How to Replace an Addiction or Bad Habit And WW Linkup

Push Pull Principle

Today we are continuing the “Resurrect Me” series by delving into what it means to surrender and replace our addictions and habitual sins. I’ve been using a passage in James as our roadmap throughout this series. So let’s look at what’s next . . .

“Submit yourselves, then to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” ~James 4:7-8

Ugh! Did you catch the S-word that we ALL—not just women—hate?

Submit!

For most of us, submitting our “idols” or “illicit desires” to God does not seem easy or simple.

It takes understanding to whom we are handing off our addictions and bad habits.

“. . . Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” ~Heb. 11:6

Remember, without the truth that “God is good” tucked firmly into our hearts and minds, we will waver and give-in.

Then there is a second and very important part of submitting to God—resisting the devil.

I bet you’re familiar with it . . . You’ve come to God with Your sinful addiction or habit—surrendering them to Him and walking away. Yay!

But then you will walk out the door and feel “tempted” (pardon the pun) to expect that things will get easier—to feel less of a pull toward that temptation because You’ve surrendered it to God. Right?! 😉

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth!

At that point, you must stand firm in your faith because Satan is going to pull out all the stops to wreck your resolve (Jn. 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8).

What does resisting Satan look like?

  • It is being smart about where you allow your “eyes” and “heart” to go—taking measures to avoid (if possible) or lessen those visual, sensual or emotional temptations.
  • It is asking God to examine your heart continually, since you will still tend to be deceived by your desires going forward.
  • It is staying in constant communion with God and His truth.
  • It is recognizing that Satan is already defeated, so he holds no real power over you!

In verse 8 we see the next step . . .

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

In other words, we need to not only resist our idolatrous desires, but replace them with a renewed focus on God and His good purposes.

What does replacing the desire and coming near to God look like?

  • It is meditating on and praying God’s word in key moments of temptation.
  • It is examining your heart for other sins that might be present in your life, then confessing and surrendering them to God.
  • It is finding godly accountability partners to hold your “feet to the fire” in this tempting area of your life.
  • It is living out your new life with boldness and honesty for all to see—working on being consistent in all of your life choices.

Remember it this way: it is the “Push and Pull” Principle.

We push away from any all-consuming temptations in our lives and pull our hearts toward God by letting Him cleanse and empower us to live differently—in His strength instead of our own!

Next week I will be talking about one final step in keeping those addictions and idols at bay. I hope you’ll come back!

What unhealthy and ungodly pursuits do you need to push away from in your life?

 

What healthy and godly pursuits do you need to pull toward you?

 


 

Joining with my friends at Giving Up on Perfect, A Little R & R Wednesdays, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Coffee and Conversation, Coffee for Your Heart, Sitting Among Friends, Family, Friendship and Faith, DanceWithJesusFriday and Wholehearted Wednesday.

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  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth, and very useful methodology.

    Not up to adding much to the discussion but this…I once knew a nun who was simply delighted with Pope Paul VI and the Second Vatican Council, because it allowed her to get rid of all her old, bad habits.

    (No groaning allowed. Wailing and gnashing of teeth are far more appropriate here.)

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/04/your-dying-spouse-143-only-easy-day-fmf.html

    • Thanks so much, Andrew. I know that you are really suffering now, so I recognize how monumental it is for you to comment and I truly appreciate it. I also love that your humor hasn’t left you either. 😉 If I were a nun I wouldn’t want all those old habits either! Too funny!

  • pioneerpat1

    I have tried to replace destructive habits with habits that I enjoy that are positive. I have tried to expand my positive experiences in life and do things that I enjoy that are building instead of tearing down.

    • I think that is only one part of this equation, Pat. There are several steps in this process and though I’ve pulled out the practical parts, it’s never a linear process. Tackling an addiction is like anything else in life–two steps forward and three steps back, three steps forward and one step back, etc. It’s messy. But the most important part is allowing God to be the One who empowers us to change. He must be who we must fill up our emptiness that our addiction filled at one time with.

      As far as last week’s question, I wouldn’t say that the “Christians” you mentioned are representative of all Christians. They are, in fact, a small segment of Christians, though they may have a venue that you have heard them repeatedly through. That does not mean they represent the Christian viewpoint. What you are talking about is the “Prosperity Gospel” that some Christians espouse. But there are equally, if not more, believers who do not adopt that perspective. I do not believe it squares with Scripture. After all, look at the life of Jesus, for one! He often had no where but a field for his bed or food to eat except what He and his disciples would glean in the fields. His message too was not one of gaining what the world has or offers but dying to ourselves and letting Him live through us. Jesus said that “His kingdom was not of this world” (John 18:36) so it seems that He was not interested in what the world has to offer at all. I hope that clarifies some things for you, my friend! Have a great rest of the week!

