I recently started reading a book on habits. The book teaches that when we want to start a new habit e.g. going to the gym, we often focus on the result – having a new body, but this is in fact the wrong way to develop a habit.
The book, grounded in physiological study, encourages us to instead focus not on the result we want, but on how we see ourselves first. For example, if we view ourselves as a healthy person, we will then act like a healthy person. We will think like a healthy person thinks and make healthy person choices, like going to the gym, because we believe that is who we now are. Then we will naturally develop a habit. Instead we often drive all our energy into getting an outcome or maintaining certain behaviour, without first focusing on our belief system of how we see ourselves.
I can see the connection as Christians. We think ‘I must give more, I must do more, I must love more, I must act more this way and not that way’ – we focus on the outcome and behaviour, but God calls us to look at who we really are first. Rather than being behaviour and outcome focused, let us instead look at our identity and who we are first.
Before I even act, God says:
I am blameless and free (Colossians 1:22).
Christ himself is in me (Colossians 1:27).
I am complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
I am chosen, holy and dearly loved (1 Thessalonians 1:1-4).
I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
I have been saved and set apart (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5).
I have the right to come boldly before the throne of God to find mercy and grace in a time of need (Hebrews4:16).
I have been born again (1 Peter 1:23).
I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a People for God’s own possession (1 Peter 2:9,10).
I am an alien and stranger to this world in which I temporarily live (1 Peter 2:11).
I am an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 2:11).
I have been given exceedingly great and precious promises by God (2 Peter 1:4).
I could go on and on stating who God says you are. The point – that before we act, we are! Don’t become consumed with behaviour. Instead, focus on who God says you are first. This isn’t positive thinking, this is reality and truth! You will find that you will act a certain way because you know that is who you are and you will avoid certain behaviour because that is not who God says you are, it is contrary to your design.
Meditate today on who God says you are and let that change that the way you behave. You aren’t working your way into a being a child of God, you are a child of God and therefore you behave like a child of God!
A daily devotion for a better way of living.