“We become what we repeatedly do.” Sean Covey
A habit is an action we do regularly, often without thinking. It’s just what we do. If we do an action and it feels good or we get the results we want, then we often repeat it over and over. Some habits are beneficial and some can be detrimental. If it’s detrimental, it’s usually called an addiction. If it’s beneficial, it’s called a good discipline. Our day is full of small little “habits” that we do unconsciously. Some of us are habitually tidy, or messy, or early, or late, or rude, or courteous, or happy, or angry. At the end of the day, I believe the direction of your life is being determined by the habits. They become who we are.
2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us: ”And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
I think we can agree that being transformed into His image requires changes in our lives. That is the purpose of New Year’s resolutions. Perhaps we make them because the new year provides a discernible opportunity for new beginnings. Perhaps we make them because they give us hope that the coming year will be better than the previous year. Thus, with eager hearts, honorable intentions, and high hopes, we make our resolutions. Unfortunately, all too soon each year, most of these resolutions are broken. The resolution to stop smoking goes up in smoke. The resolution to start exercising runs out of steam. The resolution to lose weight is eaten away. The resolution to save money is spent. The resolution to read the Bible fails to open the cover or the app.
The reality is that resolutions always involve change, and change is never easy. Our old habits die hard. Usually, we require some compelling reason before we truly make change in our lives. For example, being served divorce papers creates the impact and instigates the commitment to make lasting change in marriage.
This difficulty we have in effecting change makes even more amazing the transformation that Jesus Christ can bring. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus provides for us the ultimate opportunity for personal change. When we come to Jesus and ask Him to become the ruler of our life and to forgive us of our sin, He forever changes us. We pass from death to life, from darkness to light, from fear to freedom.
Fortunately for us, God is not finished making changes in our lives. He is an agent of change in each of us. Whatever Jesus Christ reigns, He changes. He makes it to be more like Himself. The most effective way for us to see lasting change in our lives is through increasing our intimacy with Jesus Christ and our commitment to Him being Lord of our lives. As we do that, He will transform us.
Here’s the point. If you truly want to see positive change in your life this year, you need to first let Christ reign in your life every day. Real change is an inside job, and only God can work from within.
1. How painful do you think it would be if God literally used a chisel to make us the way He wants us?
2. How would you rate your readiness to implement the daily disciplines that enable you to make the changes that will draw you closer to God?
3. What should you change in your life (either add or drop from your life) in order to deepen your relationship with Jesus? Are there areas in your life that you have not yet submitted to God?
4. Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Pray and ask God to help you make the small changes that affect where our heart loyalties lie.