Hypocrisy

HYPOCRISY

 

DEFINITIONHypocrisy is the claim or pretense of holding standards, beliefs, qualities opinions, virtues, and behaviors that one does not actual possess.  In a biblical sense, a hypocrite confesses and claims salvation and spiritual maturity when they are actually void of these qualities. Some versions of the Bible translate “hypocrite” as “godless person.”  A hypocrite is one who acts a false part, makes a false profession, and is a deceiver, imposter, and cheater.

FACTS ABOUT HYPOCRISY:

Hypocrisy is instigated by Satan.  The Word describes Satan as a “liar,” and that is exactly what hypocrites do:  They lie and deceive.  1 Timothy 4:2 speaks of “deceiving spirits”, and that is what operates in the lives of hypocrites.

Hypocrisy is sinful.   Because lies and deceit are condemned by God, they are sinful.

There are hypocrites in every realm of life.  Just as you would not judge all businessmen by one dishonest businessman, do not judge true believers by what you see in the life of a hypocrite.

Jesus taught against hypocrisy.  He condemned the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of the day, for their hypocrisy.  See Matthew 6:2-6 and Matthew 23:13-32.

Hypocrites are legalists.  First Timothy 4:3 states that hypocrites forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods. They demand of others what they, themselves, do not adhere to (Matthew 23:2-3).

Hypocrites are critical.  Jesus described them as being concerned over a “speck of sawdust” in the eyes of others, while ignoring the “plank” in their own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5).

Their worship is in vain.  Jesus said that hypocrites honor Him with their speech, but their hearts are far from Him, so their worship is in vain (Matthew 15:7-9).

Hypocrites look good on the outside.  By outward appearances, you might think they are true believers, but they are not (Luke 11:39-44).

Hypocrites teach demonic doctrines.  According to 1 Timothy 4:3, deceiving spirits and things taught by demons cause people to abandon the faith.

DEALING WITH  HYPOCRISY:

Ask God to forgive you if you have been living a hypocritical life.  Hypocrisy is sin, and as all sin, must be confessed and forgiven.

Study the Word of God.  The Word is truth and will help you live in truth rather than by deceitful doctrines that foster hypocrisy.

Separate yourself from hypocrites.  Do not make hypocrites your close friends because you become like those with whom you associate (Proverbs 22:24).

Do not sit under the teaching of hypocrites.  If the life-style of your minister, teacher, or spiritual leader does not line up with their confession, do not continue to sit under their teaching.  It is deceptive and will cause you to depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1-2).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HYPOCRISY:

For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he may gain much, if God takes away his life? (Job 27:8, NKJV)

The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered. (Proverbs 11:9, NKJV)

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  (Matthew 6:2-6)

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:3-5)

You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:  “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Matthew 15:7-9)

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. (Matthew 23:2-3)

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.    Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are. Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’  You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred?  You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred?  Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.  And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it.  And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.  Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.  And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’  So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.  Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers! You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?  (Matthew 23:13-32)

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men. (Mark 7:6-8)

Then the Lord said to him, “Now then, you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You foolish people! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also?  But give what is inside [the dish] to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.  Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all

other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.  Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.  Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which men walk over without knowing it.”  (Luke 11:39-44)

Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? (Luke 12:56)

Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely. (Luke 20:46-47)

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

Hopelessness

HOPELESSNESS

 

DEFINITION:   Hope is an optimistic attitude of anticipation and confidence based on expectations of positive outcomes in the circumstances of one’s life, the future, and the world at large.  Hopelessness is the loss of hope.

FACTS ABOUT HOPELESSNESS:

The Bible is the ultimate source of eternal hope.  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).

What you think is a faith crisis may be a hope crisis.  Hebrews 11:1 speaks of faith being the substance of hope.  If you are hopeless, you have no substance for your faith and it is affected.

Some causes of hopelessness include associating with negative people, unanswered prayer, failure to control your thoughts, disappointment in other people, devastating circumstances, world conditions, and weariness from prolonged adversity.

How hope can be generated.  Hope comes by making peace with God through Jesus, rejoicing in the hope of your eternal destination, and rejoicing despite sufferingsTherefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”  (Romans 5:1-5).

