Lesson 9 - Natural Habits

  

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…

We are accustomed to, trained in, and practiced at being a sinner. We sin because that is who and what we are. Our sinful actions do not always result because we have learned or planned in our minds to sin (Romans 7:20). Our problems have not been caused by a faulty foundational set of beliefs or our underprivileged environment. Jesus said in John 8:34, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”

Relapse does not begin with the action of again using drugs or alcohol after we have been drug or alcohol-free for a season. It begins in the heart and then affects the mind—in the way we think and make decisions. Our hearts and minds have been flawed from the beginning, and we are powerless to change them. Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.”

Jeremiah 22:21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, ‘I will not hear.’ This has been your manner from your youth, that you did not obey My voice.

God states the cause for this attitude and problem. According to this verse, when did the problem begin? When does it usually begin within us? When we are young at heart, right? So once again the Bible proves to be true when it declares “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of correction will drive it far from him.”

We have only one hope and alternative. We must turn to God who can make all things new. We must be born from above. He must make us new creatures. He alone can perform the supernatural change in our nature and character. This is the work of the Holy Spirit and it results in regeneration (Ezekiel 36:26).

John 3:5-8 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Regeneration is when the very life of God first enters the soul of man. Regeneration is the process performed by God that gives man a new heart and spirit. The Holy Spirit performs this work because of grace through faith when man believes in the work of God. Another term for this is salvation or being “born again.” (John 1:13; Titus 3:5; John 6:29)

Once we are born again, we can and must remind ourselves daily that we have become new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We must learn to live as the new creations He has stated we are. We must learn to appropriate the gifts and resources that He has sovereignly placed in our lives. This is especially important during the first year of practicing sobriety, also known as holy living.

John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

1 Peter 1:2 …elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ…

When we are born again, we are also sanctified. This is done through the power of the Holy Spirit and results from the truth that resides in God’s Word. At salvation, we are sanctified completely but the proof of our sanctification is observed through our daily pursuit of God. Sanctification (to be set apart, and made holy and separate from sin, to grow in the grace of God) enables us to serve the Lord. Jesus completed the work of sanctification when He died for us on the cross. However, the process of sanctification is completed through our love of God, which is demonstrated by our daily obedience to Him through faith. Sanctification establishes our hearts through the work of grace. It is a daily process in a Christian’s walk. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Timothy 2:21)