Ever have a habit you want to get rid of? I’m not referring to a nun talking about her wardrobe. I am referring to a habit you’d like to get rid of: drinking, smoking, gossiping, or over- spending. In my case, it was what might seem a minor thing to you, but it was major to me: nail-biting. A habit can be that thorn in the flesh that irritates and grows to infect one’s relationship with God (and everyone else). You might consider it tiny, but nail biting was my thorn in the flesh: the pain, the habit, the embarrassment. As a teen, my dad said he could always find me in a crowd because my hands were in my face: an edge, hangnail, any excuse to bite, chew, rip, shred, tear, destroy my nails down to the quick. Nail biting was a definite sign of my inner anxiety.
THIS WAS NOT AN “I CAN HANDLE IT MYSELF” SITUATION
Sustaining some habits may actually require buying a substance. Nails, however, were always on hand – just lift & chew. I did that for 70+ years (maybe I even started in the womb). Two attempts to break my habit were short-lived. Then around 2010, I fervently prayed for help. I finally realized this was not an “I can handle it myself” situation, but one I was ready to work with the Lord to stop. His Holy Spirit spoke to me often: “No, George; George, put that hand down; George, just go use the clippers”. This time, through His strength, I was able to trust and obey and have not relapsed since. God healed me.
TO BE A WILLING PARTICIPANT
It is wonderful news that God, through the Holy Spirit can get rid of that habit for you. However, to receive the Holy Spirit’s help, you have to be a willing participant. We have examples in the Bible where people actually fought God over their habits of sin. The Israelites fought God when He tried to get them to give up all the destructive habits they had picked up from living in Egypt. The church in Corinthians was in an uproar when God wanted to clean up their immoral lifestyles. Remember, a habit can be that thorn in the flesh that irritates and grows to infect our relationship with God. Both the Israelites and the Corinthians were miserable because of their habits.
TO CONSISTENTLY FOLLOW
I love this summary: The first resource the Bible mentions in our effort to overcome sin is the Holy Spirit. God has given us the Holy Spirit so we can be victorious in Christian living. God contrasts the deeds of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:16-25. In that passage we are called upon to walk in the Spirit. All believers already possess the Holy Spirit, but this passage tells us that we need to walk in the Spirit, yielding to His control. This means choosing to consistently follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting in our lives rather than following the flesh. (For further information, click: (https://www.gotquestions.org/victory-over-sin.html)
ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT’S HELP
Do you have a problem? Too much sugar? Overspending? Organizing your time so that you miss time with God? Losing your temper? Being the source of information when things should be held in confidence? Maybe you even have my habit of anxious nail biting? If you’re serious about stopping, ask for the Holy Spirit’s help, then listen and obey. Is it a magic panacea? No, God wants you as a willing participant. He’s a personal God who loves and cares for you, but He wants a willing, humble heart. Reach out, then listen to Him and obey.