Hope is an anchor for your spiritual experience.  Hebrews 6:19 refers to hope as an “anchor of the soul”.  As an anchor prevents a boat from drifting off course, hope will do likewise for you spiritually. Hope continually pulls you back to the ways of God.  Hope is related to your heart condition because “hope deferred makes the heart sick”  (Proverbs 13:12).  Hope is related to your joy, in that you rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12). Hope is also related to your salvation, as you are saved by hope (Romans 8:24).

DEALING WITH  HOPELESSNESS:

Ask God to renew your hope.  “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

Put your hope in God instead of man.  Very often, hopelessness results when you have been disappointed by trusting in man instead of God. The Psalmist said:  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him” (Psalm 62:5).

Spend time in God’s Word.  It is the source of eternal hope and your hope will be renewed as you study and practice its mandates.  The Word of God was given so that we, through the scriptures, might have hope (Romans 15:4).

Choose hope-filled associates.  Do not maintain close relationships with people who are negative, despondent, and hopeless.  You learn the ways of those with whom you associate (Proverbs 22:24).

Control your mind.   Negative, uncontrolled thoughts often lead to hopelessness.  See the topic of “Mind And Thoughts” in this database.

Encourage yourself in the Lord as the psalmist did  (1 Samuel 30:6).  He said:  “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).

Realize the purpose of tribulation is not to create hopelessness, rather it leads to developing hope:  “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:3-5).

Start a gratitude journal where you record what God is doing for you and the things for which you are grateful.   When you see how God is working in your life and all the things for which you can be thankful, your hope will be strengthened.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HOPELESSNESS:

No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.  (Psalm 25:3)

You are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. (Psalm 25:5)

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. (Psalm 31:24)

May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:22)

Those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  (Psalm 37:9)

For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth.  (Psalm 39:7)

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. (Psalm 42:5)

In your name I will hope, for your name is good. (Psalm 52:9)

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. (Psalm 62:5)

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. (Psalms 71:5)

But as for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:14)

I have put my hope in your word. (Psalm 119:74)

Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. (Psalm 119:116)

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word.  (Psalm 119:81)

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.  (Proverbs 13:12).

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him.  (Lamentations 3:21-25);

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.  (Romans 5:1-5)

But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. (Romans 8:24-25)

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  (Romans 12:12)

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  (2 Corinthians 3:12)

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:18-19)

Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:12-13)

There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to one hope when you were called–one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation–if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. (Colossians 1:21-23)

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15)

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,  encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.  (1 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,  while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,  who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.  (Titus 2:11-14)

… so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:7)

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19)

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].  (Hebrews 11:1, AMP)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ form the dead.
(1 Peter 1:3)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade–kept in heaven for you,  who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (1 Peter 3:15-16)

Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (1 John 3:3)

Homosexuality

HOMOSEXUALITY

 

DEFINITION: Homosexuality is sexual attraction and sexual intimacy with the same sex–men with men, women with women.  The term “homosexual” is used to denote men who engage in such practices, and the term “lesbian” is used for females.  In some cultures homosexuals are also referred to as being “gay”.  Related terms are “transvestite’–one who wears clothing of the opposite sex for sexual gratification–and “transsexuals”, people who claim to be of the opposite sex and sometimes seek surgery and hormone therapy in order to become so.

FACTS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY:

Views about homosexuality.  In the past, homosexuality was viewed by most people as being abnormal.  In many nations now, the trend is towards acceptance.  But the attitudes of people and society are not the important issue. What God says about homosexuality has not changed:  “Forever, O Lord. Your word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89, NKJV).

Homosexuality is sin. Romans 1 explains how homosexuality develops.  It is not learned behavior and you are not born that way, neither do you become that way because of your environment.  We are all born with the basic sin nature, and homosexuality is one manifestation of sin. As with all sins, forgiveness from God must be sought by one engaging in such activities.

Homosexuality is classified as fornication in the Bible.  Fornication is sexual intercourse between people who are not married according to the biblical definition of marriage–which is one man with one woman.  Any form of sexual activity outside of marriage is considered fornication by the Bible.  Homosexuality is just one of several sins that are called fornication.

Jesus condemned fornication.  In Matthew 19:1-8, Jesus condemned any sinful sexual relationships outside of marriage–which includes homosexuality.  The established order was to be one man married to and engaging in sex with one woman for life.  Homosexuality is a departure from God’s established order for the sexes.

