Habit Breaking | Tomorrow's World

Habit Breaking

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Reader's Digest a few years ago had a story about a woman who had been born blind but had her sight restored through a medical procedure. She had not let her blindness hold her back—she was married and had done her best to live a normal life. Then one day, a doctor suggested she try a new form of surgery. She did, and when the bandages were removed she cried, “I can see.” Indeed, she could physically see her husband for the very first time.

There are various reasons that people lose—or never develop—eyesight. Some blindness can be cured or treated medically. There are, however, forms of blindness that go beyond the physical. What cures exist for this kind of blindness, which medical science cannot touch?

Being tied to habits and wrong thought patterns can blind us. Developing these habits and wrong ways of thinking does not “just happen.” Bad habits and attitudes grow over time. If we are not careful can we grow increasingly “blind” to them. People spend money and go to great lengths to support their habits, and in many cases the negative thoughts that go along with them become ingrained. Excuses and denial become regular parts of life in order to defend or ignore the problems, and people can always find ways to justify what they do or how they think, even in the case of hatreds and resentment (Jeremiah 17:9).

Habit-building comes naturally to us, but habit-breaking is another matter. I have seen grown people cry because they were latched on to a soul-possessing "demon." However, habits can be broken and thinking can be changed. Often, the first thing you have to do is learn to “see” and acknowledge where you are wrong.

The Book of Job is about a man who had a problem and did not recognize it. The first chapter starts by telling about his family and possessions. It says he was a righteous man, and he was—but not for the right reasons. He was a righteous man by his sheer generous nature—and he prided himself on it. Throughout the book, God had to strip Job of his possessions and physically let him suffer. He did this by allowing Satan to put tests and trials in Job’s life.

At the end of the book, Job changes, and learns to break his old habit of self-righteousness. Job was able to have his eyes opened, and to learn that no matter how good he thought he was, he could not compare himself to God, or accuse God of dealing wrongly with him: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You” (Job 42:5). In our society today many people refuse to face truth and rely on excuses and self-justification. So, vices destroy us because of a refusal to see when we are wrong.

What does all this talk about seeing have to do with overcoming?

Before any habit or wrong way of thinking can be overcome you first have to analyze it and come to grips with it. You have to see it for what it is and be determined to not be a slave. By doing so, you will not only clean up a habit but also grow in confidence. Too many times we want God to take away our problem, but sometimes God allows the problem to give us a chance to build character.

Like Job, we often tell ourselves that we are right, that we have done nothing wrong, that we are not the ones who need to change, whether the problem is addiction, attitude, guilt or any other thing.

However, there is a promise of hope, and God offers through His Holy Spirit a special way to overcome and “see” where we need to grow and change. Those who obey His word have an opportunity to become a “perfect work” in the hands of the Creator (Philippians 1:6).

What can you do? Read our free booklet What Is a True Christian? and see whether God is opening your eyes!

  Originally Published: 19th January 2013