1/3/13 at 03:43 PM 2 Comments

Changing My Unhealthy & Sinful Behavior: It’s A Matter of My Mind, Will & Heart

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I’ve been successful in not adding sugar to my coffee for three days now. This morning I sipped on about 1/2 a cup of coffee… with half and half and no sugar.

Why Am I Blogging About This?

I’m capturing my experiences about this behavior change effort in writing on this blog for two main reasons. First, when we try to change an aspect of our behavior, there’s value in being in community and receiving social support. I’m more likely to succeed with this behavior change if I’m doing this in the context of community. Second, I believe that sharing my strategies and thoughts with others like you will inspire some of you to make a behavior change that’s good for your health. And, I hope that you’ll find that the topics I address will be helpful for you and that you’ll be able to apply what you read to your situation.

Yesterday I wrote that loving Jesus was a motivator to make this change of not using sugar in my coffee. This is a matter of my heart and I want to explore this a little more in a different context.

3 Key Aspects of Behavior Change: Our Mind, Our Will & Our Heart

The mind, the will and the heart can all come into play when a person goes about making a behavior change.

Paul tells us that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.“ Romans 12:2

Yes, I can change the way I think about using sugar in my mind, and this can help. Certainly my thoughts and thinking patterns are going to play a big role in whether or not I use sugar in my coffee. But I think that it’s critical that I make a decision deeper in my will about this issue. My choice to discontinue using sugar was deliberate and at a deep level. I was convicted that using sugar was harmful to my body. I know that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and know that scripture calls me to care for the temple. “… you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20. For me, to continue with this habit, which does not glorify God in my body, is a sin. “But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.” Romans 14:23 So, I made a choice at a deep level – in my will – that I did not want to continue to harm God’s temple that way.

But there’s an even deeper level to all this. This is an issue of my heart. God asks me to love him with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I have come to believe that more than anything else, God wants my deep love, which comes from my heart. The more I value how much God loves me and what Jesus has done for me, the more I desire to love him in return.

My strong love for Jesus in my heart motivates me to make a deliberate choice in my will to change how I think in my mind about this unhealthy habit. This perspective and attitude enables me – it sets me up – for being more successful at changing my behavior.

Questions For You to Reflect On

To what degree are you indebted to Jesus for what he’s done for you?

How deeply do you love God in your heart?

Does your deep love for God inspire you to decide in your will to better care for your body, his temple?

If so, how can you renew your mind to facilitate making some lifestyle changes?

Helpful Resources

Article – Surrender – A Spiritual Exercise For a Healthier Life

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