Part 3 – Breaking Bad Habits (2)
FOCUS AND FINISH
o Here is part of a conversation that a gentleman named Theodore Dreiser had with Thomas A. Edison:
o “Dreiser: ‘What’s the first requisite for success?’”
o “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 that 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.’
o In that short interview, Edison reveals one requirement for achieving success: focus.
o We have the electric light bulb because one guy focused one thing.
o You can fix it with focus!!!
o I am telling you that you can beat the thing that is bugging if you bring all of your being to bear on that one thing.
o And if you don’t bring all of you to the game then at least, at the minimum, something is wrong with your “want to”.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ESV)
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.
o If your desire is to be free, then focus on that with all of your might.
o Focus, one fella said, is like a postage stamp – its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there — Josh Billings.
o That is why 21 days to break a habit is inconsequential.
§ I don’t care 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.
Let us ask the question…
o What particular things in God’s Word should we focus on?
Focus on Strength
· Do not focus on the problem – focus on strengthening your spirit man in Him.
o It takes a strong man to do anything of positive value in life
o It takes a strong man to do a strong plan
o Bad habits are weakness in the outer man – get strong on the inside and you can throw off the stuff on the outside.
o Listen to Jesus on the matter…
Matthew 12:29 (ESV)
29 Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.
o 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 is kind of like colds and your immune system.
· You can combat directly by taking cold-medications and get rid of a cold eventually but if your immune system is weak it will just come right back on you.
· Better to strengthen the immune system and then throw it off.
o In order to throw a habit, you are going to have to get stronger than the thing that is pulling you down.
o If you are not strong in God, if you do not have the Word strongly in you, any progress you make will only be temporary.
§ That is why counseling does not 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.”
o If all you get is information, you will fall right back into the problem.
o That 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?
o Not physically strong – spiritually strong
§ If you could it from a physical standpoint – you would not have gotten into the bad habit in the first place
o You always deal from a position of strength
o Even in your weaknesses, you deal from a strength position.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)
10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
o Paul is saying, I am weak physically because of all of the trials and abuse that 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.
§ But if your 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 that condition.
o So 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?
· In Order to be Strong Pray Strength (into your spirit man)
o Eph. 3 prayer – this prayer should be part of your prayer arsenal
o Pray it for yourself constantly
o Pray it exactly the same way Paul prayed it.
Ephesians 3:14–16 (ESV)
14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
· In Order to be Strong Speak Strength
o Confess strength – try this out!!!!
o The Psalms are full of these – David tapped into this principle
Psalm 18:32 (KJV 1900)
32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, And maketh my way perfect.
Psalm 27:1 (KJV 1900)
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 1900)
26 My flesh and my heart faileth: But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
o Practice this with the class – confess these out loud until you sense it in your spirit
o If you say it long enough and strong enough, strength will come!
o This is interesting because any Word of God registers 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 – if you confess righteousness – the life, the anointing that is in those words impacts your spirit and at the same time revelation of righteousness comes.
§ The same thing takes place with strength.
· If you confess it long enough, the anointing, the life that is in those words, makes your strong and at the same time you get revelation on strength – it is a double shot!!!
What else should I focus on?
Focus on Speech
o Focus on what comes out of your mouth about the habit.
o What are you saying about it?
o Some people’s mouths are nothing but a crime scene.
o Be careful what you say about the habit
o Before you are ever bound by an actual habit, you are first held in bondage by your words concerning it.
o What are you saying about that area?
§ 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 (KJV 1900)
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: And they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
o Habits come under the domain of the tongue
o Bad habits are influenced by Bad Communications
o If you say you can’t, you won’t
o You will never ever rise above the level of what you are saying
o Here is another very familiar scripture
Mark 11:23 (ESV)
23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
o Whosoever speaks to the mountain…
o You can substitute the word ‘habit’ for the word mountain
o Let us go back to our opening illustration on Tommy Lasorda
o Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda describes his battle with bad habits:
o 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.
o Lasorda’s confession was “I can’t beat linguine” and you can tell by his picture that he believes it”.
o Focusing strength and focusing on speech are just two elements that if you will put the Word of God into operation in these areas, you will notice a marked increase in your ability to overcome a bad habit.