Christians are under the impression that once they give their lives to Jesus all their bad habits will be gone. While it is true, God does transform and renew the minds at the point of conversion, some old habits seem to die harder than others.
Why do some habits linger on longer than others? According to Julia Layton in an article for How Stuff Works.com, “habits”,good or bad, “are easier to make than they are to break. If you repeat a behavior often enough, those synaptic pathways are going to get worn in,” and the behavior becomes a habit, which a person mindlessly does over and over again.
Janet Rae-Dupressut put it this way in a short article for the New York Times, “once those ruts of procedure are worn into the hippocampus, they’re there to stay.”
What these two woman are saying is this, once a learned behavior is set in the mind it stays there. The mind is like a computer, even when information is deleted on a computer, it is still there somewhere. All it takes is a computer expert, who knows where to look and the deleted information can be found. The mind works in the same way, when a person comes to Jesus, they are a new person, but the old sinful nature (old habits) still lurks inside waiting for a chance to come out.
The Devil, (the guy many people try to marginalize as just a symbol of the bad behavior in people, or write off as just a fairy tale, the once but now fallen angel) knows you better than you know you. He is like the computer expert and can go deep into the hard drive of our minds and pull out the old habits and bring them out into the light.
Paul, the great purveyor of the Christian faith, had this to say about habitual behavior. In Romans 7;14- , 16, Paul says, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good.”
Paul, it seems, had some bad habits he wanted to be rid of. He, like many Christians cried out, “I don’t want to be the bearer of these bad habits Lord, I want to stand strong,” but like many of us, he appears to fall, and revert to the bad habits of the old life.
What are some of those old habits, maybe they are habits of the flesh, maybe they are habits of a spiritual nature, or maybe they are just some little quirks or foibles, like biting your nails or procrastination. Whatever they are those old bad habits just seem to hang in there.
What is a Christian or any person to do to break a bad habit?
Janet Rae-Dupressut, continues in her article by saying this, “Instead, the new habits we deliberately ingrain into ourselves create parallel pathways that can bypass those old roads.”
While the old habits may still be there, don’t dwell on them, create new habits which will bypass the roads which lead to a bad habit. For a Christian this means, reading God;s Word and then living God’s Word, in order to use His precepts create new Godly habits.
There is an old saying that it takes 21 days to make a habit. If that is true then take the 21 day challenge, and pick one new habit to ingrain in your mind, like selflessness, or loving everyone you come in contact with in your daily walk and keep doing it until it becomes a mindless activity.