In Ephesians 6:12 Paul tells us our struggle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, powers, world forces of this darkness, and the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
That’s a lot of opposition.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to work on a breaking-the-habit project without entering into spiritual warfare.
Bad habits are fueled by lies and filled with opportunities for self-condemnation. Since Satan is the father of lies and the accuser of the saints, what’s not to love about bad habits in his opinion?
If we’re going to be victorious in breaking free from our bad habits, we must prepare ourselves for spiritual battle.
Prepare with Truth
The first thing Paul tells us to do in Ephesians 6:14 is to gird our loins with truth. In Paul’s time, men used to wear robes. Not the best outfits for fighting.
So before they went into battle, they would reach down, grab the back of the robe, pull it up between their legs, fasten it with a belt, and voila – they had a modern day gauchos outfit.
If they were to wait until they were actually in the battle to do this – wait, guys, I need to tie up my skirt – my guess is that the enemy wouldn’t have waited for them. They would have been dead meat.
Even Jesus prepared with truth and fought with truth.
The same holds true for us. If we do nothing to prepare ourselves with truth before that moment of temptation, the enemy is going to run right over us. We’re crazy to think we only need to say, God, help me, and have Him snap his fingers and take away the temptation.
We’re in a battle. That means we have to prepare for the battle and then use our spiritual weapons once we get there.
“Just say no” isn’t a spiritual weapon. It might work sometimes. But it’s not strong enough to break us out of our bad habits if we’re in a spiritual battle.
Get Ready for Battle
Here are a few examples of how you can use truth to prepare for the battle of breaking free from your bad habit or sin:
- Start the day with a good long quiet time.
- Write Bible verses that specifically target your habit on index cards and review them throughout the day: when you’re at a stoplight, when you’re walking to classes, when you’re working out, when you’re feeding the baby, when you’re stirring the cheese sauce – any time you have a free minute.
- Look for your weak moments and plan accordingly: If you indulge in your habit most often in the evening, for example, take some time right after supper (before you’re seriously tempted) to spend some time with God and pray through Bible verses directly targeted towards your habit.
- Put Bible verses where you can see them: on the computer, on the refrigerator, on your bathroom mirror. Memorize them so you have them handy in the thick of the battle.
- Renew your mind the minute you get the urge to do your habit. Don’t wait until the urge is overwhelming.
Keep Your Chin Up
It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re trying to break a habit or sin because it’s so incredibly difficult to do so. Just remember: You’re in a battle, and battles are never easy.
Prepare with truth. Fight with Truth. Regroup with truth. And rely on The Truth.
And eventually, the Truth will set you free.
Click here for Part 1 of this blog post.