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  • I’m working at adding exercise to my routine — so much that needs to be replaced, and this is a good thing to add for strength and stamina and DISCIPLINE!
    Good words today, Beth! Thanks!

    • Yes, we need to think in very practical ways about what to add, but also in very spiritual ways when it comes to the power and motivation to do it all, Michele. I know you know all of that, but I want to say it for those who read here in the comments … It can’t be up to us alone. We need the Father to give us the discipline that helps us persevere through temptation. Thanks for joining the conversation, my friend.

  • Mary

    The verse from James really lays it all out there for us. The visual of the push and pull principle really helps me to put addictions/disciplines into perspective. Thank you. I am working at pushing away from not taking care of myself physically, emotionally and spiritually and pulling toward God in all these areas as I seek to know Him better.

    • I bet that you’ve been so busy with your father’s illness that you’ve not had the time to care for yourself, right, Mary? I’m sure that you can really resonate with a lot of what Andrew writes about over at his blog – compassion and caregiver fatigue. I do hope that you are able to carve out those times of refreshment and strengthening in your own life. You need them desperately if you are to continue to care for your father. My prayers are with you and your father in this situation, dear friend!

      • Mary

        Yes, that would be right. Somedays I think I have it figured out and other days I am far from that truth. Thank you for knowing me well and understanding.

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  • Susan Burfoot Mead

    So much truth here! Thank you for sharing. Susan

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Susan. I so appreciate you!

  • Thank you for hosting and sharing the linkup!

  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Beth,
    I definitely need to reach for my Bible “God’s Word” more often and not reach for my laptop as much. Too often I reach for what’s easiest and not what’s best for me. Good food for thought!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Our true prayers can replace our bad habits. Your post gave me strength to fight with my bad fights. Thanks for sharing.

    ~Dr. Diana Hardy

  • Without faith we truly cannot submit to our husbands, since many times the human nature wants to control…
    I am replacing the want to always expect so much from my spouse, even things I know I might not be able to offer myself.
    I told you Beth, this series would bring healing…

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  • Thanks for those step-by-steps on defeating the enemy and sending him packing. God, help us to be savvy and strong as we battle the enemy of our marriages …

  • Dear Beth

    Those two bullet lists are very helpful (saved to the phone – my little book of guidance and inspiration).

    Those verses from James (along with 10) are probably the first scripture I learnt (not that long ago :D) and I often recall them as encouragement (I skip the second part of 8, and all of 9, but more on that later).

    Re your second question, “What healthy and godly pursuits do you need to pull toward you?” I enjoy feeling Jesus near me, feeling the Lord at work around me, feeling the Spirit working inside me. Even the challenges, the yearning — to the extent it almost feels like an indulgence.

    It occured to me this morning that I should notice all that in my wife: see my wife as Jesus, think of God working on me through her.

    David

    • Thanks so much for your encouragement, David. I’m so glad that you saved the list to your phone. I’m like that–want visual and written reminders all around me to keep the truths before me all day long.

      Did you mean to say you skip the second part of verse 7? I know that you don’t believe in Satan or at least have trouble with him being an actual being instead of some kind of impersonal force of evil. Isn’t that right?

      I see the Lord more and more working through you, David. It is becoming evident. You seem quite different in some subtle but noticeable ways to me–through your comments and our correspondence in various venues. What do you mean by saying it feels “indulgent”? Is that a good feeling or is there some sense of guilt involved?

      It’s definitely important to view our spouses as the Lord sees and loves them. We cannot come close to the love He has for them or us. I always encourage spouses that feel unable to love their mates to look to God for that love. He will fill you up so that it will pour into her. That’s such a great privilege–to be God’s messenger and vessel of His love to our mates. Thanks for adding to the conversation, my friend!

      • I have the scripture like this (from memory):

        > Submit yourselves therefore to God:
        > – resist the devil, and he will flee from you;
        > – draw near to God, and he will draw near to you;
        > – humble yourself before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

        The devil isn’t a strong figure for me. Demons more so perhaps. I feel my personal struggle is against sin (my demons) rather than evil (the devil). I could see the devil as a kind of negative Holy Spirit … ?

        Re indulgence: it feels like such a treat, so yes guilt that I’m giving myself treats instead of washing dishes or earning money (the Mary and Martha thing maybe).

        I will try to see my wife as God’s messenger (a “letter from God”).

        David