We tend to pick up bad habits rather quickly. Hebrews 12:1 talks about “the sin which doth so easily beset us.” It is not hard or difficult for us to be tripped up in our lives. For this reason, many people pick up a bad habit and never seem to get victory over it. Consequently, their bad habit turns into a stronghold.
If you have bad habits that have not been conquered, please remember that God never intended us to live at the mercy of our flesh. Some may seem to give up and say, “Well, that’s something I just have to live with for the rest of my life.” We may have to live with the future consequences for our actions or decisions, but God’s plan was never for us to live with a personal vice that takes away our effectiveness as a Christian, spouse, employer, employee, or soulwinner. Every weakness and bad habit in our lives can be conquered with God’s help.
Allow me to give three basic ways to overcome a bad habit that has turned into a stronghold:
- Memorizing Scripture. Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful.” The power is in the Scripture. Jesus was tempted by the devil three times and each time He responded back “It is written” to every attempt. He used the Scripture to refute Satan’s attacks.
- Jesus also used the appropriate Scripture to battle the specific temptation of Satan. We would all agree that memorizing Scripture yields tremendous dividends, but it becomes especially more effective when we memorize the Scripture that deals with our specific weakness. When we use the Bible as a medicine chest to deal with our weaknesses, we will surely begin to see healing.
- Fasting. Mark 9:29, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” Jesus spoke this to his disciples after they encountered a very powerful demon in a young boy. The disciples had cast out demons and healed many people before this particular boy, but they didn’t have the power to cleanse this young man. There may be some strongholds in our lives that will not be broken by basic Christian living (regular devotions, prayer, church attendance, etc.), but will require something beyond our normal faithfulness. Fasting, doing without food, can bring victory in these situations. Isaiah 58 gives us many great benefits of fasting, but verse 6 tells us that fasting can “loose the bands of wickedness.” Doing without food for a period of time is a powerful way of breaking a bad habit that has become a stronghold.
- Accountability. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one…For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow.” Sometimes the positive peer pressure of being accountable to someone can be all you need. Set up someone to be accountable to each week through email, a phone call, or by meeting with him or her.
There are many great pairs in the Bible: David had Jonathon, Elijah had Elisha, Paul had Timothy, James had John, Moses had Joshua, and Gideon had Pharaoh. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs. There is something to being accountable to someone.
Paul tells us in II Corinthians 10:4, “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;).” Any stronghold in our lives can be conquered with God’s help using God’s power and doing it God’s way.