The book of Jude condemns “strange flesh.”  It describes how certain men in the church had gone after “strange flesh”,  which means “another flesh with the same quality.” A so-called “gay or homosexual church” is not part of the true church because they are not teaching and living by the mandates of God’s Word.

A practicing homosexual who refuses to repent is not a Christian. If you are a practicing homosexual, you are sinning according to God’s Word.  As with any  sin and other acts of fornication, a true believer can be tempted and drawn into this sin through his lust.  But, as with all regressions into evil, you must seek forgiveness and extricate yourself immediately from the sinful lifestyle.

A person who claims to be bi-sexual–desiring and having relations with both men and women–is committing fornication according to the Word of God.

Homosexuality, as all sin, will be judged by God.  The good news is that you can be forgiven and escape this judgment:  “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

You can be set free from homosexuality.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, TLB)

You can overcome homosexual temptation.  “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  (1 Corinthians 10:13).

DEALING WITH  HOMOSEXUALITY:

Do not reject a relative or friend if they are a practicing homosexual or lesbian.  Continue to love and pray for them just as you would someone who is unsaved and bound by drugs, prostitution, or other immoral conduct.  Condemn the sin, not the sinner.  You must, however, take a firm scriptural stand when questioned.

If you are a homosexual or lesbian seeking help, the first step is to agree with what God says about it.  It is sin.  It is not learned behavior and you were not born that way.

Ask God for forgiveness.  Homosexuality is sin, and as with any sin it must be confessed and forgiven.  If you are not a born-again believer, accepting Christ as your Savior is the first step towards eliminating homosexuality.  If you are a believer who has been tempted and/or committed homosexual acts, ask God for forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9).

Pray a prayer of deliverance.  Ask God to deliver you from homosexuality and to restore a healthy, God-given sexual desire.

Do not associate with practicing homosexuals.  Seek friends who are not involved in or sympathetic towards the homosexual lifestyle.

Do a spiritual housecleaning.  If you have any music, videos, pictures,  literature, or clothing that promotes homosexuality, get rid of it.  If you are a member of a “gay” group, resign.  Remove any homosexual sites from your Internet links.

Renew your mind and keep your new commitment through the Word of God, prayer, and affiliation with a Bible-believing church.

Know that you will be tempted again.  Satan will return to tempt you, but you can be assured on the basis of God’s Word that…”No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  (1 Corinthians 10:13).  When Satan comes with temptation, take control of your mind immediately, submit yourself to God, rebuke Satan, and he will depart  (James 4:7).  Take the way of escape!

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY:

They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing.” (Genesis 19:5-7)

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. (Leviticus 18:22)

If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable… (Leviticus 20:13)

For a man’s ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21)

The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom (a city that flaunted homosexuality); they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves. (Isaiah 3:9)

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. (Romans 1:26-27)

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  (Romans 6:11-14, 22-23)

Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1 Corinthians 6:13)

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.  (1 Corinthians 6:18-19)

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.  (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17, TLB)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:19-21)

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. (Ephesians 2:1-5)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;  to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  (Ephesians 4:22-24)

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (Ephesians 5:3)

Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:5)

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;  and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.  (Hebrews 2:18)

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)

No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:6)

Healing

HEALING

 

DEFINITIONHealing, as used in a biblical sense, refers to being made whole and restored  spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. It is also called divine healing because it is when the one true God reveals His nature, fulfills His promises, and acts upon His provision in the atonement of Christ by curing a person and making him whole in body, soul, and spirit.

FACTS ABOUT HEALING:

Sickness entered the world through sin.  God never intended for the spiritual sickness of sin or  emotional, mental, or physical illness to be part of our world.  Sickness entered the world through  sin (Genesis 3).  Although God sometimes uses it as punishment on sinners (Deuteronomy 28:22-35), sickness is not a sign of personal sin.  See the story of the man born blind in John 9.

Reasons for sickness.  Although sickness entered the world through sin, not all sickness is caused by personal sin.  Spiritual sickness is, of course, caused by sin and it is true that sometimes physical conditions result from sin. But sickness can also result from a violation of natural laws, i.e., improper diet, overworking, lack of exercise, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or even violating the natural law of gravity. Satanic attacks also result in sickness as in the case of Job (Job chapter 2).  Some sickness is caused by demons.  See the accounts in Matthew 12:22-23; Matthew 9:32-33; Mark 9:25; and Luke 13:11.

