A habit can be defined as a settled and/or acquired manner of behavior or practice followed through until it becomes almost involuntary. Habits can either be good or bad. They come with repetition. Every time we do it, it becomes more natural. Now, there’s no problem with a good habit. Nevertheless, bad habits can be destructive.
What does the Bible say about breaking a bad habit? Are there biblical strategies for stopping unwanted behavior? For believers, the power to break bad habits comes from the Holy Spirit, but we have to be willing to do it.
We are going to look at 7 biblical tips to help you break a bad habit.
1. Admit you have a bad habit
A sin and a habit are not the same thing; sometimes they can be the same thing but not always. The best approach to stop sinning or drop a bad habit starts by first admitting “this is bad and it needs to stop”. Justifying the sin or habit in our minds is what causes it to persist.
He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy (Proverbs 28:13)
When you continue to justify your bad habit(s) your sin nature will take that opportunity and keep you stuck.
2. Clearly define why you need to break the bad habit
The Bible motivates Christians to stop sins and bad habits by clearly defining the negative consequences or punishment that will occur should the sin or bad behaviour continue.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. (Galatians 6:7-8)
Listing all the negative things that the bad habit is causing in your life and the lives of those closest to you will help you begin to visualize what life would be like without these bad things in your life.
3. Be specific in identifying the habit you need to break
You will never change until you commit to change. This calls for you to be very specific and deliberate. Writing it down in definite, concise language and putting the note in the place you find yourself usually engaging in the bad habit will act as a regular reminder.
4. Seek God’s help
Change is hard. It’s no wonder that the first response to change of any kind is resistance. God knows and understands the struggles that we face and He encourages us to come to Him for the extra help we need.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
5. Have an accountability partner
Get someone you respect and can listen to. A mature Christian will play this role very well. They will point you back on the right track should you start going back or astray. They will also be there to celebrate and cheer you on in the time of victory.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
6. Replace the bad habit with a good habit
It will be very easy to slip back into a bad habit simply because you did not redirect your energy toward something else. A good new habit is a welcome “replacement” for the bad habit that you want to break.
When you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
7. Stay positive, even when there are setbacks
There is a temptation to become very hard on yourself once you embark on the journey towards change. It is easy to feel so discouraged by a setback that you give up or think that you have completely failed. Refuse to allow an attitude of failure or negativity to get a hold of you.
Remain positive and hopeful that you will make it knowing you can do all things through Christ, who is our strength. (Philippians 4:13).
Praying point: Father, I call out to You now with my whole heart and ask You to free me from this bad habit (call it by name) and the effect it has on my life by the power of Your Holy Spirit in Jesus Name, Amen.
Do you want to know more about God? Contact us today at Westside Bible Chapel through our website contact form or Facebook Page.