I have often thought that in order to stop a bad behavior or habit I must try harder and harder. In fact, I even pray harder and harder asking God for the strength to stop. I am beginning to see that doing it that way makes it even more difficult for me. I’ve tried learning a new behavior or setting my mind to do it a different way… thinking if I practice this habit it will replace that one. While doing that isn’t all wrong, it isn’t always the best thing for me either. Especially if I am trying to do it with my own power. I eventually find that the ultimate result leaves me with failure. Then I am back to square one with added shame and guilt.
What God seems to want from me is not for me to try harder or to learn a new habit… He simply asks me to stop trying so hard and to surrender to Him. When I ‘let go’ I begin to feel the release of my own failing willpower and determination as if releasing the grip on a tight rope. I realize that when I try to do it myself, I wind up doing the same things I did that got me doing the old habit in the first place.
So instead of thinking that I need to learn a new habit, now I can see that God is here to help me “unlearn” the old ones in whatever way HE chooses. That is what I wanted for myself all along.
Thank you Father, for your patience with me. I find myself striving so hard to be and do what I cannot be and do on my own. Today I surrender my striving and my learning so I can “unlearn” the old “me ways” and allow you to replace them with your perfect ways. This is where my heart longs to be. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
“So the trouble is not with the law, for it is spiritual and good. The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.”
“So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.”