God views sickness as captivity (Job 42:10); bondage (Luke 13:16); and oppression (Acts 10:38).

Healing is a gift from God.  The psalmist declared:  “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits–who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases”  (Psalms 103:1-3).

All true healing comes from God, even when the gifts of natural or medical means are used.

Spiritual healing–salvation from sin–is the greatest healing.  It addresses sinful behaviors that need to be corrected. Spiritual “sickness” is anything that adversely affects your spirit.

Emotional healing  is the healing of damaged emotions.  No wound is so deep that God cannot heal it.  A wounded spirit is difficult to bear (Proverbs 18:13).  This is why you need inner healing.  Your spirit becomes wounded by sin (Psalm 38:4-6,8); by your enemies (Psalm143:3-4,7);  and through anger, bitterness, and unforgiveness. These attitudes must be dealt with in order to receive emotional healing.

Mental healing is a healing of your mind from hurts, actual brain damage, or wrong thinking.  (See also  “Mind And Thoughts” in this database. )

God has redeemed you from the curse of sin.  This includes the curse of sickness that resulted from sin (Galatians 3:13).  This does not mean you will never be sick, but it does mean that healing is available for every condition.

Healing is a benefit of the death of Jesus on the cross.  The prophet Isaiah declared: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

Some believe that divine healings no longer occur, but the Bible says  Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  As Jesus healed in Bible times, so He heals today. There are also many medically documented healings that have occurred after prayer to God.

Doctors and legitimate medicines are not in opposition to the Bible.  Every good gift–such as doctors, legitimate medicines, and natural remedies–come from God   (James 1:17).  There is no conflict between divine healing and medical healing.   Even when doctors and medications are used to facilitate healing, the ultimate healing is from God.

God heals all sickness and diseases–event those classified as incurable or terminal by medicine, because nothing is impossible to God (Luke 1:37).

All believers can minister healing. Jesus declared:  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover”   (Mark 16:17-18).

Some believers have a special gift of healing.  First Corinthians 12:9 speaks of those who have a special gift of ministering healing.

There is a sickness unto death;  John 11:4 speaks of a sickness that was not unto death.  Second Kings 13:14 speaks of a time when Elisha was sick of the illness of which he would die.  As a believer, you should continue to pray for healing unless God reveals that it is a person’s time to die.  Sometimes a person will say, “I am ready and believe it is my time to go be with the Lord.”  If they have that assurance, then you need to help them prepare by setting things in order and being with them in death. Draw encouragement from 1 Corinthians 15:51-55; Psalm 116:15; 2 Corinthians 5:1-8.

Not everyone is healed immediately.  Job was healed when he forgave his friends and prayed for them. Unforgiveness can block healing, as can personal sin.  Sometimes a person does not receive healing because they don’t believe in divine healing.  Some people don’t really want healing because they are using their illness as an excuse not to work or to draw government assistance.   Jesus delayed ministering to Lazarus because He had a greater miracle planned.   There are many variables involved in healing, and we cannot accurately judge why healing does not occur immediately. This is one of the secret things that belongs to the Lord (Deuteronomy 29:29).  Not everyone who hears the gospel gets saved.  Not everyone to whom healing is ministered receives healing.

The end result of sickness for a believer is that it is either for the glory of God through divine healing (John 9:3) or it is a sickness unto death to usher you into Christ’s presence ( 2 Kings 13:14).  As a believer, you will be either healed in time or eternity, but you will be healed.

DEALING WITH  HEALING:

Determine the healing needed. Is its spiritual, emotional, mental, or physical or a combination of these?  In order to be whole, each of these areas must be healed.  For example, a person may ask for healing for a vision problem, but he may not know Jesus as Savior and his greater need is for spiritual healing.

Study what God’s Word says about healing. This will increase your faith to receive and minister healing.

Eliminate any preconceived notions concerning healing.  Doctrines such as “healing is not for today” must be eliminated in order to believe for healing.  Just as one believes and confesses the Lord Jesus in order to be saved, one must believe and confess He heals in order to be healed.

