How many New Year’s resolutions have you made, and not been able to sustain?
How many times have you quit habits and gotten hooked again?. . .
Worse than before?
Luke 11:24-26 explains why it often happens this way.
“When an evil spirit comes out of a person, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest. But when it finds no place, it says, ‘I will go back to the house I left.’ And when it comes back, it finds that house swept clean and made neat. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings seven other spirits more evil than it is, and they go in and live there. So the person has even more trouble than before.”
Do you notice the problem? The evil has been removed, but the place left EMPTY. Room has been left for it to be refilled.
WHAT is the solution? Romans 13:14
What could disobeying this command – and making provision for the flesh – look like?
Make a goal to watch less television, then sign up for the 400 channel special.
Buy a cart-full of after-holiday candy and put it in the freezer “for after the diet goal is reached”
Postpone the goal until after one last smoke, drink, gaze, holiday binge…whatever.
So, HOW can we avoid the worse-than-before syndrome?
Rather than sloughing-off the external symptoms of inner decay – to “try” to break the old habit hoping to make room for the new, we first replace it. God’s Word directs us to the formula in James 4:7: “Submit, therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
In scripture to Put Off is not so much “To take off or discard” as in put off a sweater, but more so to repel, resist, or repulse; and Put ONisnot merely to cover, To clothe oneself with; as to put on a coat, but To apply; activate: put on the brakes.
Resolutions almost always fail if we depend on our own strength to accomplish any changes, and make no allowance for permanent change.
How can we make no provision for the flesh?
By the putting ON the character of Christ – and therefore new, Godly, desires. By allowing God to so fill our souls there is room for none else but Him.
A great illustration of this comes from a (free!) online classes at Setting Captives Free. The food addiction class, The Lord’s Table, likens it to FIRST pulling up to a feast with the Lord, and eating our fill of all our favorite “real” life-giving and health-keeping food. I mean filled. Full to capacity. Sated. Satisfied. Not room for another bite or sip of anything.
Then the junk is brought out. Just looking at it and smelling it makes you feel ill. You wonder why you ever craved it.
Now imagine each “room” in you, God’s temple. Is there empty space in any of the rooms, closets, or secret places that leaves room for the enemy to enter and take control? If so, let’s get in the Word and fill it.
Fill my cup, Lord;
I lift it up Lord;
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven, feed me till I want no more.
Fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.