put a very thin veneer of paint across the whole building. Well the next day, after he was done, a rainstorm came through and just took all the paint-- washed it all off the building, which is very disappointing to the pastor of that church, who came to him, and like only a preacher could do, put his finger in the man's face and said, repaint and thin no more.
That's a pastor's joke. Repaint and then no more. It's also a dad joke. Father's Day is next week, so I can get away with it. You know what, though? We often try to cover up, with a thin coat of religion or morality, our lives. But at some point in this Christian walk, we have to learn what it is to break bad habits.
Everybody has bad habits. And there are some bad habits that are pretty harmless. I think biting your fingernails-- it's obnoxious. But it's pretty harmless. I know somebody's going to come to me and go, no, research has been done. And you know, Dr. Fauci has found-- I don't know what it is. But I think it's a pretty harmless bad habit.
There are even some bad habits that are endearing. I knew a cute gal one time that when she laughed, she snorted. And she was always embarrassed by that. But we all thought it was just cute. It was endearing. It was her, and we didn't mind that.
But there are other bad habits that are very serious, because they become addictive behaviors. They become life dominating sins-- alcoholism, substance abuse, pornography, uncontrolled anger can dominate a life and ruin a relationship.
Something you'll discover about sin-- sin never seems irresistible until you want a break from it. Then you discover that certain behaviors have a very strong grip, a very strong pull. You sort of feel like the guy who tried to drain the swamp. And he kept taking water, out and more water kept coming in.
And he kept this until he discovered that swamp was being Fed by an underground spring, and that he would never successfully be able to empty at all. Well, in this little series, we're going to take well-known titles of films and give a scriptural bent to an underlying issue. And this is Breaking Bad Habits.
You know, it's unfortunate. But New Mexico is known, h and internationally, because of that series Breaking Bad. Oh yeah, Albuquerque-- Breaking Bad! And it's like really? Of all of the reasons you want to remember a town, it's for the bad underbelly of a drug culture?
I would love it if our community, our spiritual community in this town, were known for breaking bad habits, and we would see and they would see that victory is ours in Christ. Now this brings up an issue I just want to address as we get into it. And just fair warning-- I'm not going to exaggerate this passage in its entirety. There's too many verses. I'm going to barely skim the surface and extract some major principles.
But brings up a question. Why is it that we are tempted? Or let me reframe it. Why does God allow temptations to occur? Or maybe a better way even to put that is, why does God allow the temptations to be so strong?
I mean, he is God. He is all powerful. Certainly, he could, if he wanted to, dial down the temptation in our lives, or maybe dial up our ability to handle them to overcome them. But he doesn't do that. He lets us face them full strength. Now you need to know something about this.
I don't want this to get away without saying, God never tempts us to sin. So you can ever say well, it's God's fault. It is never God's fault. It is always a choice that you make, even if that choice has been made to the point where you are controlled by that activity. God is never to blame.
The Bible says clearly, in James 1, let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God. For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt any man. However, God gives lead us into vulnerable places. I think we would all admit that.
The Bible says Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus taught us to pray, lead us not into temptation. So he doesn't shield us from the temptations of life. So why that? Is there anything good that could come out of these temptations to sin?
Actually, there are a few good things that come out of it. First of all, temptation tests our loyalty. You really can't say you love someone unless you have made hard choices in regard to that someone. So saying no to temptation is a way to confirm your love for God.
God allows them, I think, because he wants our passion for him to be greater than our passion for sin. So temptations test our loyalty. There's a second benefit. They transform our lives. And really, I think that's what God is getting at when we are allowed to face situations that are highly tempting to us.
God is taking us there because he wants that to be a point of transformation. He doesn't just want to deliver us from something. He wants to deliver us to something. And then, not only that, but temptations teach us things. They teach us lessons.
And one of the biggest lessons to learn in temptation is a thing called grace, God's grace. Aren't you glad for God's grace? Because we deal with sin. We deal with temptation. We deal with habits. And I love what Paul said in Romans. Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.
And Paul even talked about his struggle with an area where he prayed three times. And the Lord finally said, my grace is all you need. It's sufficient for you. So there are upsides to us. But what I want to do is, looking at Colossians, chapter 3-- we're going to take a pretty sizable chunk of text-- is I want to give you three steps, three key steps into break to breaking bad habits, three key steps to breaking bad habits.
