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Unchecked old habits define us

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By Dave Henning / February 3, 2019

“But old habits die hard.  Guilt, anger, greed, jealousy — all are habit forming.  And like any habit that goes unchecked, over time they come to define us.  These disorders become such a part of us that we no longer view them as issues to be resolved.  Instead, we dismiss these destructive habits as characteristics hardwired into our personality.”- Andy Stanley

In Chapter 10 (“Habits of Happiness”) of Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley asserts that you exercise to get, as well as keep, your heart in shape.  This applies to your physical heart and your spiritual heart.  Thus, you don’t wait until your heart’s healthy to exercise.

Yet, Pastor Stanley observes, we wish that we only needed to sing a song or pray a prayer to change our hearts.  However, Andy states, in most cases heart change requires effort.  And sometimes this change requires pain.  In all cases, though, there’s discomfort involved.  A changed hear results from forming new habits.

As a result, we can’t expect a miracle cure or quick fix to break a habit we’ve spent years believing ourselves into.  Hence, Pastor Stanley provides this summary.  He writes:

“And so we pray for change while we make up excuses for the very things that need to change.  We want to wake up one morning with a generous spirit, guilt-free, and anger-free.  But when it comes time to do the heavy lifting, doing those habit-breaking exercises necessary to bring about change, something in us resists: If God want to change me overnight, fine.  But if you’re asking me to work at it, then maybe you’re trying to make me somebody that I’m not (emphasis author’s).

In conclusion, Andy notes that all of us desire happiness.  Most people, though, think they can squeeze happiness out of somebody or something else.  But that always fails to work – especially for the person being squeezed.  Because happiness = the overflow of a healthy heart.

Today’s question: What unchecked old habits define you?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Playing the confession game – conscience relief”

About the author

Dave Henning


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