I want to act better than this

So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy." (I Peter 1:13-16)

How do we keep from returning to a bad habit? Experts might suggest things like a 21-day commitment to the new one - advising that after those three weeks have passed, the new habit is ingrained into our current way of living. I am going to dispel that myth a bit because if that was the truth, why would we need to return to dieting time after time again, with rebound weight loss? Obviously, the 21-day commitment didn't 'take', did it? We found ourselves drifting back into eating a bit more than we should have or choosing a few more high-calorie snacks than might have been warranted. Before long, the weight drifts back on - a few ounces here and there until we are back up ten pounds over where we desire to be. This just goes to prove that self-will is never enough to change a habit!

Peter reminds us of the importance of 'preparing our minds for action' along with exercising self-control. Yes, we need that will-power to be at work, but it is never enough to just 'muster through' those tough things that we know need to be changed in our lives. I am referring to more than just a few extra pounds here. There are things in our lives we have been attempting to 'muster through' without really taking any time to talk with God about how it is we can see those areas changed permanently. We struggle with unforgiveness and resentment, trust having been destroyed by someone, and then we attempt to 'let go' of it all on our own. Finding ourselves struggling with thoughts of how we have been wronged over and over again, we realize we haven't really 'mustered through' all that well. 

Why? Our minds were never prepared for the action. We might have had some initial thoughts that God desired for us to let those hurts go, but we never took the time to consistently pray through the scriptures we read about forgiveness, making all our efforts a little less powerful than we hoped. Yes, we read the scriptures, and we came to the conclusion it was the right action to take, but we failed to repeatedly take each troubling thought to God for his touch. God's Word is powerful, but it has to be rehearsed (recalled) over and over in order to begin to change the thoughts we have held onto for so very long. The more we 'prepare our minds' through time in the Word, prayerfully rehearsing the scripture, and then seeking God's perspective, the more we will see those troubling thoughts begin to fall away. 

We may not think there is any hope of ever being free of a 'bad habit' we have allowed to form in our lives, but through God's grace, we can change. The part we take in change is important - we need to prepare our minds and then be prepared to take action when the desire to submit to any course different than the one God lays out for us. Prepared minds take better actions. Just sayin!

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