Notice, I did not say three easy steps. And that is because they don't exist. There are no such things as easy things to do. But these are three general and key principles.
And the first step to breaking a bad habit is, you and I, we need to think clearly. Verse 1, if then you were raised with Christ-- notice this language. If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Set your mind-- notice that. Think clearly. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the Earth. For you died, in your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
If you're going to do anything in life, you have to first learn about that thing. If you're going to be an artist, you have to know something about color, and palettes and techniques, styles. If you're going to be a doctor, you need to know something about the human body, hopefully a lot about the human body.
If you're going to be a car mechanic, you need to know something about engines, right? You need to learn. So it is in spiritual life. Learning always comes before living. Doctrine always comes before doing.
If Satan can keep you ignorant, Satan can keep you impotent in your spiritual life. That's why, every time we gather together, we say open your Bible, and let's read, and let's consider. Even though you may have read that passage several times before, we get refreshed with the knowledge of God.
Now there are several spiritual realities that are listed here. And these are things we need to know. What is that spirituality? Well, here it is. Let me sum what we just read up. You died. You were raised. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
And when he appears, when Jesus comes back, you will appear with him in glory. Four realities-- you died. You were raised. Your life is hidden. When he appears, you'll appear in glory. Now those are truths that are positional truths. You have haven't actually experience them in actuality. They're not literal. They're all about identification.
You died spiritually. You are alive spiritually. They're positional truths. You might say this. Life is what you're alive to. So a child will come alive when you tell him that you're going to take him on a trip to Disneyland. Really? When?
A young teenage boy will come alive when you talk about the cute girl he likes at school, or the car that he wants to drive soon. A girl, a woman might come alive when you talk about fashion. I'm speaking in generalities. Forgive me for that. Or a man might come alive if you talk about golf, or camping, or sports, whatever it might be.
Question-- what made Paul come alive? Jesus. Exactly. And that's not spiritual talk. He actually did. He wrote in Philippians, he said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. And look at verse 4 of our text.
When Christ, who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory. So there are certain things we need to know and set our minds on them. Basically, you need to know two things. You need to know, number one, you're dead. You go, I am? I'm dead? I didn't even know I was sick. How can I be dead?
Well, you're dead to the old life, the old you, the old manor of life, the flesh life. The flesh doesn't dominate. It shouldn't dominate you. You say yeah, but it does. I have bad habits. But you need to know positionally that you're dead to that.
The old Skip died and was buried-- you might say publicly executed, publicly buried on the day I was baptized. That's what that was all about. That was a declaration, public declaration, demonstration that the old life had passed. I was dead to it. I'm alive to something else.
Now this is language that we even use in relationships. I'll pick one, because I know of this situation where, in a Jewish family, a young man gave his life to Jesus Christ. And when that man converted to Christianity, his father said to him, son, you are dead to me. That doesn't mean you are actually dead. Doesn't mean you are literally dead.
But it does mean positionally, you are dead. The relationship between father and son has changed. So you need to know that in God's mind, he thinks the same way. You are dead-- not to him, but you are dead to the old way of life. That's how he sees it.
And that's how you and I need to see it. Romans chapter 6, verse 11, Paul writes, therefore reckon yourselves also to be dead to sin but alive to God. So we're dead.
Second, you're alive. You say, well now I'm confused, because you just said I was dead. I did. But you're also alive. Look at verse 1. If then you were raised with Christ-- that's resurrection. Seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus conquered death by resurrection. It is that resurrection power that you and I identify with for power to overcome bad habits.
He was raised. You were raised. So you're dead, and you're alive. You are both dead and alive. Remember the old westerns? They put up posters, wanted dead or alive? Gods poster is wanted dead and alive. I want you dead to the old. But I want you alive to this.
The trouble is, many Christians live an in between life. You might say they live between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. They're sort of dead to the old, but sort of alive to God, if something else isn't around. They're not really enjoying full victory.
So the first step to break a bad habit is to know truth. No truth. Now I know that perhaps, some are listening to this. And you're thinking this, maybe. Well, this is just words. To write a letter and say you're dead, you're alive-- that's just semantics.
