Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
Merriam-Webster describes the word habit in these three ways: a settled tendency or usual manner of behavior, an acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary, and a costume characteristic of a calling, rank, or function. I believed these descriptions described the word habit best because they all acknowledge habits as being external. It’s described as a tendency, a mode, or a costume. We all have habits. Some of us eat when we’re upset, some of us watch our favorite show every Wednesday night, and some of us purchase the latest Nikes just because. Regardless of what the habit is when you say them out loud you acknowledge that habits are external. You have a habit but that habit is something outside of who you are.
God wants you to know that sin is what you do and not who you are. As a Christian, when you confirmed Christ as your Lord and Savior, you chose to put off your old identity and put on your new identity in Christ. That means everything outside of Christ’s identity is no longer associated with your identity. Too many of us walk around claiming these habits and claiming sin as our own. We say, “That’s just the way I am” but God says that’s not the way I made you! You were made in His image. You were separated because of sin, but because of Christ you’ve been reconciled back to God and reclaimed your identity.
So now you’re wondering, “If it’s not me, then why do I keep doing it?” Great question! John 4:24 says that God is Spirit. Since your identity is now in Christ, you are a spirit-being. You were once spiritually dead, separated from God, and had no sense of identity besides in your flesh and in your mind. But now that you’re reconciled, you’ve been made spiritually alive. S0, that means your spirit, which is now in Christ, has no desire to sin. BUT your flesh and your mind are still affected by the temptation in this world. That’s why you feel and think things that you know you shouldn’t. The reason you fall into these temptations that create sin and bad habits in your life is because your flesh and your mind still desire to do it, and you still believe that your identity is in those things. Your flesh and your mind are currently stronger than your spirit. Your flesh and your mind will continue to keep you in the cycle of sin until your spirit in Christ becomes the dominant and only identity in your life.
This is challenging to understand but the Holy Spirit will reveal all things to you, and the truth is what makes you free. I only have one practical way to not fall into temptation, sin, and bad habits:
- Walk in the Spirit: Galatians 5:16 says walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. It sounds simple because it is. The enemy, Satan, likes to play mind games with you to get you to believe that what God requires is an impossible task. But Jesus laid aside His deity and walked as a man on Earth to show us that ‘if it’s possible for me, it’s possible for you.’ Jesus understood so well that He was a spirit-being that His flesh and mind couldn’t override His spiritual identity and lead Him to sin. The disciples were just as human as Jesus was, and they learned to understand how to walk spiritually and not get caught up in sin. If the disciples can learn that it’s possible then so can we.
It’s a spiritual walk that we’re on, meaning, everyday for the rest of our lives on earth we are learning and continuing to learn how to walk by our spirit which is in Christ. We’re constantly following in Christ’s footsteps so that we don’t fall into the temptation of this world. It is possible when we understand that our flesh and minds are no longer us, rather, they’re just vehicles for our spirit to use for God’s purposes on earth. Our spirit, which is in Christ, is supposed to lead our flesh and our minds…not the other way around. I pray that you come to understand this truth so that you can be free and exercise your freedom in Christ. I pray that you discover through the word of God that anything outside of God’s identity is not who you are. And I pray that you become filled with the Holy Spirit so that you can discern in this world what is of God and what isn’t.