How to break a sinful addiction (part 4)
Breaking an addiction is the most difficult thing a person can do. This is the part where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. The decision has been made, the temptations have been dealt with, so now its all smooth sailing? Not by a long shot. Now begins the real battle.
• Build desires within us, like FIRE on a stovetop
• Are like WATER in a tea kettle
• Is like the STEAM from a boiling tea kettle (Author Unknown)
My dad bought me the six weeks of patches so I could quit smoking. (Bear in mind this was right after I’d been served with divorce papers.) The first day wasn’t so bad because I kept busy. The second day was a bit harder, but the fourth day I was climbing the walls. My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, my stomach was churning, my mind was craving.
I read some research that said if you drink a lot of water, it flushes the nicotine out of the system so your don’t have such terrible cravings. That wasn’t true for me. I was awash in water, I sloshed when I walked down the hall and still the cravings were unmanageable.
I was in the bathroom and the hunger of a cigarette overwhelmed me, and dropped me to my knees. I cried out to God in such deep desperation it is a wonder no one came rushing in to check on me. I prayed and prayed for Him to take away this crushing desire. He asked me one question, “Gina, do you want to go through all of this again?” Emphatically I cried, “No!”
I wish I could say that I got off my knees and never desired another smoke. That didn’t happen, but from that point, the desire subsided with each patch I applied, and with each day that I decided not to smoke. It was a daily decision for me until one day five weeks later I realized I hadn’t thought about a cigarette all day. What a milestone. Today, I’m like one of those people who I detested when I was smoking. When those who do smoke around me, I try hard to remember what it was like when I was quitting and God grants me the grace to be quiet.
Which brings me to the point of part four: Praying within God’s will and His grace abundantly flows through us. Make it a daily thing to pray God’s word over yourself. The more you pray His word, the deeper within His will you root, and the better fruit you will produce.
God told Cain when he got angry, Genesis 4:7 “If you do well, is there not exaltation? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is toward you; but you should rule over it.” This was before Cain succumbed to his anger and murdered his brother Able. God knows before we do something and the Holy Spirit will warn us. Pray: Father, sin is beckoning me, help me to rule over it. Put Your desires in my heart.
Proverbs 10:18 He who hides hatred with lying lips, and he who sends out a slander, he is a fool. Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise shall be wise, but one associating with fools shall be broken. Proverbs 14:16 The wise fears and departs from evil, but the fool rages and is sure. Pray: Father, please surround me with wise friends with good counsel, keep the fools far from me. Please help to depart from this evil.
God knows precisely what we are facing. He knows how hard it is to break addictive behavior. David prayed an extremely emotional prayer in Psalms 38— Psa 38:1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O Jehovah, do not rebuke me in Your wrath, and do not chasten me in Your fury. 2 For Your arrows sink in me, and Your hand presses heavily on me. 3 There is no soundness in my flesh because of Your anger; nor peace in my bones because of my sin. 4 For my iniquities have passed over my head; as a heavy burden too heavy for me. 5 My wounds have putrefied and rotted because of my foolishness. 6 I am bent down, I am bowed down exceedingly; I went mourning all the day. 7 For my loins are filled with a burning, and there is no soundness in my flesh. 8 I am exceedingly benumbed and crushed. I howl from the groanings of my heart. 9 My Lord, all my desire is before You, and my sighing is not hidden from You. 10 My heart throbs; my power forsakes me! And the light of my eyes, they also are not with me. God knows this is how you are feeling, but pray it anyway. Bring every thing to Him, every thought, every temptation, every joy, every baby step, every victory. He is much bigger than any problem or addiction that Satan can fathom.
Psalm 16:1 A Secret Treasure of David.Watch over me, O God, for I take refuge in You. Pray: LORD Almighty, keep me safe, keep my heart and my thoughts pure, for I take refuge in You, and You banish sin from Your presence.
Psalm 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; let the fire purify and make clean my thoughts and my heart. Pray: Lord, your deepest desire is that your children look like you with the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Guard my mind and let no unseemly thoughts burst into full bloom. Guard my heart, for out of the heart comes the essence of the soul. Keep my heart from harboring evil desires. Put to sword all those desires that are not of your making. Psalm 51 Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not from your presence, but draw me close to your heart so that your desires are my desires, your will is my will. Keep me with a short leash, LORD, so that I may not sin against you.
Just remember to drink from God's well of living water. The addiction serves up sewer water. Which would you rather drink?
How many of the Psalms are David’s cries for help from the Almighty? Remember that Jesus prayed for you specifically just before He went to the cross (John 17:20-26). He counted you worthy of His life. No greater love has a man that that he lays his life down for his friends. That is the kind of love Jesus has for us, yes, just as we are, warts and all. Jesus sees past the shame to the joy beyond the cross and beyond our sin. Take heart in that. See beyond the addiction to the joy of freedom, and hold fast to that because God’s hand is fastened around you. Nothing can snatch you from His hand, John 10:28-29.