Seek first the greatest miracle of spiritual healing.  Healing from sin is vital to healing in the mental, emotional, and physical realms.  If you do not know Christ as your Savior, you need a spiritual healing.

Determine if any conditions are caused by errant behavior.  For example, smoking, drugs, and alcohol addictions can affect a person physically, emotionally, and mentally.  The behaviors contributing to conditions in any area must be bound spiritual and revoked lest “a worse thing come upon you”  (John 5:14).

Pray for healing.  If the condition is caused by demons, pray for deliverance.  If you need an emotional healing, confess your feelings to God and ask Him to heal your inner wounds.  Bind Satanic influences over your mind if you need a mental deliverance.  Pray for physical healing if you are sick.   If you are in a Bible believing church, call for the elders to anoint and pray over you:  “Is any of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:14-15).

Receive your healing by faith.  Just as you received salvation by faith–with no immediate visible signs apparent–so you can receive healing by faith even if there are no immediate signs are apparent. Sometimes there are miraculous signs accompanying a healing.  At other times, the healing occurs gradually.  When you receive salvation, the outward changes in your life are apparent gradually, and the same is sometimes true in healing.

Act upon your healing.  James 2:17 says that faith without action is dead.  Do something you could not do before prayer.  For example, if you could not bend over, bend over.  If you have been under a doctor’s care, return to your doctor to confirm your healing.

Maintain your healing.  Stand in faith on the Word of God.  Rather than believing your symptoms, believe God’s Word.  Continue to stand on the promises of healing in God’s Word.  Commit yourself to total trust in God for healing.  Change your lifestyle, if your former way of life contributed to your sickness.  Resist the attempts by Satan to cause sickness to return.

Do not become discouraged if healing is not received immediately. Some healings in the Bible were instantaneous, others were delayed.  Continue to pray for healing.  Continue to build your faith in the Word of God.  Where applicable, change your lifestyle and eliminate sinful and unhealthy practices.  Claim the promises of God for healing.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HEALING:

Old Testament

Genesis 17:18-19:  God promised to heal Sara’s barrenness.

Genesis 21:1-7:  Sara’s barrenness is healed.

Genesis 20:17:  God healed Abimelech.

Exodus 4:1-18:  Moses’ leprous hand.

Exodus 15:25-26: God reveals His name as “Jehovah-Rapha” which means, “The Lord Your Physician.”  He promised that none of the diseases of Egypt would come upon Israel.

Exodus 23:25:  God promised to take away sickness from among His people.

Leviticus 13:1-46; 14:1-32:  Regulations regarding leprosy.

Leviticus 15:1-33:  Health regulations.

Leviticus 16:29-30:  Healing of sins.

Numbers 12:1-15:  Leprosy of Miriam and Aaron.

Numbers 16:41-50:  A plague affects Israel.

Numbers 21:4-9:  Healing through the symbolic serpent of brass.

Deuteronomy 7:15:  Obedience to God results in health.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68: Sickness results when you do not observe God’s law.

Deuteronomy 29:22:  The Lord lays sickness on the land.

Deuteronomy 30:20:  God is life and length of days.

Deuteronomy 32:39:  God wounds and heals.

Deuteronomy 7:15; 28:60:  Diseases of Egypt.

Judges 13:2-24:  Manoah’s wife is healed by a “man of God.”

1 Samuel 6:3:  A trespass offering brought healing.

1 Samuel 16:14-23:  An evil spirit troubles Saul.

1 Kings 5:23; 2 Chronicles 16:12:  Diseases in the feet.

1 Kings 8:37-40:  Plagues in the land.

1 Kings 13:4-6:  A man with a withered hand.

1 Kings 17:17-24:  Elijah raises a child from the dead.

2 Kings 1:2; 8:8-9:  Shall I recover of this disease?

2 Kings 2:19-22:  Healing of waters by Elisha.

2 Kings 4:8-37:  Raising of the Shunamite’s son.

2 Kings 5:1-14:  The healing of Naaman.

2 Kings 13:14,21:  Elisha is sick with a sickness unto death.

2 Kings 20:1-11:  Hezekiah’s illness.

2 Chronicles 6:26-31:  Prayer of repentance and sickness.

2 Chronicles 7:14:  “I will heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 16:12:  A man with a serious disease does not seek God.

