We all have habits, both good and bad. Anything you do automatically without consciously thinking about it, or without specifically deciding to do it, is a habit. Good habits or practices--such as tidiness, courtesy, good manners etc. are a real blessing. But when the habits you've picked up are BAD or DESTRUCTIVE, and you find them hard or almost impossible to change, they are known as VICES.
There's a true story about a man who owned an eagle, and for many years had chained him to a stake. Over the years, the eagle had walked around and around that stake so much on the end of his chain that he'd worn an actual rut in the ground. Finally, he was getting old and his master felt sorry for him and thought, "These are his last days, so I'm going to set him free!" So he took the metal ring off the eagle's foot, took him up in his hand and tossed him into the air. But what do you suppose happened? The old eagle had almost totally forgotten how to fly! He flip-flopped right back down to the ground, walked back over to the old rut and started walking around the rut like he had done for years! No chain or birdband held him!--Just the habit!
It has been said that "The chains of bad habits are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken!"--EXCEPT by the Lord! And "Habit is a cable; you weave a thread of it every day, and at last you cannot break it."--These are very true.
How many times have you tried to quit a bad habit, but found yourself almost powerless to get rid of it or stop doing it, no matter how much you tried to exert will power against it? The fact is that, in one area or another, we are all weak and very human and fallible, and subject to many different problems which can turn into bad habits and vices.
What most people do not realise is that a vice or a bad habit is often MORE than just an ingrained natural reaction. When you have a certain weakness, and you entertain and give in to it for a prolonged period of time, very often evil spirits--demons--are BEHIND these habits, playing them up and trying to keep you addicted to them, especially if they are bad habits which endanger you or your health, or your relationship with others.
According to God's Word, there are definitely demons who play up certain sins and vices and try to destroy us through them.--Such as demons of gluttony, demons of alcohol and drugs and cigarettes, demons of gambling, demons of sexual perversions, of homosexuality etc. These are some of the most OBVIOUS vices, but what many people do not realise is that things like hatred, guilt, bitterness, worry, pride, jealousy, self-righteousness, fear, lying and deception are also bad habits and vices, and the spiritual powers that bind people to them can be just as strong and destructive as the addiction that drives someone to compulsive gambling, drugs or alcohol abuse!
There are demons that will try to harm and destroy you in almost every phase of your life if you let them. This is especially true if you have a TENDENCY or a BESETTING SIN along some line, say, for example, a strong inclination to be jealous or to critically judge others.--Or if you have a WEAKNESS towards alcohol or anything else. The Enemy can play on that and tempt you with it constantly.
ALCOHOLISM is a vice that has plagued mankind for millenniums, and though drinking wine in moderation was very common in Bible times, the Bible has much to say against the constant ABUSE of and OVER-indulgence in wine and other alcohol.--See Proverbs 2O:1; 21:17; 23:29-35; 31:4, Ephesians 5:18; Titus 2:3. The Lord can not only set you free from the spirit behind alcoholism, but He can also give you the will power to continue to resist it once He's delivered you.
We all know, of course, that the nicotine and tar in TOBACCO is very bad for our health and has been proven to be a major cause of cancer! Even most smokers recognize that smoking is a vice and a bad habit, but the point is, how can they STOP?--As it can have such a grip and be so addicting! The solution to stopping is to desperately pray for the Lord to free you from the physical dependence on the nicotine, and to rebuke any bad spirits which could possibly be aggravating and adding to the addiction. Ask the LORD to DELIVER you, and He WILL!
DRUGS are also very addicting and very harmful. This includes not only the illegal drugs, but also the "legal" prescribed drugs that millions of people buy across the pharmacy counter. Many are addicting, and whatever "benefits" they give--whether escape from reality or relief from pain--almost all of them have bad side-effects, are harmful and expensive! But the good news is that the Lord has DELIVERED untold thousands of people from drug addiction of all kinds!--MIRACULOUSLY!--And often without any withdrawal symptoms!
GAMBLING is a vice as addicting as alcoholism or drugs, and is clearly a case of deceptive evil spirits compelling someone to gamble their hard-earned savings away at a toss of the dice, the turn or a wheel, the speed of a horse or a chance good hand of cards. The principle behind gambling is that you can make easy money without labour, just the opposite of the values of diligence, hard work and thrift that the Bible teaches. Also, the dependence on "luck" is nothing more than wishing for the blessing of the Devil, as the word "LUCK" comes from his name, "LUCifer". It's bad enough that some people are foolish enough to take RISKS or CHANCES in gambling, but those who are actually "good" at it or "lucky" are even MORE in need of deliverance!
