Monday, April 25, 2011
Today’s topic is one that most of us can relate to, that is habitual sins that we can’t seem to get rid of. I know some of you are thinking of the more serious ones that may not have grabbed you. The most obvious ones are drinking to excess on a regularly basis (alcoholics), pornography (sexual addiction), and drug addiction to name a few. If your problems are not in these areas, it doesn’t necessarily let you off the hook. A couple of the ten commandments include not coveting a neighbors stuff and not lying falsely. These can be habitual sins when we keep our focus on the things we don’t have or conveniently lie so we don’t have to suffer the consequences of our wrong actions. How about gossiping about someone else misfortune under the heading of wanting to pray for that person. Do you have a problem of losing your temper and allowing your anger to say destructive things to others? If I haven’t hit one of your problem areas you might want to take a look at Romans 1 or Galatians 5 if you are so inclined to identify an area that could be a problem area for you. I’ve got mine identified.
The question after we become real with ourselves about problem ares in our life is what we want to with those problem areas. I find that Ezra, a teacher of the word of God spoke to this issue because he was dealing with a habitual sin that the nation of Israel and in particular the men of Israel were having a problem with, that being the marrying of foreign women. They had been told not to marry foreign women, but didn’t heed the warning, and it became the downfall of the Israelite nation prior to Ezra. Ezra found out that the men had gone back to that practice and He tore his clothes and wept for the sins of the people. We pick up his prayer to the Lord regarding what had been happening. “From the days of our ancestors until now, our guilt has been great. Because of our sins, we and our kings and our priests have been subjected to the sword and captivity, to pillage and humiliation at the hand of foreign kings, as it is today. . .The land you are entering to possess is a land polluted by the corruption of its peoples. By their detestable practices they have filled it with their impurity from one end to the other. (Ezra 9:9-11). What the men were doing is the very thing that had caused them to be captured and taken to foreign countries.
In dealing with habitual sins, the first step in removing the sin is to admit that it is there. Any minimizing, denying or justifying of the problem will cause ther problem to remain. Secondly, the consequence of the sin has to be greater in pain and suffering than the short term pleasure of the action in order for true change and removal of the sin in our lives. If the pleasure of the effects of alcohol out way the consequences our drinking has on our family, our marriage, and our job, we will continue to habitually sin. As the negative consequences of sin overshadow the pleasures of sin, victory becomes more real. Once there is truly a desire to quit, a plan needs to be developed and lastly actions need to be taken to stay away from the temptation.
On this journey, sometimes we have to take some time to uproot destructive things in our lives before we continue on this path.