Break-a-habit-front (Custom)Why is it so hard to break a habit and start a new, better one? Why did the God of the universe who could have made us any way He wanted make us so that habits are so difficult to break? Why is Romans 7 such a universally familiar condition?

It happens so regularly that it’s predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God’s commands, but it’s pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? Romans 7:21-24 (MSG)

We could blame ourselves—the flesh, the fall, the world, culture, or the devil. But, God is sovereign and He could’ve made us anyway He wanted. Why did He make us so that habits are so hard to break?

Why do we struggle so to take those pounds off and it is so easy to put them back on? Why have so many of us started reading the Bible every day, only to neglect the habit. Every Thanksgiving we intend to develop the habit of gratitude but in a few weeks, we are grumbling and complaining again.

There may be a number of answers to this perplexing problem, but the one I want to focus on today is this: God wants to draw us to Himself. He wants our soul cry to be. . .

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
Oh, bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.[1]

Only by prayer

There is an interesting story in Mark 9 that sheds light on this question. A man has a son who is possessed by an evil spirit. He brings the son to the disciples who are unable to cast out the demon. When the spirit saw Jesus, it threw the boy to the ground in convulsions. He rolled around, foaming at the mouth. It was an awful spectacle. Heartbreaking.

Jesus tenderly asks, “How long has he been this way?”

We learn something about Jesus in this question, by the way. He is not only interested in doing for us, he wants to relate to us. He wants to converse with us. He wants to talk.

After Jesus heals the boy, His disciples ask Jesus, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”

Jesus said, “This kind can only come out by prayer.”[2] As A.T. Robertson said it, “They were powerless because they were prayerless.”[3]

[1] Annie S. Hawks

[2] Or, as some manuscripts have it, “prayer and fasting.”

[3] Robertson, A. T. (1933). Word Pictures in the New Testament (Mk 9:29). Nashville, TN: Broadman Press