“It’s habit! I’m a creature of habit! It’s just who I am…”
I could lie to all of you and tell you that I know who first perpetuated that wonderful excuse for doing anything and everything he wanted to do. I know that we’re all little philosophers, to one degree or another, who build up our world views and decide what is what, and what is going to be, and what is. It’s true, I think, that we are inclined to habit – that it is “just who we are!”
That result of waywardness was solidified at the fall of man – we just are plagued with sin, inclined to habitual disobedience. The autonomous, do-what-thou-wilt personality of our culture only bolsters the idea of subjective morality and the acceptance of sin which would otherwise be confronted, and cast out.
It is no new excuse: that what is good for you is good for you and may not be good for me. Even from the second noted generation of humanity as found in the Bible, Cain’s response to God’s confrontation was: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” – translated: “God! I am who I am, and I will not be held accountable to anyone!”
In fact: “I am.”
Wait a minute, wasn’t that originally God’s title for Himself?
I think that we can more easily justify bad habits once we have decided that we are god. In fact, “bad” even starts to look “acceptable” and eventually, “good”.
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” – Romans 3:10
But let’s backtrack… I know that I could talk about any bad habit here, but it makes sense to talk about porn. I started looking at porn when I was twelve, as best as I can remember, ironically (or sadly), after a weekend trip that I took with my father, where we had “the talk” and he told me not to look at porn. My curiosity planted itself like a seed inside of that shell of a boy, and grew into a full-fledged habitual monster. That monster proved to be overwhelming to me, off and on, for upwards of a decade. Such is the effect of sin in our lives. Put simply, sin separates us from right relationship with God.
That “bad habit” (which is a massively understated description of pornography addiction) tried to threaten my love, my future, and even my salvation and my life. I became so stuck in that sin that I was convinced I was no longer a child of God, and considered ending my life because of it. These are huge lies that the devil sneaks in when we give him that kind of a foothold.
Christian, we are blessed with the Holy Spirit, who comes into our hearts and convicts us of sin and empowers us to live a life whose chief desire is for Christ. That does not mean that we will not fail or sin, but it does mean that our deepest love is for Jesus.
The main word we are dealing with here is “habit” – even more than “bad” – because even good things can become “habits” that replace Christ in our lives, thereby becoming bad. (Making money, in and of itself, wouldn’t be that bad of a habit to get into, but is it your all consuming passion?) We are constantly worshipping something, the question is: what are we worshipping?
What am I worshipping?
What are you worshipping?
My habitual sin of pornography distanced me from God for a few reasons. I purposefully disobeyed God’s command not to commit adultery (Matthew 5:28). I lacked the faith that what Christ accomplished for me on the cross really held the power to put sin to death in my life (see the book of Romans and smile and jump up and down and wave your arms and rejoice at the accomplishments our God made for us when he crushed the head of our great enemy, the serpent). I made my sexual desires (again, good things, meant for great pleasure) God things acted out contrary to the Creator’s design, and elevated my sin to a place of worship, to a throne meant only for my savior.
Coming full circle, I made myself god, and in doing so, I justified my sin over and over and over again and seared my conscience past the point of conviction. I said, “I am”, when in truth “I AM” remained God all along, and “gave [me] up to dishonorable passions.” (Rom 1:26) A lot of times, in the Bible, the wrath of God doesn’t manifest itself in fire and brimstone, but in a more terrifying thing: giving us what we want, and allowing us to suffer the consequences. You feel the distance. It is a miracle that Jesus replaced the numb passivity that I began to feel for my addictions with his loving conviction again, to purge that sin from my life.
Let me say this: “It’s just what I do. It’s just the way that I am!” is not an apt excuse. We were all “just one way or another” before Christ saved us and now, according to Scripture, we are “a new creation.” It’s just the way that I am and these are just the things that I do negates the power of Christ to change us.
I think that it is worth risking the severity of saying that “bad habits” are not ignorable problems that run parallel to our relationship with Jesus. I think that “bad habits” are “habitual sin” – or “unrepentant sorrow” – which are in direct contradiction to the pursuit of righteousness and friendship with our savior. Jesus calls us his bride! You try getting married, coming home from the honeymoon, and then making a “bad habit” of daily sexual affairs with new women and see how close you continue to feel to your wife.
Christianity is not about moralism. It is not about “good things” and “bad things” – it is about Jesus. And by the grace of God, we get to have personal relationships with Jesus. We get to be in love with Him and love Him through the way that we live, much like I get to love my spouse by remaining faithful to her.