2 Chronicles 20:9:  God hears when you cry in affliction.

2 Chronicles  21:12-30:  An incurable disease of the bowels.

2 Chronicles  24:25:  Disease is called great.

2 Chronicles 26:19:  Uzziah’s leprosy.

2 Chronicles 30:20:  Healing of people by Hezekiah’s prayers.

2 Chronicles 32:24-26:  Hezekiah’s illness.

Job l-2: These chapters reveal the sources of Job’s problems, including his sickness.

Job 5:18; 30:18:  Job talks about His disease.

Psalms 6:2-3:  “O Lord heal me.”

Psalms 27:1:  “The Lord is the strength of my life.”

Psalms 30:2:  “I cried and you healed me.”

Psalms 32:3-5:  Acknowledged sin results in healing.

Psalms 34:19-20:  “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

Psalms 38:3,7: Anger and sin affects your health; disease is called “loathsome.”

Psalms 41:1-8:  “Heal my soul for I have  sinned against thee.”  Disease is called evil.

Psalms 42:11; 43:5:  God is the health of your countenance.

Psalms 42:1-5:  Healing for a downcast spirit.

Psalms 55:1-2: Persevering prayer and healing.

Psalms 67:2:  “That Your way may be known upon earth, Your saving healing among all nations.”

Psalms 72:13:  You are to pity the weak.

Psalms 91:9,10:  “Neither shall any plague come nigh your dwelling.”

Psalms 103:1-5: “Forget not His benefits…Who heals all your diseases.”

Psalms 105:37:  Israel came forth without one feeble person among them.  Three million people were all well and strong.

Psalms 107:17-20:  “He sent His Word and healed them.”

Psalms 119:25-28:  You are strengthened by the Word.

Psalms 119:67:  “Before I was afflicted, I went astray.”

Psalms 147:3: “Who heals all your diseases.”  Healing for a broken heart.

Psalms 105:37:  “He brought them forth…not one feeble among them.”

Proverbs 3:7-8:  How to be healthy.

Proverbs 4:20-23:  The issues of life are affected by your heart attitude. God’s promises are life to those that find them and health to all their flesh.

Proverbs 12:18:  The tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:4,30:  A wholesome tongue is life; good reports affect health.

Proverbs 16:24:  The Word of God brings healing to the bones.

Proverbs 17:22:  A broken spirit affects the bones.

Ecclesiastes 3:3:  There is a time to heal.

Ecclesiastes 5:17:  Sorrow and wrath are related to sickness.

Isaiah 6:10:  Understanding, conversion, healing.

Isaiah 19:22:  When God is entreated He heals.

Isaiah 32:3-4:  Healing is part of the Kingdom of God.

Isaiah 33:24:  Inhabitants shall say, “I am not sick.”

Isaiah 35:5-6:  Healing in the Millennium.

Isaiah 38:1-12,16:  Hezekiah’s illness and his return to health.

Isaiah 53:5:  We are promised healing and deliverance through the atonement.

Isaiah 57:18-19:  Draw near for healing.

Isaiah 58:8:  Health shall spring forth.

Isaiah 61:1:  Jesus was sent to bind up the brokenhearted (emotional healing).

Isaiah 58:8:  Health springing forth speedily.

Jeremiah 3:22:  God heals backsliding when you return to Him.

Jeremiah 8:14-15; 20-22:  A time of healing.  Bitterness of sin is tied to physical health.

Jeremiah 15:18:  How to deal with an incurable wound.

Jeremiah 14:19:  Is there no healing for us?

Jeremiah 17:14:  “Heal me and I will be healed.”

Jeremiah 30:12-17:  God will restore health.

Jeremiah 33:6:  “I will cure them.”

Jeremiah 51:8-9:  Healing of Babylon.

Lamentations 2:13:  “Who can heal you?”

Lamentations 3:33:  “God does not willingly afflict.”

Ezekiel 14:19:  “Is there no healing for us?”

Ezekiel 17:14:  “Heal me and I will be healed.”

Ezekiel 30:17:  “I will restore health.”

Ezekiel 30:12-13:  Incurable wounds medicine cannot heal.

Ezekiel 30:21:  What God breaks cannot be healed.

