Better Than Normal; Day 5

Bad Habits

Whether we want to admit it or not, we all have bad habits. Those things we do and say that we wish we didn’t do and say. Some habits are difficult to break and some are incredibly difficult to break. We may be prone to laziness or gossip, or we may have formed a habit of abusing substances. 

Whatever it is, we’ve probably either become comfortable with certain habits in our lives, or we think they’re too difficult to overcome. Why is change so challenging? The Apostle Paul addresses this in Galatians 5:16-17. He tells us that we must “live by following the Spirit” because we want what is “against the Spirit.” Basically, what we know to be right and what we know to be wrong are at war with each other. So, when we try to do the right thing, there’s literally a war going on to try to prevent us from doing just that. We could also say that normal is at war with better than normal. Here are some takeaways from the Bible reading for today:

  • Normal conforms to the world, but better than normal renews the mind.
  • Normal gives into temptation, but better than normal trusts God for a way out.
  • Normal gratifies fleshly desires, but better than normal walks by God’s Spirit.
  • Normal gives in to worry, but better than normal prays for strength and guidance. 
  • Normal allows evil to win, but better than normal submits to God.
  • Normal ignores sin, but better than normal repents and receives forgiveness.

The bottom line about our bad habits is that if we focus on beating them, it may be hard to do just that. But, if we strive to make our lives healthy, many of the bad habits we’ve adopted will fall away. What we focus on is what will grow stronger in our lives. 

Pastor Craig Groeschel says, “If it is important, you will find a way. If it’s not, you will find an excuse.” Instead of making excuses about our poor diet or how we speak, let’s find a way to grow from normal to better than normal. And the best way to overcome our bad habits is to continually renew our minds by thinking about the things laid out in Philippians 4:8 (NCV)—things that are true, honorable, right, pure, beautiful, and respected. Our actions won’t change until our minds do.

What are the bad habits that you continue to struggle with? Are there actions you do or words you say that are normal but not beneficial? If you aren’t sure what needs to go, ask God to reveal what needs to change so that you can begin living a life that is better than normal.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:16-‬23

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:6-8

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:7

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

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