Who has never felt the feeling of wanting to change? Who has never found themselves doing things that, even as they did them, they knew they were not good for them? Deep down inside of you, you know you can do better. Better still, you WANT to do better. But, the harder you try to change, the more disappointed you get in yourself, because you find yourself doing the same old bad thing again and again. You tell yourself, I’ll never do it again. But, days pass, months pass, years pass and you’re back doing it again. And, soon you are drenched with feelings of guilt. Here is a key thing you should know about sin, bad habits or whatever it is you want to change or stop doing. Sin or bad habits are things that we enjoy and we enjoy them because they bring us some sort of reward.
Take an alcoholic for example. An alcoholic knows that drinking is bad for them, but they get such a rush when they drink, they can’t stop drinking. They get to escape their problems. They get to enjoy a false sense of euphoria. They feel good when they are drunk, they feel courageous and the effect of alcohol makes up for whatever they lack in their life. So, even though they want to stop drinking, in the back of their minds they can’t bare the thought of losing the comfort the alcohol offers them. It is like losing a best friend.
Maybe the thing you want to change from isn’t as serious as an addiction. Maybe you are trying to change an insignificant bad habit. Fact is, if you are finding it hard to change, you will find that behind that difficulty to change is a reward you have given yourself. Identify that reward. As long as you find the wrong things you do rewarding, you will never have enough strength to stop doing them. The only way to change is reaching the point of hating what you do wrong. The minute you begin to detest, to hate what you do wrong, that minute, you will cease to do it. Now, you may ask, how do you start hating the very thing you love doing?
Well, you begin by opening your eyes to the truth! Truth is that sin or bad habit is busy killing you softly. It is causing you more damage than good. Were it not causing you damage, you would not want to stop doing it. You need to realize that the reward offered by sin or bad habits is deadly and momentary. Going back to our example of an alcoholic, sooner or later, the effect of the alcohol passes, and then he is filled with depression and guilt, which lead him to seek more escape in alcohol. That’s how the cycle is kept continuous. He needs to break the cycle by finding happiness and fulfillment elsewhere. When he does, he will no longer find the need to drink. So, start thinking about how harmful sin or bad habits are to you. Stop ignoring the voice of your conscience and the voice of reason and start admitting to yourself that you are destroying yourself. That is step number one.
Once the reality has hit home, step number two is to do what I also did when I needed to change. Surround yourself with good mentors. For me, the best of all mentors is God. He arms you with wisdom and strength, not to mention that His Word is full of wisdom and good advice. But, also seek human mentors, like your local pastor or his wife, your mother or father, a trustworthy and wise friend, someone you can talk to openly and who will help you through your process of change – in short, someone who will hold you accountable to change. Yes, the very person you are trying so hard to hide your sin or bad habit from. Don’t trust yourself to do it all alone. If you could, you would have changed by now, you would have stopped. It’s time to find someone else who will help you by holding you accountable to your change. Know this: you have what it takes to change! Don’t give up on yourself. It’s the biggest injustice you can ever do to yourself. It doesn’t matter how long you have tried and failed. Remember, it only takes doing it right one time. May God be with you in your journey of change!