stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

Did you know you can change your behaviors, even over an extended period of time, without actually changing who you are?  It’s quite simple, really.  All you have to do is create a system in which sticking with your old behaviors is either impossible or very costly to you.  You will forcibly change your actions.  I signed up for Gym-Pact in January, because it held me accountable to going to the gym.  I had to work out three times a week, or I would have to pay $5 for each workout I missed.  I only missed one from January to June.  But I only had to workout for thirty minutes, so by the end of it, I would show up to the gym, sign in right away, work out a little bit, and as soon as my phone said I had been there half an hour, I went back to my car and left.  I was shooting for the lowest requirement.

When June came around, I realized I would be out of town for a lot and unable to check in at my gym.  I had the mission trip, the post mission trip recovery, my brother’s wedding, and a couple other reasons to be out of town.  I didn’t want to get charged, so I took a break from Gym-Pact.  I collected my reward money and closed out my account, because I couldn’t meet my pact.  Oh, but I would still work out when I could wherever I could.  I would run.  I would exercise at home, in hotel rooms, and at the gym as I could.  That’s what I said.  But I hadn’t changed at all.  I was following a system that was set up to keep me from failing, and once the training wheels were taken off, I realized I hadn’t really learned to ride the bike after all.  So on a side note there, I just signed up again, with RunKeeper, to workout four days a week this time.  I’ll try to run twice and go to the gym twice.  Whatever I do, I’ll workout all four times, because I’m cheap, and I also don’t want to get in trouble with my wife.

Your spiritual life is the same way.  You can set up systems to keep you from failing God, but if you never seek Him and allow Him to change who you are, you will always go back to your previous lifestyle.  You can cancel the internet, or you can set up X3 Watch, and you can ensure that you won’t be able to look at pornography without paying a steep immediate price.  But if you don’t let God change who you are, when the safety walls come down, you’ll go right back to it.  I’ve seen it happen.  It is a very good thing to set up barriers between yourself and your sins of choice.  I highly recommend it.  I also recommend an accountability partner who will make sure you don’t go around the barriers.  But what I really recommend is getting into God’s Word, pouring yourself out to Him, and letting Him change who you are on the inside.  Romans 12:2 says to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  The only renewal station is at the foot of the cross.  So get there.

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