“And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.”
The biggest word in the verse above that should cause every believer to take notice is the word “again.” The children of Israel created a habit of doing evil. Three times in the book of Judges it is said about Israel that they did “evil again.” In other words, they didn’t learn from the first two times of what their habit of doing evil again did to them, but they did it again to their own detriment. Had they stopped long enough to learn from their previous actions of turning from God to follow the nations around them, the verse above would have never been said that they did “evil again,” and the bondage to the Philistines would have never happened.
What is the “again” in your life? What is it that you never seem to learn from? Though we like to criticize Israel for doing the same sinful and evil actions over and over again, just about every believer is just as guilty as Israel was in doing their sinful and evil sins again. Several lessons can be learned about Israel that will help you to keep from creating bad habits.
First, identify your “again.” What is your “again?” What is the habit you have created in your life that you seem to return to over and over again? You will never be able to change your bad habits in life until you identify them and identify them as sin. You must understand that you don’t do your “again” because you are sick, but you do your “again” because you choose to do it. Your “again” is a sin choice, not a health problem or a syndrome. You will never conquer your “again” until you identify your habits as a sinful choice over a health problem.
Second, let your past actions be your teacher. If you keep on doing the same “again,” you will keep on getting the same results. You can’t expect different results if you keep making the same foolish decisions. All you have to do is to look at the past results of what you are about to do, and you will learn what your future holds. It is not real difficult to understand that bad actions always have bad results; bad decisions always result in bad consequences. To think that this time will be different from the last time is foolish.
Third, let your past be the guide of what you need to avoid. The past is the greatest guide to show you what you need to avoid in life. If something caused you hurt in the past, you could surmise that it will cause you hurt again if you choose to do it. If a certain crowd of friends got you into trouble in the past, they will get you into trouble today if you choose to associate with them. The past shows you the results of decisions and actions; therefore, the past becomes your advisor of what you need to stay clear from to avoid having the same hurtful and bad consequences that bad decisions and actions cause.
Fourth, there is nothing wrong with an “again” in your life if your “again” is doing right. The best “again” is doing good “again.” We have spent most of this devotional talking about the consequences of bad habits, but the reward of good habits is what brings rewards and joy to your life. My friend, if you will replace your bad habits with good habits, you can replace consequences with rewards. It is your choice of what your future holds. If you choose to do right and create good habits, you will enjoy a blessed future.