Today we will continue the discussion on why it is so hard to quit.
What percentage would you give the “I just lack the discipline” part of the equation? _______
What percentage would you give the “I just don’t care” part? _______
So, if you really care a lot about quitting, an inspirational book will be of less help to you because you already are inspired. For you it will be more helpful to become a fanatic who always completes the exercises in each chapter and sometimes does them even more then the recommended amount.
Here lies the great challenge; people who are inspired but lack discipline will be tempted to skip the mental exercises. If this might be you remember this; you need to make a number of small changes in your life in order to successfully make the large change that you want to make.
Some of you have to make a decision at this very moment that you really want to quit gambling. Be aware that a 100% commitment means that the old gambling personality needs to be killed. I use strong language because I know how hard it is going to be.
In India wild game is still quite common. The tiger is a huge cat and sometimes for one reason or another they become man-eaters. When a village knows that a man-eating tiger is out there they drop everything and start the hunt. They have a great deal of fear of a man-eating tiger because they grow to eight or nine feet long. Even the toughest of men will be immediately overcome when a tiger attacks. For some people a gambling addiction is even worse than a tiger. We shoot it time and time again and it just keeps attacking. This brings up a key question.
How many times do you think you are going to need to shoot your (gambling addiction) tiger before it will be killed? ________________
Every day you will need to make a decision – are you going to complete the exercises. Are you going to read the recommended readings? Are you going to spend time working on getting your emotions under control? Every time you do what you need to do to change you are putting another bullet in that tiger who is trying to destroy you.
Training and trusting: God knows what is best for you. When he does not allow you to have a desire of your heart, do you trust Him and still love Him? Did your actions help put up a blockade to getting your desire? Are you going to get angry at God when you don’t get what you want or will you trust God?
First Timothy 4:7 says to train yourself for Godliness. “Training” carries with it an athletic metaphor that would have been familiar to the people in Ephesus just as it is with you. Exceptional athletes are known for their exceptional training. They dedicate enormous amounts of time, energy, and effort to developing their skills. They plan their lives around their training, get up earlier than everyone else, work incredibly hard, and preserve. Their lives are marked by extreme intentionality. “No pain, no gain” is not just a motto; it is a way of life.
Paul is telling Timothy that we ought to have the same perspective of intentionality when it comes to godliness. The reality is that just like everything else in life godliness doesn’t come naturally or automatically; it requires intentional and difficult training. Godliness takes intentional effort, a decisive determination to say “no” to some things in order to say “yes” to others.
The spiritual disciplines include Bible memorization, prayer, fasting, corporate worship, journaling, giving, and acts of mercy. These are simply the means by which godliness is facilitated; they are the means by which the Spirit of God trains us to be godly. Without these disciplines and without intentional pursuit, godliness will not happen. This is stunningly simple: without intentionally putting yourself into a position to receive transforming grace, you will not become godly. The devil, your flesh, and the system of the world all work against it. Godliness is unnatural and therefore requires intentionality.
But this effort towards godliness leads to a double blessing. It affects life right now but it also has implications for the future. Sanctification is connected to glorification. 1 Corinthians 15:25 puts it this way: “Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
Michael Jordan shot hundreds of shots every day so he could win an NBA championship. You have something far more important to do than that. Would it be wise to get a couple of books so that we could train ourselves to worship God and spread the gospel?
Training takes discipline. The root word of discipline is disciple. How can you share what you have learned about discipline with others?
When we sin we prove that we have a worship problem. Are we busy worshipping God or are we spending too much time (which may become worship) on temporary pleasures. You are drawn to the temporary pleasure of addiction to escape, but instead it enslaves and traps you. Train yourself to choose satisfying healthy long term pleasures instead of temporary short term pleasures.
What is the # 1 reason you want to quit _________. Do you have a couple of other reasons? Pray 5-10 times per day: Father, help me focus on this fact. I want to quit _____ because of _________ or ___________!
Keep coming back to this site every day – the last ten days each have one of the top ten tips for avoiding relapse and one of the top ten prayers for quitting addiction.
