WHY Do I Keep Doing That?

“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do,

but what I hate I do.” Romans 7:15

Have you ever wanted something you knew you shouldn’t want? Or have you ever not wanted something you knew was good for you? If you are human – like me – you have. So how do you deal with it? Try to ignore it, replace it with an unsatisfactory substitute, or distract yourself, only to waste time and energy without successfully getting rid of that itch, once and for all? Or, perhaps you were successful in avoiding temptation this time? What did you learn? Was it just a delay, a narrow escape, or did you actually get over it and move on to a life better-lived without it? My bet is, you were miserable fighting it, and even more miserable after failing to resist. Whether we’re talking about food, sex, alcohol, cigarettes, overspending, gambling, porn, or any one of a number of other things, trying to conquer it in your own strength will only be minimally effective the majority of the time without what seems like a major life transformation.

What would life be like if you could really, honestly want the things you are supposed to want, and get rid of those pesky desires forever? I’m thinking it would be nothing short of Heaven. Living on this earth, God has promised we will have trials and temptations. That is a given. How we deal with them is another thing entirely. The Bible says in Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Does that mean if you do everything in your power to love and obey Him, He will give you everything you want? Not exactly…that is just trying to force yourself to do one more thing that does not come naturally. It is next to impossible to make yourself want something if you just...don’t. And just because you decide you are going to try hard to align your desires with what you believe God wants, you heart is probably not going to cooperate unless something happens to change it from the inside. It takes a transformation from the deepest depths of your soul that only God can accomplish; but it is easier than you might think. God is happy to help you get your heart in line with His; all you have to do is ask for His help and truly submit your desires to Him to deal with. That is the hardest part…just recognizing that these things are detrimental and being willing to let go of them.

We are all captive to our natural human desires, but Jesus came to set the captives free. God doesn’t want to impose a bunch of regulations on your life because He is being mean or overly strict. And being “holy” does not mean “holier-than-thou”…it means being set apart…set free! God loves you so much that He wants you to be able to look in the mirror with no hint of anguish, shame or regret. He wants to set you free so you can live the best, most successful, and happiest life possible, and He knows you can’t do that as long as you have bad habits, desires and addictions dragging you down.

So, how do you accomplish that? It begins with a decision: This is not the person I want to be anymore. This only brings me pain, shame, feelings of defeat & separation, and/or unhealthy living. I no longer want it to be part of my life. It is no longer who I choose to be.

Then you pray: Father, I have had it with this area of my life! I am sick and tired of feeling this way. I want to give it to You, but no matter how hard I try, I just can’t let it go. I can’t stop this on my own, but I know that You are able to do the impossible. Please, Lord, take this from me. Remove it from my life, and destroy every desire I have for it. Change my heart, Lord. I give You my heart and ask that You would remove everything in it that should not be there. Replace every harmful desire with Your desires for the things You want for me. Father, I lift it up to You now and ask that You would take it from my grasp, even if You have to break my fingers to pry it loose. Rip off the band-aid, Lord, and set me free. Thank you, Father, for Your loving care over me and for helping me remove this from my life. I give it to You now, in Jesus’ name, amen.

You may have to pray that prayer a few times over a period of time, but God is faithful. He really will transform the desires of your heart until one day you will wake up and realize that your desires have truly changed. Temptations will still come, and you may even fall a time or two, but you will find it easier and easier to walk away until you realize one day it no longer holds any attraction for you, and in fact, you have actually come to see it from God's perspective. That feeling of freedom and fresh transformation is amazing!!! I know, because He did it for me, and He will do it for you, too, if you just let Him. After all, God sent Jesus to help us because He already knew we couldn't do it on our own.

Prayer: Thank you, my most gracious Heavenly Father, for the amazing love You show me every day, and for the transformation You are accomplishing in my life. Because of You, I am made whole. Because of You, I feel clean, healthy and joyful from the inside out. Because of You, I can look in the mirror and know that I can look anyone in the eye without shame, embarrassment or fear…not because of anything I have accomplished on my own, but because of what You have done in my life to set me free from my old self. Thank you, Father! I love You, praise You, worship and adore You with all of my heart. Fill my heart with Your healthy, wholesome desires and make me truly and wholly Yours, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:16-17

“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”

Luke 7:47

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