Pastor Ron slipped up again. He was having a bad day and was looking forward to spending some time with his wife (if you know what I mean). But she was like – I really had a long day and I really was planning to go to sleep early. She did indeed go to bed early and Ron hit Casino 5 minutes after she went to sleep. He played until he went broke.
The next day he woke up feeling rotten and much poorer. He paused to pray for forgiveness and did not feel a thing. He then realized he had been slipping up on a pretty regular basis. He knew he needed to try something new to get his act together. He grabbed a pen and paper and decided to write out the consequences of his actions.
He wrote – the minute I shut God out and turn gambling on I feel the light in my life disappear and other forces seem to move in. #2: Over the last few weeks my goal of growing my church 10% this year has been totally forgotten – been busy focusing on gambling. #3: I made a couple of bad financial decisions in the last few weeks. I seemed to be in God’s blessing last month – is it slipping away? #4: Last month I was encouraging my church members to invite others to church and they did it. I was finding great joy in seeing these people saved. This month I have been focusing on my own pleasure (so why am I not happy), I have forgotten about church growth and my joy level has gone from a 10 to a 3. #5: I always preach that relationships suffer when you get into sin. Yep, all of my relationships could use a band aid right now. #6: Another night with very little sleep. #7: I have been sick on and off all month – noticed that God doesn’t really answer my prayers when I put my pleasure and gambling before Him.
Pastor Ron bowed his head and prayed: Father, I know your ways are for my own good and joy. Please forgive me for my ignorance and for putting other things before you. Next time I am going to review these consequences when I am tempted. This time he felt a warmth like Jesus was with him again. Indeed, he always taught his church people that real repentance was putting together a plan of how you are going to change. Now he has a plan which gives a little bit of power about how to fight future temptation.
Life is filled with constant problems and these issues lead to negative emotions which are often triggers to gambling. It is wise to retrain your mind to react moderately to life’s constant problems. Anger, self pity, resentment, frustration, boredom or anything else that triggers your gambling needs to be changed. Make a note of what emotions cause you problems. Then pray, plan and prepare yourself to react differently. Your mind will learn new habits. If you get angry every day you have that habit. Now if you make efforts every day to keep your anger under control you are beginning to form a new habit which will assist you in learning self control.
What happens is that your emotions get out of control and what do you do when you get upset. You gamble. So you can choose to spend a lot of time praying about the emotion that leads to your gambling.
Write down what emotion tends to lead you back to gambling?
Let’s look in on people who are trying to quit to see what they are doing. Bill prayed five times per day that God would help him to control his negative emotions. Remember we pray all the time for things that are not in God’s will. This prayer is exactly what God wants you to change and He will answer it over time.
Now you may say I have asked God a 1000 times to keep me from gambling and I went 998 times. Did I get no answer to prayer? You got the answer which was silence because when you love something as much as you love or used to love gambling God ignores those prays. In order for you to pray “God keep me from gambling” and get an answer you have to hate gambling with a passion so that you will have the faith to believe that you really can stop.
God will answer the prayer of a sincere person immediately and permanently. I will also tell you that God never answers my prayers immediately. And I know why. On some level I still want my addiction. So if you want to pray directly about your addiction pray “Father help me to not want this addiction”.
Many of you have accepted Christ as your Savior. For a while you felt His tremendous love in your life and then it has faded a bit. The way to get it back (or to start now) is to repent of your sins and to dedicate your life to Him. Pray “Father forgive me of my sins. I accept you as my Savior.” If you lack the faith to commit at this time read “The Case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. I believe that Jesus is real and this great book documents a man who made it his goal to prove Jesus was a fake. After years of research He become a Christian and wrote this book because of the overwhelming evidence that Jesus was real and is God.
Lisa is determined to form a habit to say to herself 3 times a day that “my goal is to quit gambling. I will not put a priority on fun or excitement – my goal is to quit. Today I will do things that satisfy.
Most gamblers want financial gain. The best writing on financial gain ever was written in the book of Proverbs in the Bible. The person with the most wisdom ever wrote it. Not only will it help your finances but it will give you insights on how to fix your life overall. Read one chapter of Proverbs every day.
Read John 1 and 1st Corinthians 1 from the Bible.
Jim decided to make it a habit to pray morning noon and night “Father help me to not want this addiction”.
Today Mike decided to add idea’s to his quitting gambling journal.
See my video Quitting Addiction Exercises for more information on this. Review old entries and highlight the best idea’s.
One of the reasons some people struggle to quit is because they have no idea what the purpose for their life is. There is an excellent book by Rick Warren called “The Purpose Driven Life”. I highly recommend that you read this book.
1 Timothy 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
God has unfailing love for us. Every day I will add another verse that talks about His unfailing love. Psalm 6:4
Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
Every day write down which day you just finished so that you can keep track of where to start tomorro.
Day one: Quitting addiction exercises
Day two: It is important to admit you are powerless
Day 3: Learn the right way to live