“And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”
Getting rid of bad habits may seem difficult, but it is as difficult as putting on and putting off clothing. In this chapter, God commands the believer to put off “anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.” God goes further in the next verse by commanding the believer not to “Lie one to another.” However, if you are going to put off these things, you must put something else on. God then shows that the believer is to put on “bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another.” He concludes by telling the believer to put on “charity.” There are several observations from this chapter that I want to point out about how you can overcome bad habits.
First, putting off and putting on is a choice. God makes it clear that you choose what you put on and what you put off. Nobody makes you put something on; rather, you choose to put something on. You will never overcome bad habits by blaming others for your bad habits. Likewise, you never overcome bad habits by blaming things that others did to you in the past. Let me remind you that you are living in the present, so to put on or to put off is a present-tense action that you are doing. You must realize that everything you are doing in the present is a choice that you have made, and if you don’t like what you are, you have the choice to change it.
Second, you must put on before you can put off. One of the mistakes that many people make is they try to take off before they put on. You will never succeed in overcoming bad habits by trying to put off before you put on. Romans 12:21 says, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” You will notice that you overcome evil by doing good. You do the good, and the evil will drop off. Likewise, you start putting on the good, and the bad will be put off. For instance, if you put on forgiveness, you will find that anger will be put off. The answer to anger is forgiveness. You cannot be angry and have forgiveness at the same time. The answer to overcoming bad habits is simply done by putting on good habits.
Third, you cannot put off without replacing what you took out. One of the greatest mistakes many believers make is that they never replace what they took out of their life. The reason you put on before you take off is because when you put on, you immediately replace what you are taking off. For instance, start listening to good music because you can’t listen to bad music while listening to good music. You can’t look at the wrong things while you are looking at the right things. If you take off what is bad and never replace it with something good, you will end up going back to the bad and doing worse than you did before. The answer not to do the bad is to start doing the right, and the right will push out the bad and replace the position where the bad once held.
Fourth, focus on what you are putting on. God puts the focus on what you are putting on and not on what you are putting off. Too many people make the mistake of focusing on the bad instead of just focusing on what it takes to replace the bad. If you focus on forgiveness, you will find that you can forgive and anger will naturally fall off. God’s principle throughout the Scriptures has always been to focus on the good. You will have victory over your bad habits when you keep your focus on putting on the good actions.