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Summary: This is the second in the series subtitled "Costly Habits". It gives Biblical principles for Avoiding Costly Habits

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Avoiding Costly Mistakes at All Costs - Costly Habits Part 2

I Kings 20:1-35

Pastor Don Jones

West Glendale Baptist Church

Last Sunday we looked at the costly mistake of costly and sometimes deadly habits. King Ben-Hadad was sitting in his tent drinking with his 32 kings instead of on the battle field with his men. As a result, he lost his kingdom and power because he was addicted to alcohol. It is a sad commentary not only to alcohol but any habit (eating, drinking sodas, caffeine) that ensnares our lives so much so that we are slaves to the costly habit.

Last week I also shared with you startling statistics about alcohol and drug abuse among adults and teens. Case in point: last weekend my son rescued a freshman that had overdosed on alcohol and had gone into a coma. Another student, the son of a doctor, went into a coma and the ER staff had difficult bringing him back to consciousness. The dad flew in from a conference to be with his son. My daughter stopped one of her charges last year, a beautiful young lady, from aspirating on her own vomit as she lay unconscious on the floor because of alcohol poisoning. It is not a pretty picture to say the least.

The Arizona Republic ran a headline this past Wednesday entitled, "Adult Drug Deaths Soar" in which the reporter examined the statistics indicating a rise in drug related deaths since the introduction of Oxycontin. Evidently the "boomers" are not familiar with the deadlier drugs (both prescription and illegal) of today and as a result, more are dying from overdoses. Again, I know it is a problem not only in the world but in our churches as well.

So how do we avoid these costly mistakes? What are the biblical principles that will help us to be free in Christ and remain free in Him? I believe there are five principles to help guide our decision making so that we will be less likely to begin a costly habit.

Cue slide - Stop Destructive Behavior

First, stop the destructive behavior. I realize this sounds easier said than done. But at some level there needs to be a conscious decision to stop the costly behavior. Until you decide to say no, the habit will continue. As a believer you have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome the worst habits.

Jesus encountered a street scene in his walks that teaches us His perspective on costly habits. A woman had been caught in adultery. I am not sure if someone was peeking through the window or if someone walked in on the two of them while in the act. I did notice that there was no man involved? Where was he? Anyway, Jesus approached as they were ready to throw the stones at her. He simply said in John 8:7-8,

“If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

With those words they began to leave, oldest to the youngest. Most scholars agree that when Jesus bent down to write on the ground he had written common sins that the crowd was guilty of committing. I take it one step further and say he wrote their individual sins in the dust of the ground. What happens next is what I want you to notice. It says,

Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Go and leave your life of sin. She was a woman who had done this before. It was her life. Jesus gave her the power to leave that life.

I have heard I John 1:9 quoted often. I use it frequently myself. But we must remember the word "confess" in the verse. It doesn’t mean to seek forgiveness so we can do it again, it means we agree with God and commit to not doing it again.

I will tell you the best way of not getting caught in a costly habit is simply do not start one. A person who does not drink alcohol will never become an alcoholic. A person who never uses drugs will never become an addict. Unfortunately one of the characteristics of youth, and some of our oldsters, is we think we are not going to be the one to suffer the consequences. It can never happen to me!

Cue slide - Use Your Freedom in Christ to Limit Yourself

In Christ, we have been freed from the law. We have been saved by grace. Salvation is not achieved by following a list of rules. Salvation is a result of believing in the work of Jesus on the cross. Scripture speaks against the use of illegal drugs or substances. I wish I could tell you that there is some scripture that says you should not drink or smoke or use prescription pain killers. But there is no direct verse saying, "Thou shall not". There are however guidelines from Paul in I Corinthians. I Corinthians 10:31-11:1 says,

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