A Changed Heart = Changed Habits
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” -Romans 12:2
This year, one of my goals was to read one book per month to develop myself personally and professionally. I have always loved to read; but, as an extrovert, I really struggle to settle down and sit still. To accomplish this new goal, I had to really settle into a new routine of a reading schedule and take intentional time each week to read. What better way to have started this new book reading adventure than with my first book of the year being The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The author writes about the significance of creating good habits in order to create behavioral changes in people’s lives. Duhigg gave a replacing behavior example of when the 2-3pm hour hits at work you desire a need to be met. Instead of going to the breakroom for water cooler talk and a snack, instead go on a walk with a colleague or two and catch up about your weekend or the day. The need was never for the snack (or the weight gain that comes with that every day snack), but instead the desire was for human interaction in connection with the coworker while on a walk, which was the healthy habit. The reward of a cookie is replaced with a healthy habit or the walk. After reading the book, it made me realize that changing your habits can change your behaviors, but also having a heart change can lead to good habits.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” -Galatians 5:22
When I first became a Christian, I desired so deeply to behave and be like other Christians I saw in my life. I wanted to be kind, generous, patient, and loving. In order to be those things, or to honestly be like any of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), I needed to change my habits. Because of Christ and the Holy Spirit, my heart change led me to take on the mindset and actions of living out “less of me, more of you, God”. If I wanted to be loving towards others, I needed to show love to all those I encountered, remembering that Christ first loved me (1 John 4:19). If I wanted to have joy, I needed to understand that my circumstances did not determine my happiness. I needed to create a new habit of meditating on God’s word and goodness day and night (Psalm 1:2-3).
As my heart changes, I take on the mindset of Christ. My heart before Christ mislead me in numerous ways. The world’s saying of “follow your heart” doesn’t always lead to good things, but rather very selfish decisions. However, when our heart follows Jesus and you use Him as your guide, it can lead you to new life full of new habits.