Well, I beg to differ with you. It is so true that God reckons it as fact, and the problem is you and I don't, OK? So here's an example. Let's say a child is adopted from one family and taken into another family. Now when he is adopted, that doesn't change the way he looks. His appearance is still the same. His activities and actions may, for a time, still be even the same.
But he's in a new family. He's been adopted. The Bible tells us we are adopted into God's family. Everything changes. Might not feel like it. You might not look like it outwardly. But an adoption has taken place.
Now let's press the analogy a little further. Let's say that young man was adopted from one family into another, and the family he came out of was a slave family. Let's say he's in a part of the world where slavery still exists, and he is adopted and put into a royal family, a family of kings.
Well, he may not know it. But he has a great inheritance now. He has new relationships, and he even has power at his disposal that he may or may not realize right now. But it is a fact. So knowing this, knowing that we're dead and alive and hidden and will be in glory, we need to think clearly.
And a couple of words I want you to notice-- verse 1, he says if you then were raised with Christ, which is a fact. You didn't know that. Then seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Verse 2, set your mind on things above, not on things of the Earth. Here's what I want you to see here.
You don't get it from a typical English translation. But in the original language that it's translated from, the Greek language, those two words seek and set, set your mind, are imperatives. They're commands, right? It's a command to do something.
But it's a present active imperative, which denotes an ongoing practice. So a full translation, or an accurate translation, would be seek and keep on seeking. Set your mind on and keep setting your mind on those things which are above.
The language speaks of persistence. The language speaks of not giving up. So in the context of what we're talking about, make a mental determination that you will not wallow in your past defeat. Well, but I've fallen down, and this habit gets the best of me. And I keep blowing it.
Keep seeking. Keep setting your mind. Don't wallow in past defeat. Make that mental determination that you will seek, and that you will set your mind.
But I failed. Hey, you want to know something really cool? Albert Einstein was kicked out of school. you say he was? Yeah, can you imagine kicking Albert Einstein? I'm sorry, kid. You can't handle it. Albert Einstein's teacher said that he lacked interest in his studies. Probably just meant the teacher was a bad teacher.
Albert Einstein lacked interest in his studies. So he was kicked out of school. Later on, he tried to attend another school in Zurich, Switzerland. But he failed the entrance exam. Love that. Albert Einstein failed. So he got a job in a boarding house as a tutor, until he was fired.
Failure after failure after failure-- but the rest of the story, right? E equals cm squared later, guy's a legend. Because he kept seeking. he kept setting his mind. He kept getting up. He didn't wallow in past defeat. Satan-- you got to know something about Satan. He always lies to you.
He lies on a number of levels. First of all, he tries to get you to indulge in the temptation, the habit. He knows that's your weak area, and he says go ahead. Everybody does stuff like this. It'll just be one more time. God will forgive you. Just don't worry about it. You're a good person. Go ahead.
So you do it. And then as soon as you do it, his second lie is, I can't believe you just did that. What a horrible Christian you are. God's not going to forgive you if you keep just coming back for this stuff. Or he'll say this-- you will never break free from the chains of this habit. You are going to be stuck in this forever.
So let me give you a little tip, a hack. The tip is to think of the end game. While you're fighting the battle here, struggling with the habit here, think of the end game. Seek those things which are above. Set your mind on things above, where Christ is. That's heaven.
Well why should I think about heaven when I'm struggling on Earth? Because that's where you're going to spend the bulk of your resistance. So one of the helps is to realize you are created as an eternal being, even in the midst of the struggle, for another place. That provides a certain kind of impetus for you. So think clearly.
Here's the second key step to breaking a bad habit. After thinking clearly, act decisively. Verse 5, therefore-- and this is what I love about Paul's letters. There's always a therefore. He's so practical. He'll always teach us things, tell us doctrine. But in his letters, he says therefore, because he wants you to apply it. And he does here.
Therefore, put to death your members, which are on the Earth-- fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
But now you yourselves are to put off all these-- anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man, with his deeds, and have put on the man, who has renewed in knowledge, according to the image of him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, city, and slave or free.
But Christ is all and in all. Therefore, is the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, suffering. Once you've pondered your position, now you need to practice your position. That's the second part-- act decisively.
Once you've fallen down, once you've determined, I need to get up, now get up. Now get up. Somebody once said, the longest journey you'll ever take is the inches from your head to your heart. That's where you move from the thinking part to the conviction part, from just I know certain facts, truths. But now they really become a part of me, and I really believe them.
