Behavior modification versus lasting change

By Dave Henning / May 17, 2017

“God is not just after behavior modification (as in, stop it), but real and deep and lasting change.”- John Eldredge

“How blessed is God!  And what a blessing he is!  He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him.  Long before he laid down the earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.”- Ephesians 1:3-4 (MSG)

Today’s blog, from the Summer section of John Eldredge’s Walking with God, focuses on the words whole and holy.  However, John stresses, when you’re following God things may not unfold the way you expect.  Because God’s after both our transformation and our joy.  One hangs upon the other.

In addition, true holiness- real, deep and lasting change- requires the healing of our souls.  Thus, John explains how whole and holy go hand in hand:

“Whole and holy.  The two go hand in hand.  Oh, how important this is.  You can’t find the holiness you want without deep wholeness.  And you can’t find the wholeness you want without deep holiness.”

Another integral part of wholeness and holiness consists of a joyful heart.  Yet, Mr. Eldredge states, joy as a category sometimes seems irrelevant- nice, but unessential.  It often appears that life’s about surviving- and getting a little pleasure.

However, subtle agreements we make erode encounters with joy.  John defines these agreements as:

  • subtle convictions we come to, assent to, give way to, or are raised to assume are true
  • happening deep in our souls where our real beliefs about life form
  • accepting as “truth” what someone tells us simple because it seems so reasonable

Perhaps we settle for relief and don’t even consider joy.  But, as John concludes, joy is the point (emphasis author’s).

Today’s question: Do you seek behavior modification or real, deep, and lasting change?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The bedrock for everything else”

About the author

Dave Henning

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