Living a Disciplined Life-Part Two
How To Change
This nugget subject is going to be hard hitting and direct. Remember to read these nuggets in the light of God's love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. However, at the same time there is the conviction of the Holy Spirit and there is a call to holiness.
There is Hope
Did the last nugget put conviction on your heart to live a disciplined life? Or over the last few months, or years, has the Lord been convicting you about living a disciplined life? Has the Lord been showing you there is an area of your life that is out of control? Then I want you to know There is Hope. There is Hope because God loves you enough to let you know there is an area of your life that needs fixed. And Jesus is in the fixing business. And when He fixes things, He gives a lifetime (eternal) warranty.
Change is Hard
We want you to know that There is Hope, but change does not come easy. Bad habits can be very hard to break. A lazy person does not suddenly become energetic. An irresponsible person does not suddenly become responsible. A lackadaisical person does not suddenly become serious. A rigid, perfectionistic person does not suddenly walk in freedom. It takes WORK. It takes a decision on our part. It normally takes being absolutely frustrated with who we are before we will change. Look around you. How many Christians do you know that have some bad personality traits and have not changed in years? Can't find any? Then you have not been around me. I still struggle with changing some things in my life.
One of the reasons change is so hard is because of pride.
Before change will ever occur, we must confess to God and usually at least one other person, our flaw, sin, bad habit. We need to face reality. We need to acknowledge we are irresponsible with our finances, we keep a sloppy house, we don't properly maintain things we own, that our eating is out of control, we have no devotional time, that we are perfectionistic. We need to stop giving excuses for our wrong behavior. You want to be different? Then acknowledge that you are missing the mark (sinning) in a specific area of your life. The Father wants more from us and we are Missing the Mark. Let's be honest with Him, one other person, and ourselves. God is calling His Church to be a holy people. We are not talking about legalism; we are talking about being more like Jesus.
Many times the reason that some areas of our life never change is because we try to keep it secret. But the reality is that most of the time everyone around us can see the flaw, so it really is not secret. Do you want change? Find someone to be an accountability partner with you. Someone that you can be honest and open about your life; someone that loves you enough to hold you accountable. Change usually cannot take place if there is pride and a 'lone ranger' mentality.
One Step At A Time
You are not going to change overnight. Studies say it takes 21 days to develop a habit. So it probably will take at least 21 days to break a habit. One reason many of us do not see long lasting change is because we want instantaneous results. We try something for a few days and then give up. Or we try to do drastic measures hoping that change will take place. Instead we just get frustrated and give up. Don't try to change overnight. Take little steps. Examples:
Balance Checkbook-You have not balanced your checkbook for six months. Don't try to balance the checkbook for the last six months. Just balance the last month. If that is too hard, start with today. Just record the checks you wrote today. If each day you write down the checks you wrote and the deposits you made, you will be able to balance your checkbook in a month.
Lack of Devotional time-Don't try to do 30 minutes a day of Bible study and prayer if you have not been doing it at all. Instead start out with 5 minutes a day for a week. Then 8 minutes a day for a week. Then 10 minutes a day for a week. Etc.
Like so many other things, consistency and quality is better than quantity. And like anything we do, invite the Holy Spirit to be with you to give you strength and obedience, and yes He is there to help you to do the dishes, maintain the car, and get to work on time.
In the next nugget we will take about Just Saying No!
Copyright © 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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