The enemy would like nothing less for people to get stuck and stay stuck in destructive habits. There is a way we can start breaking cycles of addiction and they are found in the Word of God. Jesus came to set us free!
Below are five practical steps for breaking the cycles of destructive habits in your life. The enemy wants you to think the way it is is how it will always be, but that’s a lie!
Destructive habits are not your portion, freedom is yours through Christ. Open your ears to hear, your eyes to see, and your heart to receive. It’s time to receive the promise you were given in John 8:32, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Before you begin your journey through the five steps below, take a few moment to pray through this prayer:
Jesus, thank You for being the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). I recognize that You are drawing me to Yourself and made a way for me be free.
Holy Spirit, I ask that you would help guide me through these next steps. Thank You that I am not alone because You are with me and want to help me get free.
Father, I ask that You would reveal Yourself to me in deeper ways as my Heavenly Father. Empower me to seek You for protection and to grow in confidence that my identity comes from You alone, amen.
The Word of God makes it clear that destructive habits are not God’s will for our lives. 1 Corinthians 16:9-10 is just one example, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God. ” In these two verses alone, Paul is addressing addictions to sex, money, and possessions.
However, reminding an addict about their destructive habits and telling them that they shouldn’t continue is not the way to freedom. Jesus said, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).
So how do you get free? Partner with the Holy Spirit as you go through these five practical steps taken from the Word.
#1 – Stop Looking At The Fruit Of Your Destructive Habits
Whatever you focus on grows. Are you an alcoholic or have the destructive habit of doing drugs? Or over indulgence with food, pornography, masterbation, or sex? Regardless of what your destructive habit is, the reality is that the addiction is simply “fruit” that is growing from the “tree” planted in your heart.
The self-help, 12 step programs, and behavior management will only keep you from participating the bad behaviors of destructive habits, but never free you completely. Without trusting and obeying Jesus, true freedom is not possible. It’s time to start ignoring the fruit of destructive habits in your life and dive a little deeper to discover what “trees” are producing the fruit of these destructive habits and pull them up for good!
Step 1 Activation:
Make a conscious choice to stop focusing on the “fruit” of the destructive habits in your life. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for grace and guidance on the journey to stepping into the freedom that is already yours.
#2 – Identify The Roots Of Destructive Habits
Roots don’t grow unless seeds are first planted. When it comes to matters of the heart the Bible makes it clear, Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). So we must look to our hearts in order to identify the “roots” that have grown “trees” that are producing the “fruit” of addiction in our lives.
We are called to “guard our hearts”, but as children we often get hurt. The reality is hurt people hurt people and the probability of you being wounded as a child who was unable to guard your heart is almost inevitable (That’s why we all need Jesus! Amen?!). When our hearts are wounded it’s very easy for the enemy to lure us into believing lies. These lies are the seeds that become the trees that grow their roots deep into our hearts. This is where we need to focus when breaking destructive habits.
Breaking The Lies
Below are some common lies we believe, but there are many more.
- I’m not enough
- I’m not worthy of love
- There’s never enough (food, money, comfort, etc.)
- God doesn’t love me
- I’m all alone
- Something is wrong with me
- I don’t belong
- I don’t have what it takes
- I’m too much
- I’m not enough
- I don’t have needs
Again, these are just a few examples of the types of lies the enemy tries to spew at us from the time we enter the world. But we don’t have to keep living life through the lens of these lies. We can be free and Jesus knows the way.
Step 2 Activation:
Take some time with the Holy Spirit to prayerfully identify any lies that might have taken root in your heart as a young child. Make a list of these lies because we’ll use them in future steps.
#3 – Choose To Forgive
As you learned in step two, lies come in through wounds to cause pain. More often than not, these wounds come through people. Sometimes the wounds are intentional like rape, robbery, or speaking negatively. Regardless of how the wounds entered, all wounds cause us to feel pain and even trauma.
In order for a physical wound to go away it must heal. The same is true for the emotional wounds in our hearts and Jesus made a way for our hearts to heal through forgiveness! Forgiveness is to the cuts in our hearts as ointment is to a cut on our physical body.
What Is Forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Jesus forgave every sin on the cross. Joyce Meyer says it best, “Holding unforgiveness is like you drinking rat poison, hoping that the other person will die.” When you choose to hold on to unforgiveness the only one who suffers is you!
Choosing to forgive doesn’t mean that what was done to you was ok. It also doesn’t mean that you have to let that person back in your life. Forgiveness is healing the pain of the wound. It’s how unhealthy roots are removed.
Step 3 Activation:
Take some time with the Holy Spirit to make a list of anyone you need to forgive. You might also need to forgive yourself too. Once you have your list go through each name using the prayer below:
Father, thank You for forgiving me for all my sins. I choose forgive (name) for (list what happened or didn’t happen) and I choose to release them to You. I hand my pain over to You and ask You to heal my heart. Amen.
#4 – Break Agreement
Now that you’ve chosen to forgive and the wounds and pain are being healing in your heart it’s time to get rid of the lies. The enemy can only torment us with his lies if we are in agreement with them. You can step into freedom by breaking agreement with lies.
Step 3 Activation:
With your list of lies in hand, use the prayer below to break agreement with the lies.
I nail to the cross the lie (name the lie) and I break any agreements I’ve made with the lies, known or unknown. Jesus, I ask that you take this lie away from me, never to return.
Jesus, what truth do you want to give me in return?
Write down each truth Jesus gives you in exchange for the lies. Breaking agreement with the lies will set you free, but meditating and memorize the truths Jesus gives you is what will keep you free!!!
Here are two simple formulas to remind you how to access freedom – 1) The Pain of Wounds > Lies Rooting In Your Heart > Unhealthy Trees Growing and 2) Healing Wounds > Replacing Lies with Truth > Freedom.
Freedom can come in a moment, but is often a process. You can use these steps at any time and any place to break free, not only from destructive habits, but from any unwanted behaviors or feelings that do not line up with the Word of God.
Finally, celebrate what God has done for you as you are breaking destructive habits in your life!!!