So the longest journey you'll ever take is the inches from your head to your heart. I agree with that, but I want to add something to it. Once it's in your heart, it's got to move your feet. So our theology must eventually become our be-ology. It's who we are. It's what we do.
Or maybe better put, our theology needs to become our knee-ology, where we pray about it, surrender-- I'm convicted by this, Lord-- and then our be-ology, where we're walking in this and acting decisively.
So what are we to act on? How are we to do that? Well, verse 5, put to death your members which are on the Earth. Verse 8, put off all these-- anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, et cetera. Verse 10, put on, and a list of behaviors are given.
So put to death, put off, and put on. All of these are commands that involve our what? Our will, our will, our decision, our choice-- which shows, me just by the very language, it shows me there's always an element of self-control when it comes to breaking bad habits.
Self-control. You say well, that's the problem. I've done this so long, I've lost control. This is why we need to act decisively. And if you need help, get help to act decisively.
I heard about a preacher who was pulled over for speeding-- not me.
Though I have been, but it wasn't me. And this preacher was pulled over for speeding. And the officer said what officers do-- license and registration, sir, right? So the guy, pastor, gives him his license and registration, but tried to play the spiritual card. So handed him the documents, but then said, Matthew chapter 5. Blessed are the merciful. They shall obtain mercy.
Cop said, yeah, OK. Thanks. Goes back to the car. Writes him a ticket. Very courteously hands it to the offender. And when he hands him the ticket says, oh, by the way, John chapter 8-- go and sin no more.
See dude, it's not on me for giving you a ticket. It was your foot on that accelerator. You made that choice. That was your control.
So why should we act so decisively? Because your choice can become your habit. And then your habit can become your addiction. And your addiction can become your lifestyle.
Did you know that we rewire our brains by consecutive, consistent behavioral patterns, where pretty soon the behavior becomes chronic? Hard wired, and that has to change.
So go back where it says, in verse 5, therefore put to death your members. Put these things to death. So here's the solution for your flesh. Ready? Kill it. Say that to your neighbor. Kill it.
Yeah, that's what you've got to do. You can't compromise with the flesh. You can't say this. OK, this is a real struggle with me. I'm going to taper down. No, kill it. God's answer is always the cross. It is to die.
Let me remind you of something. See if you remember this from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew chapter 5, Jesus speaking. If you're right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you, for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish than for your whole body to be cast into hell. OK, was Jesus clear or not?
And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you, for it is better than one of your members perished than for your whole body to be cast into hell. You go come on! That's gross! That's the intended effect. The intended effect is for you to hear that and go, that's gross. Because that's how we should think about sin.
It's gross. It's so destructive. It should shock us. Now when Paul says put to death your members, or when Jesus says cut off the right hand or pluck out your eye, he is not advocating amputation surgery. Because the problem is never the hand or the eye. The problem is always the-- always the heart.
There are societies today that if you get caught stealing, they will cut your hand off, to this day, in the era in which we live. It's called Iran. That's what they do with thieves. They cut off a hand or a finger. Common practice.
I heard about years ago in England, that they did this. It was brutal back then, even in Western culture. And one man was a pickpocket, a thief. He was caught. They cut off his right hand. He was caught again for doing it again, because he still had a left hand. That cut off his left hand. He kept stealing.
You say how could he? He pickpocketed it with his teeth. Now that could be legend. I don't know. You might look it up on Snopes and go no, a fake story. But the point is, the problem is not the hand, right hand or left hand or eye. The problem is in our hearts.
So the point of this, and the point of what Jesus said, is that we should deal radically with sin. Cut it off. Put it to death. We should deal radically with sin. We should cut off opportunities immediately.
Listen to what Paul writes to young Timothy, a man who is tempted by the world. Flee youthful lusts. Flee. Means run. Sometimes the best way of escape is your own two feet. Joseph found that out when Potiphar's his wife grabbed him and said, come to bed with me. And it says, in the book of Genesis, he actually ran. He streaked out, because she was still holding his clothes his robe.
And he just ran out of the house naked. But at least he ran. So when you're in a temptable position, here's a tip. Get up and get out. Sometimes, the best solution to temptation is evacuation. Just walk away.