HOMOSEXUALITY--or Sodomy, as it is known in the Bible--has been more fully covered in another article on Deep Truths, "The Doom of the Sodomites". Please read this story and its "Food for Thought" if you have a problem with homosexuality.
Many Christians who self-righteously condemn others who are caught up in the obvious vices of alcoholism, drugs or sexual perversion think nothing of over-eating and obesity.--Yet GLUTTONY, or COMPULSIVE EATING are often spiritually induced vices as well, and a compulsive bad habit that takes real prayer and determination to overcome. Gluttonly is often as strong and as bad a habit as drug addiction or alcoholism, and God's Word gives ample warning against it. (See Proverbs 23:2,2O-21; 1Peter 4:3.)
Speaking of SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS and a condemning CRITICAL SPIRIT, these are definitely very serious spiritual problems and vices also. If you find yourself constantly judging and critical, looking down on others, thinking you are better than they are, then you should definitely seek for deliverance from the negative, divisive spirits which cause you to be that way.
Self-righteousness is very closely related to PRIDE, and stems directly from it.--And though we all have the besetting sin of pride and a love and concern for ourselves, the Enemy of our soul can often play on that natural human weakness and blow it up into the worst of all problems! Pride is the root of ALL sin, and was the cause of SATAN'S downfall.--Isaiah 14:12-15. The Lord HATES pride!--Proverbs 6:16-17.
Two other common vices that countless millions of people are afflicted with are HATRED and BITTERNESS. Like other sins of the mind and of the heart, these are definitely weaknesses brought on by evil spirits. For what the Bible has to say about bitterness, read Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:19; Hebrews 12:15; James 3:14-15. For hatred, read Proverbs 1O:12; 15:17; 26:26; Galatians 5:19-21. Not only are these bad habits detrimental and even dangerous to others, but medical science has proven that they cause all kinds of psychosomatic illnesses to the one who is bitter or hateful by releasing actual poisons into the bloodstream.
FEAR and WORRY are related negative emotions which cause no end of bad effects to the one who is plagued by them. Being deeply fearful or constantly worrying are usually more than just ingrained habits or the result of some bad childhood experience. Fear especially is a terrible bondage, and the Bible clearly states that "GOD has NOT given us the spirit of fear, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a sound mind!"--2Timothy 1:7. See also Proverbs 29:25; Luke 21:26; 2Timothy 1:7; Hebrews 2:15; 1 John 4:18.
JEALOUSY has been covered in a separate article. (See "Jealousy: The Green-Eyed Monster!") GUILT or a feeling of condemnation is also definitely spiritual, and brought on by the Devil, whom the Bible calls "the Accuser of the Saints".--Revelation 12:1O. People usually suffer from guilt because they are either disobedient and "have a certain fearful expectation of judgement" (Hebrews 1O:27), or because "their conscience is weak" and therefore susceptible to the lies of the Enemy.--1Corinthians 8:7; Titus 1:15. The solution to breaking such an oppressive habit is to study the truth of GOD'S WORD to know what is WRONG and what is RIGHT, and then to OBEY and do the RIGHT THING!--Hebrews 1O:22; John 15:3.
Some people have a compulsive bad habit of LYING or of practicing DECEPTION. The Bible makes it clear that this is also a serious vice. For Bible verses on lying, see Psalm 119:163; Proverbs 6:16-17; 1O:18; 12:22, 13:5; 26:28; Ephesians 4:25. For deceitfulness, see Proverbs 12:5,17; 14:8,25; 26:24. There are many more bad habits and vices which we could list, but these are just a few examples of some of the most common ones. But remember, ANY bad or negative habit you have that hurts yourself or others is a VICE, and it is very possible that the Enemy of your soul is behind it, using it to try to defeat or hinder you.
It's interesting also that a VICE is a workman's TOOL that GRIPS something so it cannot move!
