How to Conquer An Ungodly Habit

One unknown gentleman said, ‘A bad habit is like a comfortable bed—easy to get into but hard to get out of.’1 Are you a believer in Jesus and yet struggle with habits which weigh you down and dilute your testimony? There is a answer to the dilemma (Gal.1:4).  The habit may be difficult to overcome but not impossible. All things are possible to one who believes (Mk. 9:23). Here are areas to look at and some things which you can implement from the Bible to overthrow the negative which has gripped your life.

Step One: Hone in with Focus

ILLUSTRATION: A Conversation with Thomas Edison
Here is part of a conversation a gentleman named Theodore Dreiser had with Thomas A. Edison: Dreiser: ‘What’s the first requisite for success?’  Edison: ‘The ability to apply your physical and mental energies to one problem incessantly. . .’ You do something all day long, don’t you? If you get up at 7 and go to bed at 11, you have put in 16 good hours, and it is certain with most men that they have been doing something all the time. The only trouble is they do it about a great many things, and I do it about one. If they applied it (their energy) in one direction. . . they would succeed.’

  • In this short interview, Edison reveals one requirement for achieving success, focus.
  • We have the electric light bulb because one guy focused on one thing.
  • You can fix it with focus.
  • You can beat the thing which is bugging you if you bring all of your being to bear on that one thing.
  • If you don’t bring all of you to the game then, at the least, something is wrong with your “want to”.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (KJV)
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

  • If your desire is to be free, then focus on it with all of your might.

Focus is like a postage stamp – its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there — Josh Billings.

  • This is why the age old thinking that it takes 21 days to break a habit is inconsequential.
  • It doesn’t matter if it takes 21 days or 21 months.
  • If you focus and stick with the Word of God you will be free – you will get there.
  • What particular things in God’s Word should we focus on?

Step Two: Focus on Strength

  • Do not focus on the problem. Focus on strengthening your spirit man in Him.
  • It takes a strong man to do anything of positive value in life.
  • It takes a strong man to do a strong plan.
  • Bad habits are weaknesses in the outer man.

Matthew 12:29 (KJV)
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.

  • In order to bind a man, you are going to have to be the stronger one.
  • You have to be stronger than the strong man.
  • You have to get stronger on the inside than the habit on the outside.
  • It’s like colds and your immune system.
  • Some try to get rid of a cold by taking cold medications.
  • But if your immune system is weak, the cold will just come right back on you.
  • It’s better to strengthen the immune system and then throw it off.
  • In order to throw a habit, you are going to have to get stronger than the thing which is pulling you down.
  • If you’re not strong in God, if you do not have the Word strongly in you, any progress you make will only be temporary.

Ephesians 6:10 (KJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

  • This is why counseling sometimes doesn’t work.
  • One pastor said, “I fixed the counseling situation in my church. When they had a problem, I gathered them around the altar and had them pray.” He said, “When I did that it eliminated all the counseling these people felt they needed.”
  • If all you get is information, you will fall right back into the problem.
  • This is what is wrong with will-power.
  • Will-power is soul power.
  • It is the wrong kind of power.
  • You need spirit power.

Proverbs 18:14 (AMP)
14 The strong spirit of a man sustains him in bodily pain or trouble, but a weak and broken spirit who can raise up or bear?

  • It’s not physically strong but spiritually strong which gets it done.
  • You always deal with problems from a position of strength.
  • Even in your weaknesses, you can deal from a strength position.

2 Corinthians 12:10 (KJV)
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

  • Paul is saying, I am weak physically because of all of the trials and abuse which has been heaped on me. But, I am still strong because my spirit by the Holy Spirit within me makes me strong. And my strong spirit sustains me.
  • If you’re weak in body or soul, AND you are weak in your spirit, you are in deep weeds.
  • You will not throw any habit off when you are in this condition.
  • Even in your weakness, you can be way stronger than you think you are, if your spirit man is built up.

How Do You Build Strength into Your Spirit Man?

  • One way to be strong is to pray strength into your spirit man.
  • The prayer in Ephesians chapter three should be part of your prayer arsenal.
  • Pray it for yourself constantly.
  • Pray it exactly the same way Paul prayed it.

Ephesians 3:14–16 (KJV)
14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

  • Another way to be spiritually strong is to speak and confess strength.
  • The Psalms are full of these types of confessions. David tapped into this principle.

Psalm 18:32 (KJV)
32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, And maketh my way perfect.

Psalm 27:1 (KJV)
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalm 73:26 (KJV)
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

  • Confess these out loud until you sense strength in your spirit.
  • If you confess it long enough and strong enough, strength will come.
  • Any Word from God will register on your spirit if you confess it long enough.
  • The Word will dawn on your heart because the Word is life.
  • God’s anointed Word has life in it. And God’s life has God’s strength as a component.
  • If you confess righteousness, the life and anointing which are in those words will impact your spirit.
  • A by product of this action is that a revelation of righteousness will also come.
  • The process is the same in this area of strength.
  • If you confess strength long enough, the anointing, the life which are in those words, will make you strong. At the same time, you will receive a revelation on strength. It’s a double shot.

Step Three: Focus on Speech

  • Focus on what comes out of your mouth about the habit you’re engaging.
  • What are you saying about it?
  • Before you are ever bound by an actual habit, you are first held in bondage by your words concerning it.
  • Some people’s mouths are nothing but a crime scene. It’s Biblical-ly criminal what people allow to come out of their mouths.
  • What are you saying about the area which is bothering you?
  • Check up on it.
  • Are you saying “this is the way I am?”
  • Are you saying “I will never beat it?”
  • Like one preacher said, “Some people need a checkup from the neck up.”

Proverbs 18:21 (AV)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.

  • Habits come under the domain of the tongue.
  • Bad habits are influenced by bad communications.
  • If you say you can’t, you won’t.
  • If you think you can’t, you never will.
  • You will never ever rise above the level of what you are saying.

Mark 11:23 (KJV)
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.

  • Whosoever speaks to the mountain…
  • You can substitute the word ‘habit’ for the word mountain in this application.
  • Speak to the habit.
  • Say to it, “You will not rule over me. I have only one who rules over me and His name is Jesus.”

ILLUSTRATION: Los Angeles Dodgers Manager Tommy Lasorda’s Battle with Bad Habits
Tommy Lasorda chronicled his battle against bad habits. He said, “I took a pack of cigarettes from my pocket, stared at it and said, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” The answer was me. I stopped smoking. Then I took a vodka martini and said to it, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” Again the answer was me. I quit drinking. Then I went on a diet. I looked at a big plate of linguine with clam sauce and said, “Who’s stronger, you or me?” And a little clam looked up at me and answered, “I am.” I can’t beat linguine.”

  • Lasorda’s confession was “I can’t beat linguine.”  If you have ever seen a picture of Tommy Lasorda, you would know, his confession ruled his life.

Call to Action:

Be determined to focus. Build up your spirit strength. Guard your speech. These three components will help you to overcome ungodly habits in your life.

Question: We spoke about three areas to overcome an ungodly habit. What areas have you seen which would help a person be free of a bad habit? Please leave a comment in the comments section below.

  1.  Mark Water, The New Encyclopedia of Christian Quotations (Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd, 2000), 459.