Book Review: How To Break A Stubborn Habit by Erwin Lutzer

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Are you sick and tired of that stubborn habit in your life? Better yet, are you sick and tired of being sick and tired of that stubborn habit in your life? If you’re reading this, then it is most likely a resounding YES! How much worse is it as a Christian who just can’t get victory? Trust me, I know it all to well. From the slip ups, confession and repentance before God, only to fall again shortly. Furthermore, you have guilt trips to no end. That being said, I just finished this book and I find myself greatly encouraged after reading it. So I just wanted to share my thoughts.

Erwin Lutzer addresses the ongoing frustrations that Christians face from besetting sins. Perhaps you’ve asked, “God, why haven’t you delivered me from this? ” a billion times and counting. Especially that God is omnipotent who can change it all in a heartbeat yet He doesn’t. On the flip side, it could be God’s way of helping us grow our faith in the midst of trial. But we are accountable in making that step of faith in those trails.

He goes on and lays out 3 ground rules that we must consider: 1) believe in God’s goodness, 2) accept personal responsibility, and 3) believe that deliverance is possible. I find this helpful as we’ve done the opposite. Sometimes it’s despairing, believing nothing will ever change and that God doesn’t love you anymore. But that’s what the enemy wants us to believe in living defeated lives yet what we fail to realize is that our enemy is a defeated enemy! Therefore, we must grab hold of these ground rules.

The rest of the book is filled with more steps one can take such as renewing one’s mind with the Word of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, living in light of the cross, handling guilt and feelings, accountability, and so forth. Now I’m sure you’ve heard that countless times but believe me, this is more than just imperatives. Each one is elaborated with practical points, backed up with Scripture. Each chapter ends with an action step and personal/group reflection questions.

What stuck out to me the most is the last chapter, which addresses how we tend to relapse after making significant progress. As much as relapses are inevitable, what must be gleaned from this is to stay humble before God daily, whether you’re struggling or not. Don’t think for a second that you should seek God any less on a “good” day. After all, “pride comes before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). At the end of the day, it is not about perfection (as we will fall short in this lifetime) but progress in sanctification as we need the Holy Spirit to empower us in walking before God.

On that note, it is best to revisit this book regularly and see how you are making progress in light of its practical points. Lutzer also includes an outline to journal your progress. If possible, read along with a small group or a friend. Trust me, I know how easy it is to keep one’s sins hidden in the dark, thinking that no one else is struggling like you are. You’d be surprised as to how many people you know are in the same boat. All one has to do is speak up and see that we’re all struggling. But we can fight together. Amen.

In closing, please consider this point Lutzer makes,

“realize that your ultimate goal is not victory, but relationship with God Himself.”

At the end of the day, God knows our sins and how it can be a never ending battle. But always remember, the war has been won in Christ! He reconciled you in right relationship to God. That’s what the Gospel is all about! More than behavior modification or staying out of trouble, but a relationship with God that He initiated when we wanted nothing to with Him. Now, take heed! Christ is with you every step of the way!

Overall, an excellent book that is worth the read.

Notable quotes

“Stubborn habits begin innocently enough, but because we don’t master them, they quickly master us. We all experience the cycle: enjoy a forbidden pleasure, feel guilty, determine never to do it again, take pride in brief moments of self-control, then fail once more. Each time we repeat the pattern the ruts are cut a bit deeper, the chain is pulled a bit tighter.”

“Temptation is God’s magnifying glass; it shows us how much work He has left to do in our lives.”

“Why is it so essential for you to believe that victory over your sin is possible? Because no one can win a war he or she believes can’t be won! To go to battle believing in advance that there can be no permanent victory is to succumb to the enemy before the campaign even gets under way.”

Published by Blessed Are The Forgiven

"Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered". -Psalm 32:1

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