By Oke Chinye
Read: ROMANS 7:13–25
“For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice” (Romans 7:19).
There are perhaps two main reasons why changing a habit is difficult for many of us. Firstly, we do not truly see why we need to change. Secondly, we do not know how to change. The process of going about that change is ambiguous. The apostle Paul said that he could not practice what he desired, but rather found himself doing what he hated. Behavioural habits are usually unconscious and automatic. that’s why when you say to someone who is shouting: “stop shouting”, he or she shouts even louder and says, “am I shouting”? Similarly, the lazy person might believe he or she is hard working.
The first step to changing an undesirable habit is therefore becoming aware of it and desiring to change it. Whether it is a habit, lifestyle or thought pattern. You cannot change it if you are in self-denial. You must accept and call it what it is. Standing in front of a mirror several years ago at a size 22, accepting that I was overweight and needed to do something about it helped me take steps to lose the weight. I had to get past the thought that ‘it was okay to be overweight since I had given birth to 4 children’. So, accept that you are spending too much time on your phone, you are overeating or that you procrastinate. Until you do, you cannot begin the process of change.
You must see the benefit of making that change, else you won’t sustain the motivation. Every behaviour pattern is backed up by an underlying attitude. The person who lies and exaggerates is likely to be an insecure person. So, challenge the attitude. Start by asking: ‘why am I this way?’, ‘Is this really helpful?’, ‘How is this undermining my life?’. One major factor that helped me overcome shyness, was reflecting on all the opportunities I had missed in life by being shy.
Replace the unhelpful habit with a new and positive one. For instance, instead of being critical of your spouse, practice showing compassion and complimenting them. Rather than spending hours in front of the television, practice going out more often for a walk.
IN HIS PRESENCE is written by Dcns Oke Chinye (Founder, TRTM)
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IN HIS PRESENCE: A daily devotional of The Rock Teaching Ministry (TRTM)