Old Habits Die Hard

  • Feb. 2, 2006
  • #6199

Joni sings "I Surrender All" and encourages listeners to remember that we are clothed in Christ because our old sinful habits die hard.

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

When I was hospitalized as a teenager, I met a man down the hallway who had a severe limp. I'd see him every morning hobbling on his lame joints with the aid of a walker. All of us on the floor were looking forward to the day when surgery would correct his problem. 

The day finally came and the surgeons replaced his diseased joints with those new plastic joints. His lameness was cured. Yet for nearly a year after the successful surgery, the man continues to limp. I remember greeting him when he came back to the hospital for a visit and there he was still using his cane. 

I commented to a doctor that it was a shame his surgery hadn't taken. "Oh, but it did take," the doctor said. "That man limps out of nothing but habit." 

That guy developed strong habit patterns over the years and even though that dear man was physically free, he still tended to slip back into old ways. In a similar manner, we Christians sometimes sin out of habit. We know that in Christ sin no longer has power over us. We are completely at liberty to live a life pleasing to the Lord.  

But old habits die hard. For lame men, yes, but also for Christians. Even though we are spiritually free from the grip of sinful thoughts and actions, we believers often slip back into the old ways. It's a habit to live for ourselves and not for God. 

Well, listen. When we became Christians we had radical heart surgery. We are free. We are at liberty. And now it is our challenge to put off those old habits and put on new habits of holiness. I like the way Paul puts it in Romans chapter 13 when he says, "Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus and do not think about how to gratify the desires of sinful nature." Friend, don't even think about it. 

Think instead of how you have been crucified with Christ. You, the old you, no longer lives but Christ lives in you. 

So quit those old habits whether it's shading the truth, forcing your opinions on others, fantasizing, daydreaming. You are free from the power of those dark habits, so start acting like it. After all, your radical heart surgery was a complete success. Just ask the Great Physician.

Music: "I Surrender All;" arranged by Winfield S. Weeden, text by Judson W. Van DeVenter. Public Domain 

Previously aired on 8/5/94 as program #3200, and 2/1/01 as program #4894

© Joni and Friends

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