That's what God is getting at when we are allowed to face situations that are highly tempting to us. God is taking us there because he wants that to be a point of transformation. He doesn't just want to deliver us from something, he wants to deliver us to something. There are many things the world offers in order to draw us away from God, but we can stay focused on him.
Connect with Skip Heitzig today as he begins a series called Now Streaming and explains how you can wield your thoughts in order to overcome bad habits. But first, we want to let you know about a unique opportunity you have to visit the ancient land of the Bible. You're invited to join Skip on a tour of Israel in 2022. Visiting the places where the events of the Bible unfolded is a unique and significant experience. You'll be encouraged in your faith as God's Word comes to life for you in a way it never has before.
Get all the info at inspirationcruises.com slash c-a-b-q. Now, we're in Colossians chapter three as we dive into the teaching with Skip Heitzig. I've always been amused by the story of the man that was hired to paint a church building. Pastor hired him to do it. The man took paint and proceeded to paint the building, but he knew even from the beginning he did not have enough paint to finish the job, so he added paint thinner and he painted and he ran out again and he added more thinner and he painted some more and ran out and added more thinner and he put a very thin veneer of paint across the whole building. Well, the next day after he was done, a rainstorm came through and just took all the paint, washed it all off the building, which is very disappointing to the pastor of that church who came to him and, like only a preacher could do, put his finger in the man's face and said, repaint and thin no more. That's a pastor's joke.
Repaint and thin no more. It's also a dad joke. Father's Day is next week, so I can get away with it. You know what, though? We often try to cover up with a thin coat of religion or morality our lives, but at some point in this Christian walk, we have to learn what it is to break bad habits. Everybody has bad habits, and there are some bad habits that are pretty harmless. I think biting your fingernails. It's obnoxious, but it's pretty harmless.
I know somebody's in the company going, no, research has been done, and you know, Dr. Fauci is fine. I don't know what it is, but I think it's pretty harmless bad habit. There are even some bad habits that are endearing. I knew a cute gal one time that when she laughed, she snorted, and she was always embarrassed by that, but we all thought it was just cute. It was endearing.
It was her. We didn't mind that, but there are other bad habits that are very serious because they become addictive behaviors. They become life-dominating sins. Alcoholism, substance abuse, pornography, uncontrolled anger can dominate a life and ruin a relationship. Something you'll discover about sin, sin never seems irresistible until you want to break from it. Then you discover that certain behaviors have a very strong grip, a very strong pull.
You sort of feel like the guy who tried to drain the swamp, and he kept taking water out and more water kept coming in, and he kept this until he discovered that that swamp was being fed by an underground spring and that he would never successfully be able to empty at all. Well, in this little series, we're going to take well-known titles of films and give a scriptural bent to an underlying issue, and this is breaking bad habits. You know, it's unfortunate, but New Mexico is known nationally and internationally because of that series, Breaking Bad. Oh yeah, Albuquerque, Breaking Bad.
And it's like, really? Of all of the reasons you want to remember a town, it's for the bad underbelly of a drug culture? I would love it if our community, our spiritual community in this town, were known for breaking bad habits that we would see, and they would see that victory is ours in Christ. Now this brings up an issue I just want to address as we get into it, and just fair warning, I'm not going to exegete this passage in its entirety. There's too many verses. I'm going to barely skim the surface and extract some major principles, but it brings up a question. Why is it that we are tempted?
Or let me reframe it. Why does God allow temptations to occur? Or maybe a better way even to put that is, why does God allow the temptations to be so strong? I mean, He is God. He is all-powerful. Certainly, He could, if He wanted to, dial down the temptation in our lives, or maybe dial up our ability to handle them, to overcome them. But He doesn't do that. He lets us face them full strength.
Now you need to know something about this. I don't want this to get away without saying God never tempts us to sin. So you can never say, well, it's God's fault. It is never God's fault.
It is always a choice that you make. Even if that choice has been made to the point where you are controlled by that activity, God is never to blame. The Bible says clearly in James 1, let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt any man. However, God does lead us into vulnerable places.
I think we would all admit that. The Bible says Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Jesus taught us to pray, lead us not into temptation. So He doesn't shield us from the temptations of life.
So why is that? Is there anything good that could come out of these temptations to sin? Actually, there are a few good things that come out of it. First of all, temptation tests our loyalty.
You really can't say you love someone unless you have made hard choices in regard to that someone. So saying no to temptation is a way to confirm your love for God. God allows them, I think, because He wants our passion for Him to be greater than our passion for sin. So temptations test our loyalty.
There's a second benefit. They transform our lives. And really, I think that's what God is getting at when we are allowed to face situations that are highly tempting to us. God is taking us there because He wants that to be a point of transformation. He doesn't just want to deliver us from something.
He wants to deliver us to something. And then, not only that, but temptations teach us things. They teach us lessons. And one of the biggest lessons to learn in temptation is a thing called grace, God's grace.
Aren't you glad for God's grace, right? Because we deal with sin. We deal with temptation.
We deal with habits. And I love what Paul said in Romans, we're not going to be there. And I love what Paul said in Romans, where sin abounds, grace abounds much more. And Paul even talked about his struggle with an area where he prayed three times and the Lord finally said, my grace is all you need.
It's sufficient for you. So there are upsides to us, but what I want to do is, looking in Colossians chapter 3, we're going to take a pretty sizable chunk of text, is I want to give you three steps, three key steps to breaking bad habits. Three key steps to breaking bad habits. Notice I did not say three easy steps.
And that is because they don't exist. There are no such things as easy things to do, but these are three general and key principles. And the first step to breaking a bad habit is, you and I, we need to think clearly. Verse 1, if then you were raised with Christ, notice this language, if then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind, notice that, think clearly, set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth, for you died and your life is hidden with Christ and God.
When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. If you're going to do anything in life, you have to first learn about that thing. If you're going to be an artist, you have to know something about color and palettes and techniques and styles. If you're going to be a doctor, you need to know something about the human body, hopefully a lot about the human body.
If you're going to be a car mechanic, you need to know something about engines, right? You need to learn, so it is in spiritual life. Learning always comes before living. Doctrine always comes before doing. If Satan can keep you ignorant, Satan can keep you impotent in your spiritual life. That's why every time we gather together, we say, open your Bible and let's read and let's consider, even though you may have read that passage several times before, we get refreshed with the knowledge of God. Now, there are several spiritual realities that are listed here, and these are things we need to know. What is that spirituality?
Well, here it is. Let me sum what we just read up. You died. You were raised. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God, and when He appears, when Jesus comes back, you will appear with Him in glory. Four realities. You died. You were raised. Your life is hidden.
When He appears, you'll appear in glory. Now, those are truths that are positional truths. You haven't actually experienced them in actuality. They're not literal.
They're all about identification. You died spiritually. You were alive spiritually.
They're positional truths. You might say this, life is what you're alive, too. So, a child will come alive when you tell him that you're going to take him on a trip to Disneyland. Really?
When? A young teenage boy will come alive when you talk about the cute girl he likes at school or the car that he wants to drive soon. A girl, a woman might come alive when you talk about fashion.
I'm speaking in generalities. Forgive me for that. Or a man might come alive if you talk about golf or camping or sports, whatever it might be. Question, what made Paul come alive? Jesus. Exactly. And that's not spiritual talk.
He actually did. He wrote in Philippians, he said, for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. And look at verse 4 of our text. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. So, there are certain things we need to know and set our minds on them.
Basically, you need to know two things. You need to know, number one, you're dead. You go, I am? I'm dead? I didn't even know I was sick. How can I be dead? Well, you're dead to the old life, the old you, the old manner of life, the flesh life. The flesh doesn't dominate, it shouldn't dominate you. You say, yeah, but it does.
I have bad habits. But you need to know positionally that you're dead to them. The old Skip died and was buried, you might say publicly executed, publicly buried, on the day I was baptized. That's what that was all about. That was a declaration, public declaration, demonstration that the old life had passed. I was dead to it. I'm alive to something else.
Now, this is language that we even use in relationships. I'll pick one because I know of this situation where in a Jewish family, a young man gave his life to Jesus Christ. And when that man converted to Christianity, his father said to him, son, you are dead to me. It doesn't mean you are actually dead, doesn't mean you are literally dead, but it does mean positionally you are dead.
The relationship between father and son has changed. So you need to know that in God's mind, he thinks the same way. You are dead, not to him, but you are dead to the old way of life. That's how he sees it.
And that's how you and I need to see it. Romans chapter 6 verse 11, Paul writes, therefore, reckon yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God. So we're dead. Second, you're alive. You say, well, now I'm confused because you just said I was dead.
I did, but you're also alive. Look at verse one. If then you were raised with Christ, that's resurrection. Seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Jesus conquered death by resurrection. It is that resurrection power that you and I identify with for power to overcome bad habits.
He was raised, you were raised, you were raised. So you're dead and you're alive. You are both dead and alive. Remember the old westerns, they put up posters, wanted, dead or alive. God's poster is wanted, dead and alive.
I want you dead to the old, but I want you alive to this. The trouble is many Christians live an in-between life. You might say they live between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. They're sort of dead to the old stuff, sort of alive to God if something else isn't around.
They're not really enjoying full victory. So the first step to break a bad habit is to know truth, know truth. Now I know that perhaps some are listening to this and you're thinking and you're thinking this maybe. Well this is just words. You know to write a letter and say you're dead, you're alive, that's just semantics. Well I beg to differ with you.
It is so true that God reckons it as fact and the problem is you and I don't. Okay, so here's an example. Let's say a child is adopted from one family and taken into another family. Now when he is adopted that doesn't change the way he looks.
His appearance is still the same. His activities and actions may for a time still be even the same, but he's in a new family. He's been adopted. The Bible tells us we're adopted into God's family. Everything changes.
Might not feel like it. You might not look like it outwardly, but an adoption has taken place. Now let's press the analogy a little further. Let's say that that young man was adopted from one family into another and the family he came out of was a slave family. Let's say he's in a part of the world where slavery still exists and he is adopted and put into a royal family, a family of kings. Well he may not know it, but he has a great inheritance now.
He has new relationships and he even has power at his disposal that he may or may not realize right now, but it is a fact. So knowing this, knowing that we're dead and alive and hidden and we'll be in glory, we need to think clearly. And a couple words I want you to notice. Verse one, he says, if you then were raised with Christ, which is a fact, you need to know that, then seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Verse two, set your mind on things above, not on things of the earth.
Here's what I want you to see here. You don't get it from a typical English translation, but in the original language that it's translated from, the Greek language, those two words, seek and set, set your mind, are imperatives or commands, right? It's a command to do something, but it's a present active imperative, which denotes an ongoing practice. So a full translation, an accurate translation would be, seek and keep on seeking, set your mind on and keep setting your mind on those things which are above. The language speaks of persistence. The language speaks of not giving up. So in the context of what we're talking about, make a mental determination that you will not wallow in your past defeat. Oh, but I've fallen down and this habit gets the best of me and I keep blowing it. Keep seeking, keep setting your mind, don't wallow in past defeat.
Make that mental determination that you will seek and that you will set your mind. But I failed. Hey, you want to know something really cool? Albert Einstein was kicked out of school. He said he was. Yeah, can you imagine kicking Albert Einstein?
I'm sorry kid, you can't handle it. Albert Einstein's teacher said that he lacked interest in his studies, probably just meant the teacher was a bad teacher. Albert Einstein lacked interest in his studies, so he was kicked out of school. Later on, he tried to attend another school in Zurich, Switzerland, but he failed the entrance exam.
Love that. Albert Einstein failed. So he got a job in a boarding house as a tutor until he was fired. Failure after failure after failure, but you know the rest of the story, right?
E equals mc square later. Guy's a legend because he kept seeking, he kept setting his mind, he kept getting up, he didn't wallow in past defeat. And Satan, you got to know something about Satan, he always lies to you. He lies on a number of levels. First of all, he tries to get you to indulge in the temptation, the habit.
He knows it's your weak carry and he says, go ahead, everybody does stuff like this. It'll just be one more time, God will forgive you, just don't worry about it, you're a good person, go ahead. So you do it. And then as soon as you do it, his second lie is, I can't believe you just did that.
What a horrible Christian you are. God's not going to forgive you if you keep just coming back for this stuff. Or he'll say this, you will never say this, you will never break free from the chains of this habit.
You are going to be stuck in this forever. So let me give you a little tip, a hack. The tip is to think of the end game. While you're fighting the battle here, struggling with the habit here, think of the end game. Seek those things which are above, set your mind on things above or crisis.
That's heaven. Well, why should I think about heaven when I'm struggling on earth? Because that's where you're going to spend the bulk of your existence. So one of the helps is to realize you are created as an eternal being, even in the midst of the struggle, for another place. That provides a certain kind of impetus for you. So think clearly. Here's the second key step to breaking a bad habit. After thinking clearly, act decisively. Verse five, therefore, and this is what I love about Paul's letters, there's always a therefore.
He's so practical. He'll always teach us things, tell us doctrine, but in his letters he says, therefore, because he wants you to apply it, and he does here, he does here. Therefore, put to death your members which are on the earth, fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them, but now you yourselves are to put off all these anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all. Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.
That's Skip Heitzig with a message from the series now streaming. Now we want to share about a special resource that will deepen your knowledge of God's Word even more. Here's what Norm Geisler said about the book Tactics.
There is no better book to equip Christians to think clearly. Here's Skip Heitzig on the need to engage in active spiritual warfare. You'll never fight God's battles from a sofa.
You'll never contend for what really matters by just cruising in your La-Z-Boy all day. You're going to have to decide to get up as part of the house and join the fight. Become a contender for biblical truth with Fight for the House, a six-message series through the book of Jude with Skip Heitzig. This teaching series on CD equips you to get in the ring to defend the gospel and guard against false teachings. And it's our thanks when you give to connect more people to the truth of God's Word. And when you give $35 or more today, we'll also send you the book Tactics by Gregory Kochel to help you speak the truth about Christianity with confidence and grace.
Call 800-922-1888 to give or visit connectwithskip.com. Now we want to let you know how you can stay updated on the latest from this ministry and from Skip. Get encouragement from Skip and important announcements on social media. Just follow Skip on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
That's at Skip Heitzig at Skip H-E-I-T-Z-I-G. Tune in tomorrow as Skip Heitzig shares practical insight and helpful tools to help you defeat bad habits and cultivate good ones. The point of what Jesus said is that we should deal radically with sin. Cut it off, put it to death. We should deal radically with sin.
We should cut off opportunities immediately. Listen to what Paul writes to young Timothy, a man who is tempted by the world. Flee youthful lust. Make a connection. Make a connection at the foot of the crossing. Cast your burdens on His word. Make a connection. Connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never-changing truth in ever-changing times.
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