If you were to ask a friend, “How do I get rid of a bad habit?” you probably wouldn’t hear the answer Replace lies with truth. Yet that’s what the Bible tells us to do if we want to be transformed.
So here’s the question: does it have to be biblical truth? Or does practical truth work just as well?
That depends. Sometimes practical truth is strong enough to change desires, but if it’s a spiritual battle, we also need the Word of God.
That said, it can be helpful to have some Bible verses handy when we need a quick dose of the truth. I did this with my own project (making a list and following it), but I think this chart would apply to a lot of projects. See if any of the lies sound familiar:
|This is too hard.||It’s hard, but it’s not too hard. I can do hard things.||Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for me?|
|I shouldn’t have to do this.||I should be willing to do whatever God wants me to do. If He doesn’t care, I can make my own decision. But that doesn’t mean I get to control the consequences of my decision.||Matthew 10:38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.|
|Life should be fun.||There are people all over the world suffering. Do I really have a right to sit here and say Life should be fun?(Note: I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having fun.)||Philippians 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.|
|It would be better if I did it later.||The longer I put it off, the more I’ll dread it. It would be far better to just get it over with. Think of how good I’ll feel when I get it done.||Hebrews 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.|
|It’s not important to do this right now.||Although it might not be important for an on-the-ball, structured person to do this right now, it’s extremely important for me to do it right now because I need to be willing to hold work (and leisure) with open hands.||Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.|
|Who am I kidding? I’ll never change.||In the past, I’ve always tried to change in my own strength. Of course I failed because I have no strength in this area of my life. This time it’s different because I’m renewing my mind. I just need to keep bringing my thoughts captive to the truth and eventually His truth will set me free.||Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.|
If you’d like to do this with your own project, write down the lies that keep showing up again and again in your journal, and then go looking for truth.
Scripture References: Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:22-24, 6:17, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, John 8:32
Heidi Bylsma says
OH MY GOODNESS! Barb!!!! I continue to be floored at just how manageable you make understanding profound truths. Thank you!
Thanks, Heidi – now if only it were that easy to live them.
Kari Scare says
Okay, so this is the third article TODAY that I’ve come across on breaking bad habits. Though I’d like to believe it’s because a friend emailed me this morning asking for advice on how to break a specific bad habit of hers, I’m not entirely sure that’s the only reason the Holy Spirit is directing me on this topic. Now, I just have to figure out if there’s a bad habit I need to work on and that I’m not aware of (quite likely since I’m human) or if it’s a topic I need to blog about (also quite likely since I often blog in order to figure this kind of stuff out).
Both options sound good, Kari!
Yes, practical truth works to dispel lies, BUT they can sometimes be fleeting. Practical truth can make me feel good, but bibilical truth convicts me. The two emotions can be different in helping me cover lies with the truth.
The interesting thing is that so often practical truth is based on biblical truth. For example, the practical truth that it will be better to do it now so I won’t have to dread it all day goes along with the biblical truth that discipline isn’t fun in the moment but gives the peaceful fruit of righteousness afterwards. Or the practical truth that my life is actually better with boundaries goes along with the biblical truth that I need to not make an idol of anything and keep God first in my life. I like what you said about how they work differently but both help cover lies with truth. Biblical truth convicts (yes!) but practical truth makes me feel good – for me it shows me that my life is actually better when I live God’s way.
Kari Scare says
Sounds like a blog post waiting to happen… Just expand on your comment here. Good stuff.
CJ, I was just renewing my mind about doing paperwork and you were right – I didn’t get convicted until I looked at the biblical truth – that’s what made me finally want to do it.
When I thought about the question, I was thinking about how I am trying to motivate a non-Christian friend on her health journey too – and how to dispel her negative self talk with truths about herself… BUT, without Christ, she is having a hard time, and it’s so heart breaking to see her struggle with it with just “good” truth and not be able to truly apply biblical truth.
Barb Raveling says
Ahh, I see now. That would be hard. Especially in the area of self-image. It would be impossible to see yourself as His child, His bride, His beloved, His workmanship, etc. if you weren’t a Christian. That’s sad!
Kari Scare says
As my pastor has said many times, we simply cannot expect non-Christians to act like Christians. Until they are saved, we have to change our expectations.
Loren Pinilis says
At first I thought your bad habit was playing scrabble too much – then I looked closer at the picture :)
I think part of changing a bad habit is replacing lies with the truth – I also think part of it is getting to the point where we pause enough to examine the truth. Sometimes the problem is that we fly through our habits without thinking through what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
This is great stuff.
That’s funny, Loren – I do like scrabble but it’s not one of my bad habits! I totally agree with you that we need to take the time to examine the truth. First to figure out what to change, and then to keep replacing the lies with the truth so that we do change.
Kari Scare says
Taking the time… Therein lies the key.