If you're a Christian, evil spirits can't permanently possess you, but they can try to put thoughts in your head to motivate you to do things which you shouldn't. They try to INFLUENCE your mind and your spirit, and try to get you to yield to them.--And if they can get you to yield to their influence or to decide to do their will, they get control and can almost bind you into vices or bad habits. If you get into a bad habit and do it continually, you can wind up in total defeat to where you're obeying and listening to the Devil instead of the Lord.
Even born-again Christians who love the Lord are sometimes subject to evil spirits.--Not permanently possessed, but OPPRESSED or under their influence. A Christian is the LORD'S property and possessed by the LORD and HIS Spirit.--But of course, if you have some besetting sin, some dark corner of your life or bad habit that you're not willing to yield to the Lord, the Enemy can bother you and plague you on that point. He can use that thing to weaken you or to cause defeat in that particular area of your life. This is why God's Word says, "Neither give PLACE to the Devil!"--Ephesians 4:27. The Scripture calls them "BESETTING SINS" because they are SPIRITS that ATTACK you, "WEIGHTS" you must "lay aside".--Hebrews 12:1.
When you "give place" to the Enemy in your life, it's like having an evil boarder in your house: He's not in control of the house, but he annoys you and causes you trouble and all kinds of damage. You tell him to leave several times but he won't leave, so finally by the authority and the law--in this case the authority of the WORD and the Name of JESUS--you literally THROW him out!--Otherwise he just won't leave!
It's sad that many Christians go so long without getting complete DELIVERANCE from deep-seated vices and bad habits! They just sort of harbour them and allow them to hang around without really getting RID of them. They don't recognise that their problems are SPIRITUAL as well as physical, so they don't take SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over these spirits and REBUKE them and get RID of them.
You have to first of all be willing to RECOGNISE that there is a SPIRITUAL FORCE binding you into that vice, and you have to want to be FREE of it enough that you are not only willing to CONFESS it to the LORD and cry out to HIM for help, but you have to be willing to confess to OTHERS that you need help and prayer to overcome your weakness and bad habit.--Because some vices have such a strong grip on people--even Christians--that they're almost powerless to overcome them on their own.
If you have a real serious problem and you cannot seem to get deliverance through private prayer or trying to resist some vice on your own, then you need to contact other Spirit-filled Christians whom you know and trust and let them know you have a serious problem and ask for their united prayer! Never be ashamed to ask for help or prayer when you need it.
Remember, God's Word says: "ONE can chase a THOUSAND, but TWO can put TEN THOUSAND to flight" (Deuteronomy 32:3O), and it helps greatly to have someone else pray with you when you feel oppressed or distressed or attacked by the Enemy. "Where TWO or THREE are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." And, "If any TWO of you shall AGREE on Earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in Heaven."--Matthew 18:19-2O.
"If there is any SICK among you (SPIRITUALLY as well as physically), let him CALL for the ELDERS of the church and let them pray over him, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick. And if they have committed any sins, they shall be forgiven them. CONFESS your FAULTS one to another, and PRAY one for another, that ye may be HEALED."--James 5:14-16. When you pray, quote and remind the Lord of the Promises that He has made in His Word. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it. He has promised to keep His Word, so remind Him of it, cling to His Promises, memorise and quote them continually, and never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer--and He WILL! He HAS to! If you sincerely WANT deliverance and PRAY for a real victory over any bad habits, the LORD will help you! Jesus never fails! He always answers when we call upon Him with a WHOLE HEART.
"ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and in Earth," Jesus said (Matthew 28:18), and we have JESUS, so we have HIS power, so even the evil spirits and demons are subject unto us!--Matthew 1O:1; Luke 9:1; 1O:17-19, Acts 8:7. If there are demonic powers behind your bad habits, you can rebuke them in the name of Jesus, and they HAVE to DEPART!
To overcome a vice or bad habit, you first or all have to get delivered of the spiritual power that is behind the bad habit. Before you're delivered, the binding spirit may pretty much have control, but after you are DELIVERED, it will be within your power to RESIST its re-entry!
But even after prayer and spiritual deliverance, it sometimes takes awhile to completely break free from the HABIT. Although you are delivered of the SPIRIT, you still have the ingrained HABIT, and the spirit may keep trying to come back to tempt you for awhile and play up on your weakness or tendencies along that line.---Especially if a certain weakness or vice has been a big problem or habit for many years. It makes you much more SUSCEPTIBLE to attacks along that line. So for some time after prayer you may still have some battles with it.--But don't give up! It's a real battle to overcome a strong bad habit you've had for years, but you need to resist even thinking about doing those things again.--Rebuke the very THOUGHT of temptation, quote Scriptures and praise the Lord continually!
