We all have habits, both good and bad. It’s a fact of life. The question is how we can change our habits and positively impact on our lives. Anyone who has tried to develop good habits or change bad ones has had a struggle. The process involves more than knowing what to do, one needs to know how to do it and be motivated to do it. But there is one more vital element, for those of us struggling with these issues: we need the power to do it.
One of the hardest struggles of the human heart is to realize the need of a power outside of oneself. As independent beings, it is natural to try to solve all of life’s perplexities without help. But God who created us knows we need His help, power, and guidance in order to successfully manage our lives. We need to let God have control in our lives.
Often the single biggest issue for someone struggling to break free from a bad habit is trust. It is hard to relinquish the excessive need to control people or circumstances in an attempt to factor out potential pain. But if the need to control is not replaced with trust, a person will eventually replace one addiction with another.
The Bible teaches us that when we turn our lives over to God’s control He will equip us to face life’s challenges. He will give us a new way of looking at life and reasons to hope and trust. God promises to guide us in the right way and grant us eternal life. The counsel is inviting: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.”1
Have you ever been hopelessly lost on a trip, with no map and no one around who seemed to know your destination? Did you drive around and around and get nothing but frustration and an empty tank of gas? In a similar way, people try to fix their problems, find happiness, and forge a future without seeking God or reading His Word. It doesn’t take long to wind up empty and frustrated.
God’s Word, the Bible, provides instruction for living. It gives insight and understanding for the big picture in life as well as the details. “The entrance of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.”2 The Bible inspires hope, faith, and courage in the heart of the reader. It revives the sorrowful and depressed.
Transformation, growth, and maturity in our thinking and lifestyle is a process, not an event. Just because you have surrendered your life to God doesn’t mean your life will magically change. You should not expect to wake up one morning and have everything figured out and be able to perform every task perfectly. You need daily time in God’s Word. And daily, little by little, it will transform your life and character.
Through prayer God can cleanse us from destructive habits. “And I will make you free from all your unclean ways.”3 He also promises us the power to stop doing the things we know are destroying us: “And I will put my spirit in you, causing you to be guided by my rules, and you will keep my orders and do them.”4
God’s grace will cover your mistakes and give you the perseverance you need to continue your journey. Your thinking, attitude, and lifestyle will daily come more into harmony with His will. Over time, positive choices that were once difficult and took a great deal of prayer and struggle will become a part of the new character God is creating in you. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”5 Take time and let God speak to you personally in His Word. He is always there for you.