"When you ask [pray], you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures."1 "God is near to all who call on him; to all who call on him in truth."2
There's a corny joke about the old Australian aborigine who was given a brand new boomerang for Christmas. Unfortunately he went crazy trying to throw his old boomerang away.
Life's kind of like that. Have you ever tried to throw away an old bad habit ... or a self-defeating addiction?
Someone said that the best way to break a bad habit is to drop it. Sure would be great if it were that easy. It isn't. However, if we don't break the habit or addiction, it will have a way of breaking us.
So how do we break a bad habit and/or a self-defeating addiction?
First, we need to admit that we have a problem and that it has us beaten. The only person God or anyone else can ever help is the one who admits, "I have a problem. I need help"and genuinely means it and is prepared to do something about it. Bad habits and addictions rarely, if ever, leave us without a battle.
Second, we need to avoid playing the blame-game at all costs and accept full responsibility for our actions and our recovery.
Third, we need to realize that bad habits and especially addictions are a means to medicate some inner problem or pain that we have never faced, dealt with and resolved. Bad habits and addictions are almost always the "fruit of a deeper root."
Fourth, we need to seek qualified help, be it a support/recovery group and/or that of a qualified counselor/therapist. We need this support in order to keep us accountable and to help us stop acting out our addiction and thereby medicating (deadening) the pain. To heal it we need to feel it. Medicating it stops us from facing and resolving it.
Fifth, we need to pray the right prayer. Many people beg God to deliver them from their destructive symptoms but never think to realize that they need to pray that God will confront them with the reality of the cause or causes that drives them to act out in destructive habits and/or addictions. It is only as we face and confront the truth behind our destructive habits that we have any chance of recovery.
As Dr. Cecil Osborne used to day, "When we are hiding a deeper sin or fault we tend to confess a lesser one all the more vigorously." That is; instead of confessing the cause/causes of our behavior we get obsessed with and confess only the symptom. This tends to reinforce the addiction rather than overcome it because "whatever the mind dwells on, the body acts on."
When we pray for truth and genuinely mean it, God always answers. Once we see the truth (cause) of our problem, we usually know what we need to do about resolving it. As God's Word says, "The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth."2
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, no matter what problems I struggle with, please help me to see the real cause/s behind them and, with your help, accept full responsibility for dealing with them. Also, please lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
NOTE: For helpful recovery and counseling resources go to http://tinyurl.com/85cel
1. James 4:3 (NIV).
2. Psalm 145:18 (NIV).
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