You say it's so rude. You mean, I get up? Just stand up and walk? Yeah, be rude. You have my permission. Be absolutely rude if it's going to keep you from falling.
Now, just go back, and we're just going to brush over this. But Paul tells his audience to break bad habits in two categories. He has to lists. Did you notice that? He has a list of sins in verse 5, and another list of sins in verse 8 and 9. It is not an exhaustive list, and Paul has many such lists in his writings.
I'm not going to take the time to hash through them. But I do want you to notice a pattern. The first list, in verse 5, is what we feel and do. The second list, in verse 8, is what we say. The first list, in verse 5, is about perverted love. The second list, in verse 8 and 9, is about perverted hate.
The first list deals with sensual sins. The second list deals with social sins, what G. Campbell Morrigan called sins in good standing-- stuff that people do, and we go everybody says that, does that. Now just take a quick look at this description once again in verse 5.
Fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, covetousness, and then, verse 8, anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth-- that to me sounds like 90% of our entertainment. And I'm being conservative in that estimate. If you think of what-- this stuff that we expose ourselves to, we are on, in the entertainment world, we're in sensual overload.
I'm not going to overstate this when I say this. Most people, or it's possible for the average person today to get more sensuality in one evening than their grandparents got in their entire lifetime. And because it's so prevalent and inundated so much, we become numb to it.
It's really-- it's like so what? And then, in verse 8 and 9, anger, wrath, blasphemy-- that's like that's like a routine tour of social media. So here's a tip if you struggle in any of the areas of these lists. The tip is to keep as much distance-- one is to run away. But now keep as much distance as you can between you and the sin you struggle with.
Keep as much distance as possible. Yeah, It's not always possible. You can run away from things. But you and I live in this culture, this sensual oriented, secular culture. So we're exposed to a lot. So keep as much distance as you can from that temptation, that point of weakness.
Solomon wrote to his son, in Proverbs chapter 1. Said if sinners entice, you do not consent. Do not walk in the way with them. Get new friends, son. Then in Proverbs chapter 5, he talked about a prostitute-- because they were prevalent back then-- the lure, the temptation of sexual misbehavior.
And he says to his son, remove your way far from her and do not go near the door of her house. Don't even walk down her street. Don't walk by the magazine rack. Don't get on your computer when you're alone at a certain time. Don't have that conversation. Keep as much distance as you can.
I read just two days ago something that fascinated me, and I wanted to make application. Archaeologists, in digging up the tombs of the pharaohs in Egypt, have found that with the pharaohs, they often buried grain for the afterlife. That was their belief.
So you have grain in a tomb that's been there for 4,000 years. So the fascinating thing the archaeologists discovered is when you planted some of those seeds, you expose them to sunlight, you expose them to nutrients and water, they grow. So you have seeds for 4,000 years gave no evidence of life at all. But under the right conditions, they sprout.
Now here's how I want to apply that. You and I, all of us, have all sorts of dormant, sinful proclivities just under the surface-- all of us. Keep them buried. Don't excavate them. Don't let them out. Don't expose them to nourishment, nurturement. Keep them down.
Now that's the put off part. Let's go to the positive really quickly. Because he says, in verse 10, and put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge. And this is Paul's language in a couple of different places. Put off the old. Put on the new. And he says, you put on the new man, renewed a knowledge according to the image of him who created him. Now the language here happens to be a picture of a person changing clothes.
A soldier would put off his clothes and put on his armor. After the battle, he would put off his armor and put on his clothes. So this is stuff we do every day. We put off our PJs. We put on our work clothes-- at least that was the way it was before COVID.
And then you put off your work clothes and put on your workout clothes. Then you put off your workout clothes and put on your PJs again or whatever. In this case, put off the grave clothes. Put on the glory clothes. Put off-- look at those old behaviors as like grave clothes. They're just dead, filthy. When Jesus got up from the grave, when he rose again, he left his grave clothes in the tomb. He left them behind.
So what Paul is doing by this is turning a defensive position into an offensive position. Because the best way to deprive your old nature is to cultivate the new nature. You could be all engrossed in here I am! I've got to fight this temptation. I got to say no.
So here's this temptation I'm facing. Here, get a little closer. Yeah, OK. Yeah, that's bad. I don't want to do that. Maybe I'll step away a little bit. I'm going to fight it. Best way to fight it? Get engaged in something totally different than that.
