This post is a continuation of Analysis of a Micro-Addiction, Pt. I.
What to do?
Dr. Edward T. Welch, in his booklet ‘Just One More’: When Desires Don’t take No for an Answer, says we must acknowledge our sin, ask and receive forgiveness for it, and then set up an accountability structure to avoid repeat offense. He asks some very important questions.
- Do you want to change? Maybe we like our sin and we know it. We feel the draw even as we are feeling remorse. We know we’ll be back. I do want to change. I’m tired of being a slave to bad habits.
- Why do you want to change? Control should be aimed for God’s purposes, not mine. I control my impulses through the power of God to be more effective in the mission He has given me (Matthew 4:19-20). When I’m under another’s control, I’m not living intentionally for Christ (1 Corinthians 9:25).
This is where I am challenged. Do I really want Christ and His mission of the gospel to the nations, or do I want to sugar-coat my own daily existence and “glide through” to glory?
Right here, there will be drop-outs. “Who said anything about living to spread the gospel? I’m not a missionary or a preacher!“
That’s another discussion, but suffice it to say that Christ said (in paraphrase): “If any man desires to follow me and be called by My Name, that one must take up his own cross daily, as I took up mine for him, and walk behind me doing as I did in service and in love for the glory of God the Father.” Read the actual words in Luke 9:23.
And yes, it’s a tall order. It will cost much, just as it cost the Son. Obedience, like habit, doesn’t start out big. It starts small, on the inside just like the bud in the branch before spring, and grows in due season.
We reap what we sow, and we do NOT reap what we do NOT sow.
Technology is not the cause at core; it is my heart and my faulty expectations concerning what life is about. It’s okay to be honest here; we’re all sinners that love self over God. You will only be agreeing with God about yourself and there is something of integrity in that.
Admit the Sin and Get Help
Dr. Welch encourages us to admit that our problem is sin at root. We are ALL helpless without the power of Christ. If we want to, we can reach out to Him to help us. He is faithful and will do it.
Part of that means reaching out to others to help you. God has given us a gift in the body of believers. Though they are also sinners who battle their own sin, a friend is a good thing. I am grateful for the dear friends I have in Christ. Here’s a mere sampling of God’s plan for the Church to strengthen one another in meekness and in love:
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up…And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:9-10, 12)
“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.”(Proverbs 15:22)
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:1-2). See also James 5:16, 19-20; Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:25; 1 Thess 5:11.
Receive the forgiveness of God
When I “did it again”, I felt I didn’t deserve God’s forgiveness. Have you ever felt that?
Now, I am admittedly talking about a sin most people would find forgiveable—binge-watching a violent show on tv. But big oaks from little acorns grow. I turned my back on God and downplayed His tender instructions that nurtured my close relationship with Him. I chose to be a friend of the world and betrayed my dearest Friend. I rejected Christ in me. I am Judas. Trust me, I’ve been a Judas on the big things, too.
All sin feels like this. Especially when we know in our hearts we are guilty of premeditation.
Still, knowing my God is loving, I confessed my sin to Him, not just the sin of watching the show, but the sin of betrayal of His hope in me.
I realize that I lost fellowship with Him. I can’t just march right back into prayer as if nothing happened. I suffer a breach in the closeness with Him that I have enjoyed. This is what hurts most of all.
When the “habituator” (in this case, the tv) was turned off, the reality of my consequences seeped in. I was released from its grip and could feel again, but it was too late. Satan doesn’t care about us. After he’s used us, he throws us to the wolves.
I knew that night I had opened my subconscious mind to the evil powers that stalk the mind. Images from the show ran through my mind and I asked God to stop them out of His tender mercy, and He did. I had to do battle, but He helped me. That is the kind of God we serve. I am forgiven.
“If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins AND purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (see v5-10).
Develop a Plan and Prepare to Do Battle
Dr. Welch suggests that after we have willingly received God’s forgiveness, it is good to develop a plan to avoid a repeat offense. What is the trigger? How will you meet this trigger again?
I had developed a plan before. I would watch only those things that are positive and pure. I could have gone further and just not watched the screen at night and I’m working through that. I will get there, and that is the long-range plan. But realistically speaking, it is better for me to develop a plan for which I have a chance at succeeding. And I had succeeded in that plan for a significant time.
But then there was that one night of weakness. What do I do? Ditch the plan and do something stronger? Maybe.
But maybe I need to pick myself up and just keep doing battle with the plan I already have. Too many switches in plans force my attention on plan-development rather than plan-obedience.
15Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, near the dwelling of the righteous;
do not destroy his resting place.
16For though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin. (Proverbs 24:15-16)
Are you caught in the snare of habitual sin?
Heavenly Father, we are walking in a world of darkness with traps set for us on every side. I can blame any number of perpetrators. I can even blame You, but the truth of the matter is that I have an active sin nature. I confess this, that even though You have broken my chains, I sometimes love my chains and put them back on. Lord, You paid the cost once for me and the power of choice is mine. I need Your help to keep me strong, and to pick me back up when I fall out of Your great mercy. Give me wisdom to seek help from other wise counselors, give me wisdom to listen and to obey, and give me clarity to develop a common sense plan to avoid the triggers that set me up for a fall. I realize that pleasing my own flesh is at root; so like Paul, I ask you to mortify my fleshly desires and show me the true, ugly and deathly end. Show me the better way, Lord, so that I may walk in it and find joy and closeness with You again. I praise Your Name, for You are Good and Your Law is good, and Your Way is good. In the Name of my Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
© March 2019 by ReadPsalm119.com.
 Note: “Micro-Addiction” is a new buzz word to describe those nagging daily addictions that keep us from effective and efficient life (the Bible calls this “abundant” life). No addiction is minor, however. Addiction can be a serious problem with many degrees of stronghold, depending on its type. All addiction is or begins as a moral weakness. God says that all are sinners, and we are born into a sin nature. The very nature of addiction suggests that we need outside help if we’re going to be fully honest. If you’re struggling through addiction to substances or an addiction to the extent that destroys your body, mind and family structure (including finances), you need to seek outside professional counsel. Even “small” addictions may signal depression or some other compulsion which may have any number of medical causes. Talk first with your medical doctor and a Bible-believing pastor or biblical counselor; and, if needed, seek a qualified professional counselor.
Come Thou Found of Every Blessing
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy, never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I'm fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I've come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He, to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood
Oh, that day when freed from sinning
I shall see Thy lovely face
Clothed then in the blood washed linen
How I'll sing Thy wondrous grace
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry
Take my ransomed soul away
Send Thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.
Oh, to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be
Let that goodness like a fetter
Bind my wandering heart to Thee
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it
Prone to leave the God I love
Here's my heart, oh, take and seal it
Seal it for Thy courts above
Listen: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Lyrics and Chord) -- Chris Rice", [YouTube; 3:42 min.]