Joni shares how we do things out of habit even after we are changed -- just like a patient who after a healing surgery continues to limp.
You can learn incredible lessons watching someone limp...
Hi, this is Joni Eareckson Tada and I remember when I was hospitalized as a teenager, I met a man in the hospital hampered by a severe limp. I'd see him every morning, hobbling down the hallway on his lame joints with the aid of a walker. All of us on the floor were looking forward to the day when radical surgery would correct his disability.
That day finally came. The surgeons opened him up, replaced several diseased joints and his lameness was cured. Yet for nearly a year after that successful surgery, the man continued to limp. I recall greeting him when he came back to the hospital for a visit. There he was using his cane and walking with a limp. "That's a shame his surgery didn't take," I commented to his doctor one day. The doctor shook his head and said, "Well, it did take, Joni. You see, that man limps out of nothing but mere habit."
Can you believe that? That guy developed strong habit patterns over his years as a disabled person, and even though he was physically free from limping, he still tended to slip back into his old ways. You know friend, in a similar manner, we Christians tend to sin... mainly out of habit. We know that in Christ we have died to sin and its rule over us. Sin no longer has power over us. We have been freed. We are completely free to live a life pleasing to Him. Read your emancipation proclamation in passages like Romans chapter 6 and Galatians chapter 2, and many more.
But old habits die hard for lame men and yes, for Christians. When we become Christians, we are spiritually free from the grip of sinful thoughts and actions, but unfortunately, as believers we develop strong habit patterns over the years. Often we find ourselves slipping back into old ways - the ways of disobedience and death. It's habit to look out for ourselves instead of others. It's habit to retaliate when someone hurts us. It's habit to indulge our appetites. It's habit to live for ourselves and not for God.
When we become Christians, it's like having radical surgery - heart surgery -- a heart transplant, if you would. Yet it's a struggle to drop all those old habits overnight. In fact, you and I will spend the rest of our lives doing just that, putting off these filthy old garments, these old habits and putting on new ones of holiness.
You know what old, sinful habits you're leaning on today, don't you? They die hard, whether it's shading the truth, forcing your own opinions on others, a little lustful fantasizing, whatever. Today, friend, would you quit leaning on those rotten old crutches. You are free from the power of those dark habits, so start acting like it. Join the apostle Paul in declaring these bright words of freedom from Galatians 2:20 where it says: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live now in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Love that verse! Friend, your radical surgery was a complete success according to Galatians Chapter 2:20.
You can learn more about breaking free of those habits by visiting me today at joniandfriendsradio.org and asking for our free booklet "Obedience Trilogy." I've written several stories about obedience and I know you'll enjoy reading this little booklet - besides, I'd like you to have the complete list of Bible verses I've mentioned today. And it's all in this little booklet, so please click on joniandfriendsradio.org and ask for your copy of "Obedience Trilogy". And while you're on our webpage, drop me a line... I'd love to hear from you on this subject. Once again, our website address is joniandfriendsradio.org. See you there!
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