In fact, millions of us have cravings we want to beat but they seem to have a vice grip on our appetites and actions. Whether your craving is for drugs or donuts, whether it’s an addiction or an annoying bad habit, you’ll need more than willpower—or won’t power—to overcome and find freedom.
Is there a way to break free?
The reasons we choose unwise bad habits or harmful addictions are many—mainly to alleviate pain or produce pleasure. Maybe you’re depressed, or bored, or feeling huge amounts of peer pressure. You didn’t plan on getting addicted; you thought you could stop your behavior any time.
Maybe you’re thinking right now, “It’s not that big of a deal. I’m only human. Everyone does it.” On the other hand, you may sincerely want to do the right thing then your cravings take over. You feel stuck. And sad. And hopeless.
Interestingly, doing what we don’t want to do nothing new. In fact, centuries ago the apostle Paul struggled with doing the right thing too. He made this lament in the book of Romans and I’ve commented on his thoughts with the words in italics:
“For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” ()
I’ve felt like that at times.
“Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.” ()
Sin is trying to take over. That explains a lot.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? ()
I don’t want to be like this anymore! I need help.
“Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” ()
Help me, Lord, to shake this. Thank you for your power to do what I cannot.
Many times addictions or bad habits are attempts to fill up the “holes” in our hearts, the empty spaces where love and acceptance should be, but for whatever reason are not. We try to fill these gaping holes with massive amounts of food, way too much alcohol or our comfort item of choice. But we are never satiated; the inner emptiness remains.
Getting over a bad habit or an addiction may seem impossible. You may have been doing it for so long that it’s a part of you. But you can overcome and find victory in this extremely challenging area of life. Breaking free from the chains that bind you come through the healing power of God.
Stopping an addiction—even a bad habit—can be extrememely difficult because something wants to master us or control our lives. There is a battle raging within each of us—an internal battle between two warring factions: the flesh and the Spirit, God’s Holy Spirit. We make choices every day to either satisfy the body or the Spirit—and each of those choices have consequences.
Freedom from making bad choices comes as we pray—and take action.
The best place to start is to ask for help. Ask God to deliver you from this habit or addiction. Ask others to pray with and for you—you need reinforcements! “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Ask God for strength and courage.
It may be hard, it may be frustrating. You may take three steps forward then two steps back, but you are making progress. Plus, you’re not alone. With the One who loves you most, our great God and His unchanging promises and power, things can change.
As you make one right choice, then another, a series of continual right choices leads to your breakthrough and beyond.
The power of God at work in us—thanks to God’s Holy Spirit—does what we can never do on our own: He breaks the heavy chains (the bad habits and addictions) that hold you captive. He gives you strength to say, “no” to unhealthy things and “yes” to life.
Slowly, and over time, things begin to change. You begin to realize a deep, abiding joy and peace inside that’s never been there before—and it feels really good.
Freedom is calling. How will you reply?
Prayer for OvercomingLord, I want to change. But I simply cannot do it on my own. I need your mighty strength working in me and through me. Will you transform me and my bad habits? I may not do this perfectly, but I’m starting by surrendering to You. Empower me to stand strong and live a better and healthier life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”