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Every Christian will face temptation. All of us have that pattern or sin that we return to time and time again against our better intentions. In this 6-day Track, Ben Stuart teaches us how to identify and eliminate those temptations that fuel the very habits we’re looking to overcome.

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09.15.2023

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Every Christian will face temptation. All of us have that pattern or sin that we return to time and time again against our better intentions. In this 6-day Track, Ben Stuart teaches us how to identify and eliminate those temptations that fuel the very habits we’re looking to overcome.

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Day 02

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Trials Lead to Temptation

Day 03

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Eliminate the Moment

Day 04

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What Will This Bad Habit Cost Me?

Day 05

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The Lie That Gives Power to Our Sin

Day one of “How to Kill a Bad Habit” comes with a question from  Ben Stuart: Where and when do you encounter temptation the most regularly?

Temptation is everywhere, constantly searching for a way to disrupt and destroy our relationship with God, and the consequences of giving in are grievous:

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:14-15

Today, listen as Ben delves into the practicalities of what temptation is and how your thought patterns directly affect you.

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Summary

Temptation is something we all wrestle with. Whether you call it a habit, addiction, or sin, it all begins with temptation and ends with death.

We may have engaged in these habits because we thought they would relieve us from our pain or bring pleasure into our lives. And for a little while, engaging in these activities may have temporarily satiated our desires. But now, it has led us to the absence of life. It has cost more than we want to pay.

The lure of temptation gets your attention. You don’t just think about it, it entices you, stirring your affections. What you think about is what you care about, and what you care about is what you chase.

If you want to save yourself from the consequences of a bad habit, it starts by being a student of yourself.

There is hope today. If we are willing to step outside of the cycle of sin and shame and take stock of where we are likely to succumb to temptation, we can put a strategy for victory in place. Let’s find a way forward together.

What's next?

Get out a piece of paper and write out the anatomy of your temptation as specifically as you can. What do you think about, care about, what are you chasing, and why?

Welcome to day two of “How to Kill a Bad Habit.”

Today, look at what Holy Scripture reveals to us about what always precedes a temptation… a trial:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

James 1:2-5

Trials almost always lead to temptations. So, with that knowledge in hand, how do we embrace the words of James and put practices in place to change the result of our trials? How can we make informed decisions and outsmart the enemy of temptation? Let’s find out together.

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Summary

As we look at the book of James, we’re reminded that we are going to face difficult trials in our lives. And when these trials come, temptation is sure to follow.

We have all been in difficult moments where all we want to do is get out of the pain and alleviate discomfort. This is where temptation enters in. This habit we want to kill has an allure to it and a promise of pleasure. It also has a push to it—a pain we want to alleviate.

When we’re stressed or frustrated, we can start looking at things to alleviate the discomfort of those feelings. How can we analyze the habits we have formed born from problems or stressors in our lives?

What's next?

We want to analyze the problems in our lives so that we can do good work moving forward. Knowing is half the battle.

It’s time to take action for day three of “How to Kill a Bad Habit.”

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray that you may not ENTER into temptation. Most of us go through our days watching everything around us, never turning our eyes onto ourselves to measure how we are being affected by our atmosphere. But this is precisely what Jesus is calling us to do. The best weapon against succumbing to temptation is to plot a course around that temptation.

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Summary

“Be the architect of your environment—not the victim of it.”

There are cues in your environment that kickstart a craving. We don’t want something until we see it.

One of the best ways we can fight against our habits is by eliminating the moment. Don’t linger in dangerously isolated positions and reposition yourself where victory is much more likely.

Get radical about changing your environment to stop the temptation.

“So many of us shame ourselves for lack of willpower when really what we need is forethought.”

Now that we know the habit we want to kill, how do we position ourselves to do so? How do we get radical about eliminating the moments that put us in a place where victory is unlikely?

What's next?

How can you change your environment to eliminate the source of temptation from spaces you’re most vulnerable? Change will only happen when you take action.

Welcome to day four of “How to Kill a Bad Habit.” While we’ve explored the anatomy of a habit, where it comes from, how it draws us in, and what we can do to avoid it; it’s time to arm ourselves with what we need to survive if we find ourselves face to face with it. After all, temptation is a clever enemy, and sooner or later, we will all end up in a position where we need to overcome it.

But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

James 1:14-15

“Paddling Downstream” is a powerful tool that Ben Stuart introduces us to today. When faced with the lure towards something not of God, we can imagine all of the results of choosing poorly.

How do we learn to pause and measure the repercussions of our actions before we even take them? Let’s find out together.

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Summary

As we gear up to actually take action and confront our bad habits, We are challenged to consider all of the negative outcomes of engaging in a particular behavior before actually engaging in that particular behavior.

It’s another simple question we can ask ourselves that can have life-changing results:

“What will this habit cost me?”

