Monday, May 26, 2008

How to say no, chapter 3

Continuing on with my notes from How To Say No to a Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer:

Chapter 3: Putting You Past Behind You

"The sin that troubles you today sank its roots into your life yesterday. You can't break your sinful habits until you have a new beginning."

Satan likes to use illegitimate guilt to make us feel that a new beginning is impossible. Or he wants us to think that "we've gone too far...since the past can't be reclaimed we might as well give up." Plus sinful habits have a "domino effect," making them easier to commit the next time. Once guard has been let down it is easy to let it down again.

True, actions have consequences that sometimes cannot be changed. But God offers genuine forgiveness and a break in the cycle, a new beginning.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah 1:18.

Guilt can cause physical illness, depression, lack of faith (I John 3:21). It can cause people to punish themselves or to do good works to compensate. Good works can't erase guilt.

To deal with guilt:

1. Identify the cause. Sometimes we can be plagued by false guilt.
2. Realize that God's remedy for sin is complete (I John 1:9). To help stop the cycle of confessing the same sin over and over, begin to thank God for His forgiveness each time you fell guilty.
3. "As far as possible, experience the healing of all personal relationships."

My purpose in jotting down these notes is not to post "the answer" so that people don't have to buy the book: on the contrary, I hope anyone struggling with persistent sin will buy the book. There is so much more there that is so rich. Rather, this is just an exercise for me to review what I have read and studied.

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