Old Habits

Ephesians 4:17 – 19 “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more.”

My six year old son recently got a new bicycle. It is shiny and red, and has cool black flame-like racing streaks down the side. He loves to race that bike up and down the street in front of our house. But his father and I have placed strict boundaries on him. He knows where he is and isn’t allowed to ride. He gets frustrated that he can’t ride down the hill, or out into the busy side street. He doesn’t understand that the restrictions we have placed on him are out of love, not out of harshness. We don’t want him to get hurt.

Friends, God loves us more than anything. He has set before us a path of righteousness that seems harsh and restrictive to those who don’t know His love. But those of us in Christ need to understand that God’s absolute laws are in place because of His love for us. He knows what will give us the very best possible life. He doesn’t want us to get hurt.

Outside of Christ, we have no hope of understanding that kind of love. We have difficulty grasping the consequences of sin, and so we just do whatever we please. And without boundaries, we just continue down the hill, going faster and faster, wanting more and more, until we finally crash. Even then, we often don’t grasp the reason for our crash, and we continue doing the same things that caused us to get hurt.

When we become Christians, God gives a new understanding of His love and His ways. We aren’t supposed to continue on in the same patterns as before we knew Christ. Because we now understand His love, there should be a marked difference in our behavior.

But old habits die hard, don’t they? Often, we catch ourselves slipping into our old lives, our old ways of thinking. Even though we know that our old way of life only led us on a path to destruction, still, we can remember some good times. We can remember the rush of going down that hill. And sometimes, we choose to forget about the impending crash. But to choose the ways of the world when we have been shown the ways of God is like stepping from the light into the darkness, from understanding to ignorance.

As we grow in our understanding of God and His ways, we must shut the door on our former way of thinking. God wants to bring us into the light, into His love. And as we leave our old lives behind, we will find that the new path God has set before us leads to a more exciting, more fulfilling life than we ever could have found before, as we groped in the darkness.

Dear Father, Please help me to leave my old ways of thinking behind, as I become the person You want me to be.


10 Responses to Old Habits

  1. March 31, 2008 #

    As you know Renae, if anybody ever needed to leave old ways of thinking behind it’s me. It hurts though, sometimes.

  2. March 31, 2008 #

    Well, I think we all struggle with that, and you’re right. Change is never easy. But as long as we keep gradually moving in the right direction, I think He is pleased. Don’t you?

    And, for the record, I think you’re doing just fine. Better than fine. You deserve top marks. 🙂


  3. March 31, 2008 #

    Having never not known Christ, one would think that I should not have any old ways of thinking. But that’s simply not true. It just makes the old ways of thinking harder to identify at times. But thankfully, God shines His light in and helps illuminate those old ways of thinking.

  4. March 31, 2008 #

    You’re right, Alyssa. We are constantly bombarded with the world’s ways of thinking, even if we have been brought up our entire lives being taught about God’s ways. The influence can be overwhelming, and we must stay on our guard and not let the world’s views seep into our beliefs.

    It’s hard, isn’t it?


  5. April 1, 2008 #

    Amen! Living and growing with Jesus in charge is truly the ride of a lifetime!

  6. April 1, 2008 #

    I agree wholeheartedly, Jean. 🙂

  7. April 1, 2008 #

    Hi Renae! Thanks for visiting my blog today and for your very encouraging comment.

    I’m so glad I came over to visit here. I appreciate your excellent writing and the wonderful devotional thoughts you are sharing. I hope to be able to visit often!

  8. April 1, 2008 #

    Thanks Jeanette! I hope to see you here as often as possible!


  9. April 1, 2008 #

    You know I understand God and His discipline of me so much better now that I have kids! I find myself so frustrated with their disobedience and have to stop myself and wonder if that is how God feels about me sometimes. I’m sure He feels that and so much more.

    I hope your son enjoys his new bike!!

  10. April 1, 2008 #

    I feel the same way, Robyn. I’m so glad we have a patient Father, aren’t you?


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