It's not YOUR fault that you get TEMPTED. Nobody can keep temptation from coming, but you don't have to YIELD to temptation! "You can't keep birds from flying over your head, but you can CERTAINLY keep them from building a NEST in your hair!" Attack and hit the Devil back every time he tries his tactics on you! The Devil can only win if you SURRENDER! He can NEVER win as long as you keep FIGHTING. "RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!"--James 4:7. As long as you keep resisting, he'll keep fleeing. But if you stop resisting, he uses his lies and temptations and persuasion to win. When JESUS WAS TEMPTED by the Devil, He fought him with SCRIPTURES!--Luke 4:1-13. So quote the Word of God and rebuke the Enemy!
Some changes are instantaneous, overnight, and others take awhile. You can't get over some habits in one day necessarily, because the Enemy doesn't very willingly surrender territory which he has controlled so long. When people have had weaknesses and had channels open to the Enemy before, he tries to get back in if he can. But if you keep praying and asking the Lord to protect and deliver and give you the complete victory, and you claim and quote His Word, He WILL! "Whom the Son shall set free is FREE INDEED!"--John 8:36.
One of your best protections is to KEEP BUSY for God and others, doing what you know you SHOULD, as well as filling your mind and heart with positive, encouraging, strengthening and faith-building thoughts from His Word, remembering, memorising and continually quoting to yourself and even to the Enemy when he attacks you. And "pray without ceasing!"--1Thessalonians 5:17. As the poem says: "The Devil flees when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees!"
"Ye are of GOD, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is HE (JESUS) that is IN YOU, than HE (THE DEVIL) that is in the WORLD."--1John 4:4. The power of the Lord is far greater, and is able to break all the chains that may bind you!
WHATEVER your bad habit is, JESUS can set you FREE!--Are YOU free?--Or do you need HELP?--"ASK and ye SHALL RECEIVE!"--Amen?
The following is a sample of a prayer for deliverance that you might find helpful, as it offers you an example, not only of how to call out to the Lord for His help to overcome vices, but also how to CLAIM and QUOTE Scriptures as you rebuke the Enemy:
(PRAY:) "Lord Jesus, I call out to YOU now with my whole heart and ask You, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, to FREE me from the terrible grip that this vice has on my life! YOU said in Your WORD, Jesus, `Greater is He that is in me (YOU in my heart, Lord!) than he that is in the World (the Devil)!'--So I KNOW that YOU are GREATER than the Enemy and CAN overcome this vice! You said, `ALL power is given unto Me in Heaven and on Earth' and that `if ye shall ask ANYTHING in My Name, I WILL DO it'!--So I ask You right now, Jesus, to BREAK every hold the Enemy has in my life and DESTROY the power of this bad habit! I REBUKE the Devil and ALL of his influence, right NOW, in Jesus' name!
"Your Word says, `Give NO place to the Enemy', and I don't want ANYTHING that's not of YOU, Jesus! Your disciples said, `Even the evil spirits are SUBJECT unto us!', so I CLAIM that promise, I claim that SPIRITUAL AUTHORITY over the power of the Enemy--right NOW!--And I REBUKE the Devil in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I claim Your Promise, Lord: `RESIST the Devil and he will FLEE from you!' I RESIST you, Satan, in the Name of JESUS CHRIST! I BIND and REBUKE any hold you might have on my life, any power you might have over me, in the Name of JESUS!
"JESUS, You PROMISED that `When ye shall call unto Me with a WHOLE HEART, I WILL answer thee!'--And Jesus, I AM crying out with ALL my heart for You to deliver me!--And I EXPECT you to do it! You promised, `Whatsoever ye shall bind on Earth SHALL be BOUND in Heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on Earth, shall be loosed in Heaven', so I BIND the power of the Enemy in YOUR NAME and I loose the grip he has on me and I ask You to cast him far away from me, NEVER to return!--In JESUS' name! I count it DONE, Lord! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You for setting me FREE! Help me now to take a stand of faith against the Enemy's devices! Please give me the spiritual power to do what I can to resist temptation, and STAY free from the ingrained habits, Lord! In the Name of Jesus Christ!--AMEN!"