You choose to change
Decisions determine your destiny. You will recognize a change in your life with new thinking. It’s always a mental battle to change the unhealthy habits in your life, for it starts with the mind.
Ruth had a new mind-set when she decided to go with her mother-in-law, for she knew she was leaving her father and mother, her people, her old life and beliefs, the life she had once enjoyed to a foreign land and a people. To follow a God she did not yet know into an uncertain future among potentially hostile strangers, but this change of mind made her to become a matriarch in the lineage of Jesus.
Your choices in life lead to your destined future.
Besides that, it’s the Holy Spirit Who renews our thoughts and attitudes. “Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (NLT) Ephesians 4:23. Change will not happen until your thoughts and attitudes change. This is why it’s important to have a daily quiet time. Whenever you intentionally spend time studying God’s Word and in prayer there’s spiritual renewal in your mind. If you’re not doing that, you’re not going to have the power to change.
Change of mind is repentance. The Bible says, Naomi went out of the place where she was (Ruth 1:7), this is a clear illustration of repentance. Repentance means to reverse your direction. Naomi left the place she was, to the place she belonged (Isa. 55:7).
Therefore, a change of mind is to turn from death to life, sin to forgiveness, guilt to peace of mind, and from hell to heaven. A positive change in life is when you repent of your old ways (sin) and turn from regret to peace of mind and forgiveness.
How do I change?
- Repent; learn to think in new ways about your unhealthy habits.
- Change the way you think, Philippians 2:5, “You must have the same attitude that Jesus had” (NLT).
- Stop misusing your God-given strengths with your unhealthy habits.
- Make a choice to think like Jesus. In every situation ask this question, how would Jesus think about this?
- Filling your mind with the Word of God makes things easier for you.
Change involves the Holy Spirit
“I say then; Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:16-17)
You need God’s power in your life, not your willpower. The flesh always wants to have its own way which mostly leads to distraction.
It’s the Holy Spirit who works within us to make us gradually more and more like Him. Therefore your daily life should be led by the Holy Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to have a daily habit of continual obedience. Paul challenges us to keep moving in the enabling power and work of the Holy Spirit.
When the Holy Spirit lives through you, God puts the qualities of the “fruit of the Spirit” in you: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We all wants freedom in our lives, but freedom is not unrestrained behavior. Doing whatever you want, whenever you want, is in reality a life of bondage rather than freedom. Telling yourself, I am going to do this or that it’s like trying to change or control things with your willpower. So how does God produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life? Fruit can only come from inside – the Holy Spirit living through you.
How doeshe Holy Spirit work in your life? It’s a gradual process as you walk in a continual obedience to the Lord, the Holy Spirit makes you more and more like Him, and you are changed into His glorious image.
It takes six hours for a mushroom to grow and sixty years for an oak tree to mature. The question is; Do you want your life to be a mushroom or an oak tree? When you allow yourself to be led by the Holy Spirit and invite Him to direct you, He enables you to defeat the power of the flesh and live in righteousness, then you become solid like an oak tree that is able to withstand any challenge.
Habits and hang-ups are not collected overnight. It took you a long time to get messed up as you are. So solving a habitual problem is not one day it’s a gradual process. I remember, I was so scared of expressing my opinion about something or let alone stand in front of people to talk, this was an accumulation of how I was brought up. And it took a long time to overcome it through the help of the Holy Spirit.
Your character is the sum total of your habits. The Holy Spirit works within us to make us gradually more and more like Him. Take responsibility to develop your new habits which will help you to change.
Change involves honest community
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body” (Ephesians 4:21 NLT).
You will need people to enable you change the unhealthy habits and attitudes. You will need other people in your life to get well; you cannot get well on your own. Change requires something like a support group and honest community.
Why should I talk to someone about some difficult habits in my life which I don’t want anyone to know? Wouldn’t that make them think less of me and loss the respect they had for me? And wouldn’t they tell everyone about my struggles and I will become a topic for people to gossip about?
I get it, I use to think and ask the same derailing questions, because I had an experience sharing my deepest pain and struggles with someone I trusted but later realized my story was out there and people were gossiping about me. I will admit that it was a painful and disappointing situation for me. But life must go on, wrong people will hurt you, but right people will help you up when you’re down. You need people in your life who tells you the truth.
God brought the right people into my life who were very supportive and inspired me to move on. And I know God will bring the right people into your life too.
In the story of Ruth in the Bible, Ruth confided and trusted Naomi which brought her to her place of prominence and the lineage of the birth of Christ. “Then Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek security for you, that it may be well with you (Ruth 3:1, NKJV)?
There are certain things in your life that you’ll never be able to change on your own. Especially things that are the most difficult in your life and the things you don’t want people to know about.
You will never get over those things until you share with someone. You will need to find one person who will trust you and whom you trust, a confident and who loves you, prays for you and not judgmental. You don’t have to tell everybody. You get your healing when you begin to reveal your feeling.
Most importantly, the church is a community of believers which you belong. It’s God’s family for believers to belong to. You become what God wants you to become when you belong to an honest community. Be part of a small group in your church; honestly talk to your neighbor. We belong to each other; tell your friend the truth.
Be serious about changing your unhealthy behaviors and face the fear of been honest about it. Put away the falsehood and faking it. You have to be real.
Sometimes, you cheat yourself pretending you have got it all together or getting it together, but as long as you pretend you will never get it all together. And you will never get rid of that area you want to be healed or changed which is hindering you. You’ve to talk to someone about it.
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