Do you ever find yourself setting boundaries for breaking a habit, then ignoring those boundaries and going your merry way, breaking your habit right and left? I know I do.
This is especially common with non-sin habits. Because with those habits, we tend to think, Is it really that big of a deal if I practice my habit? The answer to that question is, “Yes.” After all, if it wasn’t a big deal, we wouldn’t be trying to break our habit!
If you struggle with breaking a habit, this episode of the Christian Habits Podcast will help. First, we’ll talk about the lies that keep us from breaking a habit. Then we’ll use the carelessness questions and Bible verses from the Renewing of the Mind Project to renew our minds on the spot. Following are the lies we’ll be discussing:
7 Lies That Keep You From Breaking a Habit
- I haven’t been able to do this in the past so I won’t be able to do it now. It’s hard to make ourselves work on breaking a habit because we think, Why bother when I’ve already failed so much in the past? I won’t be able to do this anyway. Here’s the truth though: At some point, we’ll be able to break it with God’s help. What if the figure skater had given up on her triple lutz after 100 times of not being able to do it? She would have missed out on the 101st time which was her success! The truth is, it takes a long time to break habits–sometimes even years. But if we give up, we miss out on the freedom at the end of the tunnel.
- It’s not a big deal if I do my habit just this one time. This is what we tell ourselves when the going gets hard. But here’s the truth: If we’re truly trying to break a habit, we need to be super consistent about never breaking our boundaries. It’s easy to see this with drugs, alcohol, and smoking. But it’s just as important with other habits such as Facebook, overeating, and spending. The only difference is that instead of totally doing away with our habit, we’re just setting firm boundaries. So for example, we still need to spend money at times, but we never break our budget. We still eat, but we never break our eating boundaries.
- My habit isn’t hurting anyone. This is another thing we tell ourselves, but here’s the truth: even with non-sin habits, it still hurts someone. It hurts God because we turn to our habits rather than him for help with life. It hurts others because we shut them out in favor of our habit. It hurts us because we give up personal growth, health, and personal well-being to do our habits. Those habits may be fun in the moment, but long-term they lead to depression, stress, discouragement, and hopelessness–even if the activity is good in and of itself. It’s the addiction to it that hurts us.
- I should be able to walk in the freedom that belongs to me in Christ. Why isn’t God helping me to do that? Often we think there’s something wrong with us if our habit controls us. We define freedom as being free from doing our bad habits and sins. But here’s the truth: We already walk in freedom because God doesn’t require us to be perfect. We’re saved by grace through faith–not by being perfect through not breaking our habits. Jesus has already helped us live in freedom through dying on the cross. The Holy Spirit helps us walk in freedom on a sanctification level. And that’s a daily walk that won’t finish until we go to heaven.
- I’ll just try to be better (and that will help me break my habit). Here’s the truth: we aren’t capable of breaking our habits in our own strength. We can’t just “choose to do good” or “claim the power of God.” Instead, the Bible says we’re transformed by the renewing of the mind. This is an ongoing daily activity.
- I’m already renewing my mind and it’s not working. There are all kinds of ways to renew our mind. When we have our morning quiet time, we’re renewing our minds. But to break a habit, we need to work on taking off the specific lies that are driving that habit. When Satan tempted Jesus in the desert, Jesus didn’t just quote a random Bible verse. He gave a verse specific to the lie. We’re not always as good at spotting lies as Jesus was, so it can help to have a lie spotter. Both the Renewing of the Mind Project and the I Deserve a Donut book and free app can help in spotting lies.
- I can do this on my own. Here’s the truth: It’s hard to make yourself renew your mind on your own. If you’re trying to break a habit, find a friend or a Bible study group that can help you with it. It’s nice to share the camaraderie, and I would say it’s almost necessary to have the accountability. Here’s a blog post that will help with accountability: Getting Started with Accountability.
We’ll also spend some time renewing our minds on the podcast with the following questions and Bible verses:
5 Question That Will Help with Breaking a Habit
- Why do you feel like it’s not a big deal if you break your boundaries?
- If you break your boundaries right now, will you be more inclined to break them later? Why or why not?
- How does the practice of your habit affect the following?
- Your relationship with God
- Your relationship with others
- Your job and/or ministry
- Your health
- Your personal well being
- If you want to break this habit, will you eventually have to make the sacrifice to follow your boundaries all the time, even when it’s hard to follow them?
- When do you most need boundaries?
Bible Verses That Will Help with Breaking a Habit
Following are the Bible verses we’ll use on the podcast to help us renew our minds:
Romans 13:14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
1 Corinthians 6:12 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 Timothy 4:7b Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
If you’d like more help with breaking a habit, check out the following blog posts: