Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May 7, 2013 … Sin Slavery

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 127

Passage of the Day: John 8: 34 [In the context of verses 31-36] [NLT] … 
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, “You are truly My disciples if you keep obeying My teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone on earth. What do you mean, ‘set free’?” 34 Jesus replied, “I assure you that everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free. ..."
 Contextual Study of today’s passage: John, Chapter 8 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

 My Journal for Today:  Do you have any BESETTING sin patterns in your life, … i.e., those well-known [to you and maybe others] habitual sins which seem to have control over you? Someone reading here may now be thinking about some weakness which has agonizingly persisted which you know is a damper in your relationship with Christ or the ability to serve our Lord. Perhaps it’s some eating habit. Maybe it’s a weakness in the area of habitual sexual sin, like an addiction to p0rn. Maybe it’s a recurring anger management issue. But when you read John, Chapter 8, especially the highlight passage copied above, you know exactly the issue or area of life which seems to have you in chains; and I can almost hear you saying, ”Oh, how I’d like to walk free from [and you fill in the blank for yourself].”

Well, Os Hillman in his devotional for today reminds us of what many psychologists have said, … i.e., that it takes 21 days of repentant habit replacement to change a behavioral habit which has been a controlling, habitual behavioral habit in our lives. So, Hillman proposes a rather practical way to try out this behavioral adage. And he illustrates this with a very real story from his past. He writes, …

 “A successful businessman was experiencing a difficult marriage. When counseling the couple over dinner one night, a friend of mine noticed that the man often criticized his wife. After further counsel it was determined the man simply could not love his wife. My friend asked him if he truly wanted to see change in his marriage. When the man said he did, my friend said, "Every time you criticize your wife you must agree to give me $100." This man was well-off and needed substantial incentive to change his behavior. After the man rebelled and retorted, he agreed in front of his wife. A few weeks later a report came back that things were changing. This man did not want to write any checks to my friend. Although it was a competitive game to the man, it was also yielding some positive changes in his marriage. He began to acquire the habit of avoiding criticism of his wife, which was killing her spirit.“

 [Click on picture for larger view]

Does this scenario give you any ideas? For me, it rekindled a memory of when, as a young boy, I had a bad habit of biting my fingernails, a habit I hated, along with my parents; but it was a habit to which I seem to be a slave. So, my very practical mom came up with a plan, which I also hated, but to which I agreed. Every morning before I went to school, she painted my nails with Mercurochorme [that redish/orange medicine which years ago was used to cover and cure infections]. Once covering my nails, it looked like I had red nail polish on them, which was really damaging to my very male ego in front of my school friends. And on top of that, when I touched my nails to my mouth the taste of the mercurochrome was TERRIBLE, burning my lips. I don’t recall how long it took; but within a couple of weeks I was begging my mom to let me go to school without the red finger tips. And when she finally consented, the habit was broken; and I have not been a nail-biter since that time.

As I’ve said, perhaps you have some enslaving, besetting sin habit in your life. Could you activate Hillmans’ (or my mom’s) habit-breaking scheme; and repenting of your sin, and praying for God’s strength to cover your weakness (see 2nd Cor. 12: 9), could you devise some obnoxious, costly commitment which would help you really stay on the path of committed change for at least 21 days?

If you have read this and you know the area of your life which needs to change for you to walk free from some pattern of besetting sin in your life; and you’re willing to come up with a “mercurochrome” habit-breaking commitment … send me your plan – in our ministry, we’d call it a “battle plan” – and I’ll be glad to be there (via email if you like) to help you truly repent and walk free from this enslaving and besetting pattern of sin – whatever it is. Contact me @ billb13@bellsouth.net ... and I’ll be glad to be your “mercurochrome mentor” for this walk into freedom.

My Prayer for Today … Lord, you are THE TRUTH; and You have given my Your strength to walk in freedom. … Amen

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