What if you spent most of your time walking in the Spirit? If you walk in the Spirit of most of the time, you won't be having to battle the flesh. You won't be dominated by the flesh. Walk in the Spirit, Paul said in Galatians 5, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
So it's like this. What's the best way to take air out of a bottle? Well, I mean, you could come up with a fancy device that attaches to it. It's like a vacuum. It sucks all the air out. Look at this, man. Cost me 10 grand to make this machine and suck the air out. I have an easier solution. Just put water in that. Just pour water into that jar. The air has to leave.
So be filled with the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. So think clearly. Act decisively. I'll give you a third, and a real quick one. Live countably. Live countably.
Verse 12, or verse 13-- bearing with-- now I'm going to emphasize this-- one another, one another, bearing with one another, and forgiving one another. If anyone has a complaint against another, even as Christ forgave you, you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection.
And let the piece of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body, and be thankful. Notice the one anothers. And again, I'm not going to delve into this text and exegete it all. But I want you to notice the one anothers. Because the context here is the group.
OK, now we're in a group right now. We're all in one group in this room. And there are our brothers and sisters who are outside, even though it's hotter than blazes, outside in the amphitheater. God bless you guys. I hope you're doing OK. We're in this group.
News flash-- ready? Every person sitting around you has struggled or is struggling with something, some bad habit. Every one of us has or is struggling. Now do you realize the enormous potential then that's here? It means sitting around you, you have encouragers. You have reinforcement. You have support.
You have mentorship. You have life examples, what to do and what not to do, all here-- the one anothers. Now I'm leading somewhere with this. Here's another tip in overcoming bad habits. Some habits becomes so bad and so prolonged that they become besetting sins, life dominating sins, addictions. And to fight those addictions, you cannot do it alone. You need the help of other people.
If you keep lying to yourself and saying, I can do this. I can do this. I'll never do it again. How many times have you said that? It's because you can't do it alone. You weren't designed to do it alone. Solomon said two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. If they fall down, one will help up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls. He has no one to help him up. And though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
So invite accountability. Hey brother, I'm struggling with this issue. I wanted to confess it. I want to get it out, and I want to make you aware of it. Because I have a hunch you can help me through this. And by the way, do you know that just confessing that will steal some of the power of that temptation away from you?
I've discovered that. When you just admit, man, I struggle in this area, it helps to loosen the power over you. Now the result of doing this, of standing together, of supporting each other, of breaking bad habits, is peace. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.
Don't you want that? Don't you want the ahh feeling? It will be yours when you're on the other side of this gripping habit. Listen, I don't want to-- I want you to hear me. You'll never be sinless, but you can sin less. The habit doesn't have to control you.
So I love that we're ending on that note of peace. And I love that the power comes from Jesus and his resurrection. So I guess, to sum it up, I want to plant a picture in your mind. I think we need to learn the lesson of the dog. I love dogs. I've had nine dogs in my married life. I've had plenty more as a single person and growing up with my family in California.
But over the years, I've taught the dogs a simple trick that many of you done. If I want my dog to learn this, I'll have him sit. And I'll sit, and he'll sit. And I have a treat, right? Maybe a chunk of meat, maybe a kibble or whatever. I put it down on the floor, and I put my hand out.
And I go no, no, because the dogs that I have are ready to grab it. No, sit. No, stay. Now that dog, if it's going to have victory, you tell me what the dog-- what does the dog look at to gain victory? He looks at me. If the dog looks down at the kibble, game over.
So-- and I've noticed this with a variety of dogs. For that dog to not be tempted, the dog is always looking at the master, always looking at the master, eyes connected to the master. And then when I say OK, whoom, it vanishes miraculously. It's over! Gone!
Our key to victory is always keep our eyes on the master. Always keep our eyes on the master. Set your mind on things above. Seek those things which are above.
But Skip, I've failed. Seek those things which are-- but I've failed. Set your mind on things above.
Father, thank you for what is above, for who is above us, who is above our situation, above our struggle. You know that we are but dust. Your word tells us you know our frame. You remember that we are dust.
And how grateful we are that your grace overflows our sin. And that brings us a level of peace. I pray, Lord, that we might apply these not simple but life-giving principles, that we might see victory. In Jesus' name, Amen.
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