Since our future as Christians is based on the love of God and not our personal performance, we are free to walk in love and let joy overflow our lives. I celebrate the truth of Romans 8:1 because it reminds me that no matter what happens in this life, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. As a Christian, that includes me.
Even when I fail, Jesus is there with His success.
Even when I feel like a loser, Jesus is there to remind me I’m a winner.
Above all, that should be the American dream, the global dream. We are forgiven winners.
So rather than be lost amid condemnation, let’s do what we can to change questionable behavior while being convinced of God’s love for us. Once we’ve become Christians, we have already been changed on the inside, so it’s really just a matter of changing some habits and how we see ourselves.
While many of the things you used to do will just fall away as you fall in love with Jesus, we all face things we tend to enjoy that aren’t good for us, like lying, smoking or gossiping.
Here are a few steps to help us shape new behaviors:
- Envision the new behavior – Take time to see yourself making the right choice, even writing down what you will say when next facing the temptation. For example, if you have a habit of lying, plan to stop yourself and say: “I don’t know why I said that …” and then speak the truth.
- Practice – To hardwire a behavior, you must repeat it. When you make mistakes, rebound and repair. Don’t let temporary setbacks turn into an excuse for failure. Stick with it.
- Make it part of your identity – Turn the new behavior into an attribute that’s part of who you are and what you value, such as saying to yourself: “Nothing but the truth crosses these lips.”
Most importantly, involve God in your change. Let Him know how eager you are to walk in the righteous nature He’s given you. All of this leads to a life overflowing with victory and joy. Yes, trials come, but in God we can rise above and let Him carry the load. We truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).
–By Janenne Irene Pung, Deacon and Women Alive Leader, Harvest Barn Church
Janenne Irene Pung blogs each week about how and why you should be listening to the voice of God. Follow her weekly Wordpower blogs.
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