Ezekiel 33:6:  “I will heal them.”

Ezekiel 34:4,16,21:  A warning to shepherds who have not healed.

Ezekiel 47:8-12:  Healing of the waters.

Daniel 4:34,36:  Nebuchadnezzar’s healing.

Hosea 5:13:  Man cannot cure a wound inflicted by God.

Hosea 6:1:  “He has torn and He will heal.”

Hosea 7:1:  Healing for Israel.

Hosea 11:3:  “They knew not I healed them.”

Hosea 14:4:  “I will heal their backslidings.”

Nahum 3:19:  A terminal condition.

Zechariah 11:16:  A warning to shepherds who do not heal.

Malachi 4:2:  Healing in His wings.

New Testament

Matthew 8:13:  The point of contact sets the time.

Matthew 8:17:  Jesus bore our sicknesses.

Matthew 10:1:  Power over sickness and demons is given to the disciples.

Matthew 18:19-21:  Any two agreeing receive what is asked.

Mark 2:17:  Christ came to heal sinners.

Mark 3:15-17:  Christ gives power to heal sicknesses.

Mark 4:18-19:  Healing is part of the anointing; Jesus was sent to heal.

Mark 11:24:  If you believe when you pray (not after you receive), you will receive.

Mark 16:18:  In Jesus’ name believers will heal sick and cast out demons.

Luke 5:31:  The sick need a physician.

Luke 7:6:  Unworthiness is viewed by Jesus as faith.

Luke 7:22-23:  The most convincing argument is experience.

Luke 17:6:  Small faith can bring great results.

Luke 18:7-8:  Do not give up before your answer comes.

John 6:53-58:  The body and blood of Jesus bring life.

John 10:10:  Jesus came so that you can have life.  Satan came to kill, steal, and destroy.

John 11:1-45:  A sickness not healed immediately leads to a greater miracle.

John 14:12-13:  The works Jesus did, you are to do.

John 15:7:  The importance of abiding in Christ in relation to asking and receiving.

John 16:24:  Ask in His name and you will receive.

Romans 2:4  The goodness of God leads to repentance.

2 Corinthians 4:16:  Your outward man perishes, but your inward man can be renewed.

Ephesians 3:20-21: God has the power to work in you above all that you ask or think.

Philippians 2:25-27:  The illness of Epaphroditus.

Colossians 4:14:  Luke, a physician, was part of Paul’s evangelistic team.

2 Timothy 4:20:  Trophimus’ illness.

Hebrews 4:15:  He is touched with your infirmities.

Hebrews 11:1:  Faith is the evidence of things (healing) not seen.

James 1:8:  You must ask in faith and not waver.

James 1:17:  Every good gift (healing, doctors, legitimate medicine) is from God.

James 5:14-15:  Call the elders for anointing with oil, the prayer of faith, healing, and forgiveness.

1 Peter 2:24:  You are healed by His wounds.

1 John 3:22:  Whatever you ask you can receive if you are obedient.

3 John 1:2:  Health is related to the condition of your soul.

Mark 7:36, 8:26; Matthew 8:4:  Do not sensationalize healing.

Revelation 20:2-3: When Satan is bound, there is no more sickness and death.

Revelation 21:4:  The final healing: No more sickness and death.

(For further biblical guidelines on healing, obtain the Harvestime International Network publication entitled “Battle For The Body” available at http://www.harvestime.org)

Hatred

HATRED

 

DEFINITIONHatred is an intense emotional feeling of hostility towards an individual, a group, or an authority figure in your life. 

FACTS ABOUT HATRED:

Hatred is often the root cause of negative emotions like anger, bitterness, rebellion, and hostility.

Hatred never operates in isolation.  According to the Word of God, “hatred stirs up strife” (Proverbs 10:12).  Hatred affects others around you because you become an angry and bitter person.

Hatred is multi-faceted.  It affects you spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  Many mental, emotional, and physical maladies have been linked to the negative emotion of hatred.

Hatred usually involves a refusal to forgive someone.

Hatred is sin.  The Bible states that if you hate your brother, you are in spiritual darkness (1 John 2 :9). God compares hatred to murder (1 John 3:15).