Read Matthew 8, Proverbs 31 and James 4
Continue to read the Purpose Driven Life.
If you are struggling complete the exercises from day 7
Pray: Father help me to align with you because when I am doing things your way -we are more powerful than any substance can be.
My parents got conned. A rare coin dealer called them at home. He told my mom he could sell her a coin that would double in value. The con is: after she buys the coin he calls her back 6 weeks later and says – that coin you bought for 2500 is now worth 3500. It just so happens that I have another coin that will go up just as fast. She buys that coin also and the next thing you know 13000 of their 48000 net worth is wrapped up in coins. At this point I find out about what they are doing. She has told the con man she will buy another coin. I tell her that it is a con and she can’t buy it. She says “I told him I would buy it, if I don’t I will then have lied. She bought the coin.
It was not that she didn’t believe me that she bought the coin it was because she would not lie. Almighty God in heaven was watching her refuse to lie and I think He was happy with her. I would like to tell you that He was so happy with her that she got all her money back. But that did not happen. She got the greed bug and when it all played out their 16000 turned into 2200. They sold out a few years later for a big loss.
But the story has a happy ending. My mom turns 90 this year. She has her mind and her health. She still helps every single person that she can and she is blessed and has a full joy in her life. She is broke but she has food and good shelter. She tells everyone she can about Jesus Christ and she is a great witness.
Most of us have messed up just like she did. But then we fall into sin. She refused to fall into sin even though she messed up big time. She would not even lie to the guy who was stealing from her.
Be like my mom. If at your hardest time God looks down on you and you are fighting to get the sin out you will get your reward. If at your hardest time you are working to help others you will get your reward.
I can tell you from my stockbroker days that I knew many old people who had nothing. They had 500,000 but they had nothing.
My mom is a very rich poor woman. If you want everything, strive to have ethics and morals like my mom.
So if you ever again lose a bunch of money doing what you should not be doing, don’t sin, talk to God. You may be finally ready to hear what He has to say to you.
Read 1 Corinthians 2
Bloom where you are planted right now.
Fulfill your purpose – do something to help. Pray “Father, bring people to this website and give them a chance to overcome addiction, find your love, start to find their purpose and to start to find joy again.”
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Thank you for reading day 36 of this program: How to stop gambling.
Day one: Quitting addiction exercises
Day two: It is important to admit you are powerless
Day 3: Learn the right way to live
Day 4: Getting rid of negative emotions
Day 5: Remember – money lost is not yours. Don’t try to get it back or you will lose more.
Day 6: can you increase your pleasure by gambling?
Day 7: Staying clean in all ways helps you quit the addiction
Day 8: Decide what pain and pleasure you want
Day 9: Analyze what leads you back to your addiction
Day 10: Change your emotions and your mindsets. Stop believing that your big score will come in.
Day 11: Where the Spirit of the Lord is – there is liberty
Day 12: Learn how to worship God. Also try to develop positive addictions.
Day 13: Write out a letter saying why you want to quit
Day 14: Overcoming cravings and negative emotions
Day 15: You have some self control
Day 16: Have a list of coping statements. Have a list of substitute activities.
Day 17: How to find living water that will always satisfy you
Day 18: Do not have faulty beliefs abourt gambling odds
Day 19: Interview with a professional poker player
Day 20: What we can learn from Adam and Eve’s mistakes
Day 21: more great stuff from Adam and Eve’s mistakes
Day 22: Self control
Day 23: What to think about to develop self control
Day 24: What are your values?
Day 25: How to pray to fight addiction
Day 26: Which prayers are answered quickly – which prayers time more time and persistence
Day 27: How to fill the vacuum that addiction caused
28: Finding a good church
29: Knowing why you can’t quit can help you plan how to quit
30: How to eliminate the vacuum created by quitting
31: Tripping your addiction trap. Overcoming sloth
32: You need clean people around you if you are going to stay clean
33: Use real math not gambling math
Day 34: Don’t condemn yourself
Day 35: Don’t test yourself to see if it is safe to gamble a little bit