A daily devotional walking through God's word together using The Bible Reading Plan at http://www.bible-reading.com/bible-plan.html. Our website http://alittlewalkwithgod.com.
We’ve been talking about some of the things that keep us from getting rid of our Goliaths. Thinking that some of our Goliaths are addictions and habits we want to rid ourselves. One such addiction all of us inherit because of that first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden is the addiction of sin. We all sin. It’s a habit we might try to stop on our own, but it is just not possible. Paul talks about at the end of Chapter 7 in his letter to the Romans when he says, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. “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. 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.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am…”
That’s what we inherit from the very beginning of humanity. We can’t get away from it. It’s in our genes. It’s passed perfectly from generation to generation. And just like all our ancestors from the very first man and woman, we think the best thing to do is try and hide our addictive behavior from others. Just like Adam and Eve, we feel shame and guilt and all those other ugly emotions that go along with habits and addictions we know are wrong and we don’t want anyone else to know about them.
But you know what? We can’t hide them any more than Adam and Eve could hide them. We might be able to pull the wool over people’s eyes for a while, maybe even for a long time, but those things will make themselves known at some point. If nothing else, they come through in the stress and anxiety and wasted effort in trying to cover up that bleeds energy and effectiveness from you that could be used in more positive ways.
We think we are so good at hiding those dark things in our lives, but we really are not so good at it. Others can see through you. They can see the slippery slope you’re on. They may not know what it is, but people can sense there is something wrong. They can sense something is not quite right. How, because we all have that inherited trait and have all tried to hide at some time or other.
But how do you get over it? How can we work through those addictive behaviors? First, we recognize we can’t do it alone as we talked about earlier. But another point we’ll talk about to day, we need to get that thing, that habit, that behavior out in the open. We need to bring it into the light.
As long as my kids lived at home we had a rule for them. Curfew was always before midnight whatever their age. They didn’t like it when they were in their mid to late teens and all their friends parents let their kids set their own curfew, but our kids had to be in the house before midnight...period. And why did we set that time? I’ve found as a general rule through the years that nothing good happens after midnight.
Take a look at domestic crime, murders, rapes, robberies, violent crime, DUIs, just go on down the list. You’ll find the percentage of those that happen in the dark hours of the night after midnight far outweigh the number that happen in the light of day. Evil hides. Good is not afraid of the light. But that’s how we begin to shed the things we want to change in ourselves. We bring it into the light.
First we admit we have those things in our behavioral repertoire to God and seek his help. But we very often need to get it out some at least a few close accountability partners know we struggle with something. We need to get it into the light so we can get help. Think about it. Few alcoholics can drop the habit without medical and psychological help. Without some kind of organized support like Alcoholics Anonymous to help them out. Few drug addicts can just stop using without significant help and support from groups that understand the progression of the addiction and how to curb it.
What we often don’t realize is that every habit, every addiction has some of those same traits. They become ingrained in certain parts of the brain that brings us pleasure. No matter how much we loath what we have done after the fact, those moments of pleasure we experience bring out the behavior and we have a hard time breaking it.
So what we need is a deterrent more powerful than that tickler in the pleasure centers of our brain. We need some counterbalance that will overrule that behavior and help us break that habit, that addiction. One way to do that is through the help of an accountability partner. Someone you trust that is not afraid to tell you the truth. Someone that knows the problem you’re facing and the habit you’re trying to fix. Someone that will hold you accountable and not tell you it’s okay when it’s both of you know it’s not okay.
So many times we try to keep these hidden secrets, but they are really not so secret and they are not so hidden. We just fool ourselves into thinking they are. The telltale signs always seem to show up at just the wrong time for us and then everything unravels. All our secrets just roll out for everyone to see. So if that’s true and it usually, normally, most of the time is, then why not find that trusted friend, open up to God and them, and just get to work on those things that must change.
Will it be easy? No. Will it sometimes feel embarrassing? Yes. Will there be times that you seem to fail in the process? Probably. But in our McDonald’s world we expect things to happen instantly and in life they seldom do. This instant gratification that we want usually sparks the bad behavior we struggle with in the first place. When we recognize it takes a lifetime to develop into Christlikeness, we will be much more forgiving of ourselves and others when we misstep and end up confessing one more time about that addiction that seems to have us in its grip.
That isn’t the end of the journey, though. One false step doesn’t mean failure. It means we ask forgiveness, pick ourselves up, figure out what triggered that bad response, do our best to set up ways to avoid that trigger and move on. God will help us tackle that giant if we let him. He is faithful to forgive us when we confess and truly repent. He will help us conquer those things displeasing to him. Why? Because he wants that intimate relationship with us that he had with Adam and Eve when we walked with them in the cool of the day in the Garden of Eden
Is our confession to him something he doesn’t already know about? No. He knows us better than we know ourselves, but until we can name the problem we deal with, we cannot solve it. Until we name that thing we need to turn over to him, we can only stab at relieving symptoms, not getting to the root of things. It’s kind of like weeds in a garden. You can cut them, but they come right back until you dig out the roots of the weed. Only then are you rid of the weed, and even then, unless you have also removed any seeds that weed has left in the ground, it may pop up again later. You have to purge the ground of every part of that unwanted plant. And the good gardener knows he needs help to do that. He uses the right tools, the right chemicals, and applies all of them at the right time with frequent inspection over time to make sure the weeds are really gone.
So it is with the seeds of addiction and bad habits, Goliaths, giants that have us acting like cowards hiding in our tents Saul’s army in the Valley of Elah. Until we get them in the light, name them, share them with a trusted accountability partner, turn them over to God for his help, and apply every tool at our disposal against them, they will be like weeds in the garden of our lives. Not easy to get rid of them, but not impossible. Because nothing is impossible with God.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.