You cannot love God and hate someone.  The Bible declares: “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

DEALING WITH  HATRED:

Confess hatred as sin.  That is what it is, according to the Bible.  Ask God to forgive you.

Forgive the one who offended you.  You may need to confront the person and ask for or extend forgiveness.  You must resolve the root causes behind your hatred.

Pray for your enemy and extend mercy.  Luke 6:27-36  directs you to pray for your enemies, respond to their needs, and extend to them the same mercy that a merciful God has extended to you.

Keep your heart from hatred.  Do not allow bitterness and unforgiveness to fester into hatred. “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life”  (Proverbs 4:23, NKJV)  You “keep your heart” through prayer and study and application of God’s Word.

Ask God to release love to replace the hatred.  Study 1 Corinthians 13 and ask God to develop in your life the qualities of love listed there.

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HATRED:

Do not hate your brother in your heart. (Leviticus 19:17)

Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. (Psalm 28:3)

Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs. (Proverbs 10:12)

You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:43-44)

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.  Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them.  And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:27-36)

If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. (Luke 17:3)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (Galatians 5:19-21)

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1)

Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.  (1 John 2:9-11)

Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.  (1 John 3:15)

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20-21)

Habits

HABITS

DEFINITIONA habit is a routine behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.  It is a fixed way of thinking, feeling, and acting.

FACTS ABOUT HABITS:

There are good and bad habits.  All habits are not bad.  Habits like a daily devotional time, prayer, and study of God’s Word are good habits to foster.  Bad habits are the problems for which you should seek change.

Some examples of bad habits are addictions, laziness, being critical, gossiping, selfishness, cursing, etc. For believers, bad habits are anything that turn you from God and lead you to respond in an unbiblical way.

Habits begin in the mind.  Lust conceives the thought, the thought becomes an action, and the repeated action becomes a sinful habit (James 1:13-15).  Guard your thoughts because they become words and actions, these become habits, and habits affect your character.

Bad habits become strongholds.  Spiritually speaking, a stronghold is anything that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).  A stronghold is a spiritual point of operation from where Satan can attack you further.  Strongholds include things like sinful attitudes and addictions as well as habits that enslave you and result in you doing what you don’t want to do.

Habits can be changed.  The Bible says:   “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). Your spiritual weapons, described in Ephesians 6, have supernatural power to demolish strongholds  (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

DEALING WITH  HABITS:

Take personal responsibility for your bad habits.  Do not blame someone else because they modeled or taught you such behavior.

Analyze the root cause of your bad habit.  Why are you doing what you are doing?  When did you develop this habit?   For example, did you start smoking because everyone else was doing it? Discovering why you are doing something will help you conquer it.

Pray about your habits.  Confess sinful habits it to God, ask forgiveness, and claim His strength to help you overcome it (Philippians 4:13).

Put off  old habits and replace them with new.   For each bad habit, attitude, or behavior that the Bible admonishes you to put off,  you are also admonished to “put on”  good ones to replace them.   This means you deliberately–by a decision of your mind–cultivate the opposite of your negative behaviors.  See Appendix Three of this database for behaviors the Bible mandates believers to put off and the new qualities that are to replace them. Focus on building good habits rather than eliminating the bad (Ephesians 4:22-24).

Renew your mind in the Word of God.  Habitual behavior begins in the mind.  It starts as a decision to act or think in a certain way.  As you renew your mind with the Word of God, you will be transformed and break the power of  bad habits  (Romans 12:1-2).

Use the buddy system. If you are trying to break a bad habit like smoking or binge eating, find someone else who is wanting to eliminate the same habit and encourage one another in the process (James 5:16).

Conquer your bad habits in the strength of the Lord.  Philippians 4:13 declares that you can do all things through the strength given by Jesus Christ.  Hebrews 4:15-16 states that you will have help in times of need.

Develop positive spiritual habits.  Habits like a daily devotional time, prayer, and study of God’s Word are excellent habits to foster.

Use your spiritual weapons when Satan tempts you to resume old habits (Ephesians 6 and 2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  These weapons have supernatural power to demolish strongholds.  Submit yourself to God, resist the devil, and he will flee (James 4:7).

 

WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT HABITS:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds;  and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.  (Ephesians 4:22-24)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.  (Hebrews 4:15-16)

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  (James 1:13-15)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:8-10)