Step 3: Examine root causes of behaviour
As stated previously, repentance is turning away from sin. Sometimes we encourage ourselves to continue in sin by not changing underlying situations that contribute to our weakness. We need to examine unhealthy patterns of behaviour, mindsets and the state of our spiritual life and see how these may have affected our actions.
Patterns of behaviour
Sometimes overcoming our weaknesses means not hanging out with certain friends, watching certain movies/tv shows or listening to particular kinds of music if they encourage our weaknesses. For example if you have a drug problem that is encouraged by so-called friends, part of turning away from this would be to abstain from these ‘friends’. Also, in the case of David, sin entered in at the eyes. We need to guard our mind and heart – David should have turned away when he saw Bathsheba but instead sent after her.
Additional points to note in terms of patterns of behaviour are disobedience and idleness. In 2 Samuel 11 David is guilty of both of these. While his troops were in battle, where he should have been, he was at home. Verse 2 of this chapter describes David as arising from his bed at eventide. Disobedience breaks the hedge and gives the serpent opportunity to attack, and, as the saying goes, the devil will find work for idle hands.
If in our minds we have given up, and count ourselves slaves to our weaknesses then we have already lost the battle. Hebrews 4:15 says that Christ our high priest was tempted just as we are but he did not sin. 1 Corinthians 10:13 makes it clear that God will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able to bear. With temptation comes a choice, we could choose the way out that God has provided or we could fall into sin. We need to believe God’s word and make the right choices.
Most times it is when we are weakest that we fall. We are weakest when we are not spending enough time in prayer and study of God’s word. Psalm 119:9 “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.” We need to feed ourselves spiritually just as we do naturally in order to stay strong. When we have this firm foundation to stand upon it’s easier to withstand temptation.