Week 5 of the James series is behind us at RESTōR church but my Monday morning reflections take me back to the part of yesterday’s talk when I addressed the issue of habits and how a renewed mind will help us break the negative patterns we’ve established over time. You can see the entire service here.
Margaret Thatcher has been quoted as saying “Watch your thoughts for they become words. Watch your habits for they become your character.”
Our thoughts and our habits reflect our values and what we value becomes our destiny.
Here’s the thing, we want to change our thinking. We want to conquer the habits we’ve developed. But, the time and energy required stops us cold. We fear what we don’t understand and it can cripple our attempts. Sometimes we also fear that we need to reinvent ourselves, we have to become someone else, an entirely new person.
The truth is that as followers of Jesus, the Spirit of God lives in us and has given us everything we need to overcome the negative things we’ve allowed to control us.
It’s really unlikely that you’ve always been someone with bad habits. At some point you weren’t addicted to food, you didn’t smoke, you were healthy. So what if you consider just returning to being a non-smoker? Instead of being unhealthy, what if you just return to being healthy? Even if a lot of time has passed and it’s been many years of aligning your mind with the lie that “I can never change”, don’t short-change what the power of a renewed mind will bring about. The apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:2 to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. To not be conformed to the patterns of this world. But instead to lean into what God’s good, pleasing, perfect will is for us.
I’m not a “word of faith” kind of guy but I do believe that words have power. (Prov. 18:21) My life radically changed when I accepted that a renewed mind, thinking different thoughts and living with gratitude could really change my destiny.
Look, I know our comfortable habits have established well-maintained grooves of normalcy in our psyche and are not easily conquered but studies indicate that it takes a mere 66 days for a new behavior to become a habit (something we do automatically). So, receive this encouragement that all things are possible. Return to/be restored to who you were created to be. Be renewed in mind and heart and believe that you are an overcomer, you are lovable and you have a bright, hope-filled future. When you try and fail, try again. Nothing worth doing is easy. A transformed life takes energy, hard work and determination! Speak words of life to everyone around you and especially to yourself!
If you want to check out my inspiration for the “filter” part of my talk, you can find it here.