3 Ways to Overcome Disempowering Habits with the Word of God
For years I battled an addiction to alcohol. When the thought or desire came upon me to consume alcohol, I felt like I had to drink. In the later years of my addiction, I no longer felt like I had the freedom to choose. It was a living hell.
After going to counseling, support groups, retreats, reading countless books, going to Church, going to confession hundreds of times, asking God for help, asking others for help, begging for help, failing, discouragement, and so many humiliating moments…I finally learned how to use the God’s Word as my secret weapon.
Now that I am armed, I can say that today I am finally free. Whoop whoop.
One of the greatest revelations I have learned in the restoration process is this: I can choose my thoughts and think things on purpose. In other words, I don’t have to just think about whatever falls into my mind. This was a life-changing awakening for me because, as Proverbs 23:7 says, “As he [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he.“
Now God is concerned about the hidden man of the heart, which is our inner life. Our inner life is what we ponder. And like the scripture above says, the way we think determines how we live and who we are. That’s why it is important to be aware of our thoughts.
For example, when the desire to consume alcohol came over me, I subconsciously told myself, “There’s no way out, I have to drink, I no longer have a choice.” You see, I believed I was already defeated before I took one sip of alcohol.
I wasn’t even aware that I was telling myself these self-defeating lies, or that an opposing force in the spiritual world could have that much power over me.
It’s so important for us to understand this because if we don’t learn how to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 10:4-5), we won’t live the life Jesus died to give us – a life of inner peace and freedom. A life that is led by the power of the Holy Spirit and a clear conscience, that brings joy, better relationships, and a natural, better version of ourselves.
How in the world can we be the best version of ourselves, if we are walking around feeling defeated all the time?
I believe our enemy, who Jesus calls “The Father of Lies,” wants to make us ineffective. Ineffective at living in freedom, ineffective with loving people, ineffective with forgiving people, ineffective at being a representative of Christ. Satan wants to defeat us, or better yet, make us believe we aren’t even in a war. He is a liar.
If the “Father of Lies” can make us think we are defeated before we even make it to work in the morning, he has succeeded in making us ineffective.
It comes down to choosing to believe what God says (the truth) more than we believe our feelings, what other people say, or our circumstances.
The Word of God specifically talks about three things we must do to develop a mind that agrees with God. I want to share the benefits of each of them.
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”Colossians 3:2
When we make up our mind ahead of time of what we will and won’t do, then when temptation comes, we have laid a foundation to make the right choices and are more likely to overcome the temptation successfully. For example, now I have learned to visualize the outcome that I want. I have learned to focus on what I want, a Spirit-led and peaceful life full of love and fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22).
Now, I have learned to imagine myself going to the grocery store where I see myself walking in peace through the whole store, even if I am passing near the liquor aisle.
I make a decision before I go to the store. “I will return with a clean heart, a clean spirit, and a clear conscience, and I will continue living a Spirit-led, fruitful life.”
My point here is–-we don’t want to wait until the temptation comes and then react based on how we feel about it. This is a practical way to live out the Scripture, “ Set our minds on things that are above.”
It’s like a fighter who is about to step into the ring for a fight. If he imagines himself winning or defeated before the fight begins, he is more than likely correct.
Action Step: Imagine success and make a decision before the situation arises, especially in an area where you are struggling to have victory.
Also, check out Tammi’s post on How a Limited Mindset Stifles Healing.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.“Romans 12:2
The Word of God is like daily medicine to me now; it’s the number ONE way I have been able to overcome the greatest temptations in my life.
If I don’t take my medicine, I feel the effects. Some of the ways I “take my daily medicine” of the Word is to listen to daily podcasts, Chrisitan radio, go to daily Mass, and take a few minutes to digest the readings before Mass.
One of my favorite ways to renew my mind is to use Lectio Divina. It’s a way to allow the Word of God to speak to you, yes you. God has a specific message for you in His Living Word.
At the end there is a link for a Lectio Divina Beginners Guide, and it will teach you more about how to do it. The Catholic Church regards Lectio Divina as one of the most powerful forms of prayer.
If you need to renew your mind, do it. I promise you won’t regret it. After all,
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword.”HebREWS 4:12
Action Step: Click on the scripture readings for today, and practice Lectio Divina. To find the scripture readings for the day, you can click here.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.”1 Peter 1: 13-15
To me, this says, “Get it together, girl, we are heading in for a battle. Put on your big girl panties, you are gonna need ‘em for this.”
I am not sure about you, but this scripture tells me to stop justifying my childish actions and sinful behavior. Regardless of whatever that is, it tells me to:
- Prepare my mind
- Be Sober
- Set my hope fully on the grace that WILL be brought to me
- Be obedient (AKA: don’t gossip, forgive, love others, stop overeating, etc.)
- Don’t be conformed to former thoughts and feelings of defeat
- Be holy on all my conduct (including calling my friend to talk about a disagreement I had with my husband)
From my perspective, this Scripture feels like a spiritual pep talk, and it is also very practical about what I need to be doing in order to win. For me, a “win” means freedom, joy, and peace. A “win” is being able to hear the voice of God in my heart tell me to do or say something/or don’t do/say something. It’s being obedient to whatever that is, and then watching God do the rest. It means being a really good partner with God. A “win” is doing whatever I need to do so that God can rely on me to be faithful and do His work. When I am obedient in the small things, it helps me to be obedient in bigger things. The best part about it is watching God work through it all.
For me, this means I don’t overeat, I give to the poor, I quickly forgive those who hurt me, and I am 100% sober in body, mind, and spirit.
Action Step: Ask the Spirit of Truth to show you one way you can be more fully obedient to the God’s Word. Be quiet for a few minutes while the Holy Spirit speaks to you.
One practical way to implement these scriptures into your everyday life is to have a time of meditation AND visualization every day. If you are struggling in a particular area of your life, like I did for over a decade, spend time imagining yourself living with love, peace, and freedom. Imagine what it would look like to conquer that area/habit in your life that is disempowering to you. Imagine what it would be like if you gave God 100% permission to take over that area of your life.
Imagine yourself helping others in the very area where you feel defeated and, most importantly, arm yourself with the God’s Word.
My two absolute favorite scriptures that I say out loud regularly are:
Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.”1 John 4:4
I can do all things in Christ who is my strength.”Philippians 4:13
My dear friends, you are not defeated. You can change your mind and empower yourself with the SUPERNATURAL POWER that comes from God’s word. Pick up your weapon if you want a change in your life:
- Know your enemy is a liar and wants you to be ineffective.
- You have the right to bear arms, so PICK UP YOUR WEAPON, which is the Word of the Living God.
Sending you love,