Romans 7:15 – 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. (NLT)
Old habits are hard to break.
For four years, we lived in a small townhouse. Our Chihuahua, Twix, was accustomed to the way that the doors to the bedroom and the outside opened, and he would stand at the appropriate side of the door to enter or exit. Then, we moved. Although the townhouse that we moved into had the same floor plan, it was the mirror image of our previous one. Our dog was confused.
On Twix's first trip outside, he stood at the left side of the door as he had been accustomed to. But now, the door opened from the right. He repeated the same action for the bedroom door and had to change sides when I opened it. After a week, he managed to break his old habit and stand at the proper side for entering and exiting.
The habits that Paul wanted to break were probably sinful. Not all habits are. Habits can be good or bad, sinful or not sinful. I have a habit of getting up early so that I can write devotionals, which carry God's Word into 101 countries. That's good. But I also have a habit of overeating or eating unhealthy things — a sinful habit.
Sinful habits come naturally, as Paul recognized. Even after trusting Christ for forgiveness, temptations remain. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing good because of the sin nature with which we're born.
Other habits, such as my dog's, are neither morally good nor bad. They are just habits. I've had a few habits like that myself, among them, biting my fingernails. It took my grandmother giving me $20 and one finger getting infected for me to break that habit.
In our own power, we can't break the habit of doing bad and adopt the habit of doing good. But it is possible when we appeal to God's power which resides in believers by the presence of God's Spirit. Christ in us enables us to adopt good habits instead of detrimental or sinful ones. Accepting His offer of forgiveness opens up new possibilities for an abundant life.
Let Christ in you help you break any unhealthy or sinful habits you have, so that you can replace them with healthy habits that honour God, promote good health, and set a good example for others.
Prayer: Father, give us the power to throw away that which is damaging to us and others, so that we can adopt healthy habits that glorify Your name. Amen.
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