Before you engage in temptation, look at the destruction it may cause you later in life. When you compare the consequences of the action to the benefit of not performing that action, the allure begins to lessen. Remember, “sin loses its allure in the cold light of day.”

What's next?

Make a list of the negative outcomes that may follow the bad habits you desire to break by asking yourself honest questions. This isn't an exercise in fear or shame, rather it is meant to help you, in wisdom, realize that your actions today carry consequences tomorrow; both good and bad. The beautiful thing here is that James 1:5 tells us that all who ask for an increase in wisdom will be granted it, so bring this list to your heavenly father today and ask Him to reveal the true repercussions of your actions. Allowing you to change your behavior before you cause significant damage is a wonderful mercy from God.

Do you trust God?

But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:14-17

If yesterday we paddled downstream to see the repercussions of our actions, today we’re learning to look upstream and check out the source of the deception that leads us to destruction. Once we see this falsehood for what it really is, then we can turn towards God’s truth in our lives. So, what is the lie that gives our sin so much power in our lives? Let’s paddle upstream and uncover it together.

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Summary

The way to fight temptation is to look downstream at the destruction, and to look upstream at the deception.

The nature of the deception is to attempt to convince us that every good and perfect gift is not from above, coming from our Father. The lie that gives power to our sins is that God is not a good dad that will take care of us.

Every behavior is undergirded by our belief. Our beliefs give strength, power, and stability to our behaviors. Analyze what you really believe about God and yourself. Addiction at it’s root is an intimacy disorder—not believing that anyone cares about you or will accept you.

One of the best ways to fight the battle is to believe that you have a Father in heaven that loves you. When you believe that He loves you, you believe that He is good. And that even in pain, you will be humbled. When you rest in the love of God, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and His grace.

The devil convinces you that your God doesn’t care about you, so you go to other places for comfort. He starts with distrust. To make sin look attractive, he makes God look ugly.

When you rest in the love of God, you will keep yourself from going to many deceptive streams to find relief.

What's next?

Draw the battle line at the lie and go to war there. Choose truth today, and bring those lies to your Heavenly Father. You may not know the scripture that immediately counters them, and that's ok because you can always ask a trusted mentor, search for them here on Passion Equip or elsewhere. The important thing is that when you find the truth to replace the lie with, you place it on a sticky note, mirror, or phone background so that daily you can breathe in the Word of God, and speak it against the lies of the enemy. Let's start by asking some hard questions:

Today is the final day of “How to Kill a Bad Habit.” These days have been foundational as we seek to embrace the rhythms of a well-fought life, and today, we’re learning to equip ourselves with a simple tool that will help us put these sinful habits to rest.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

James 1:17-18

God has given us new life. There is so much to enjoy, breathe in, and celebrate with our Father in Heaven. These unique gifts from God are blessings and are the positive fuel our soul often craves when we turn from God towards old habits we long to leave behind, and they just might be a powerful tool in our belt when it comes to actually breaking them.

So how do we use these experiences with God to disrupt the pattern of trial, temptation, and the sin we so often find ourselves snared in? Let’s take a step towards freedom together.

Video

Summary

How do you dislodge a beautiful thing from a human heart? You replace it with a more beautiful thing. The best defense against a bad habit is to engage in a good one.

Focus your attention on the things that make you joyful. Otherwise, the human machine will seek pleasure in things that are unproductive.

When you stop these bad habits, you may come to realize that you missed out on things that help you thrive. If you’re creative, you may find that you have less time to create. If you’re innovative, you have less time to ideate. If you’re outdoorsy, you may have found yourself never going outside. Find ways to satisfy those things that drive and motivate you instead of entertaining bad habits that do nothing but lead you to death.

Sin, addiction, and bad habits may have made a mess of us. But God is doing something great by giving us new life. Enjoy the world He made, dive into the Word He has written to us, and replace destructive things with positive ones.

The best defense is a good offense. We believe in you.

What's next?

Draw a bullseye with a center circle, an outer circle, and another outer circle (three circles total). In the middle of the bullseye, write out the habits you don’t want to do anymore. In the second circle closest to the center circle, write out the things that lead to this habit: the lies you believe, bad thoughts, pain leading to these habits, environments you’re in, etc. In the outer circle, write out a long list of things you do for fun, like hiking, painting, etc. Things that provide joy with no sorrow. Invite God into those things.

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Scripture References

  • Luke 5:31-32
  • Colossians 4:5-6
  • Acts 4:13
  • Acts 13:47-48
  • 2 Corinthians 5:20-21
  • James 1:2-5
  • Matthew 26:41
  • James 1:14-17
  • James 1:17-18
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.

Day 02

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What Was I Made For?

Day 03

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Entrusted with Pain

Day 04

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Is There Hope When It Hurts?

Day 02

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We Need to Talk

Day 03

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The Role of the Church

Day 04

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Tearing Down the Veneer

Day 05

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Your Destiny is in Staying