We all have bad habits and thought patterns, and it’s so frustrating when we want to change, but we can’t seem to get unstuck. Real, lasting change is difficult. As a Christian, it can be even harder because not only do we want to change, we’re actually expected to be different. Often, we feel guilt and shame when we’re stuck, so we hide our bad habits from others. So how do we move past these bad patterns and get unstuck?
In the book of Ephesians, Paul wrote to Jesus’ followers about how true change takes place in our minds. It starts by thinking “right,” and right thinking equals a changed life. But it’s not just about having a new thought; it’s learning to make a pattern of action from that thought. Getting unstuck doesn’t happen overnight. Changing our thoughts takes practice and perseverance, but right thinking over time leads to a changed life. Here’s what Paul said:
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV).
Changing our thoughts and actions starts with learning what God’s Word says about the behavior in which we feel stuck. We have to recognize our negative patterns and then choose to think differently. While change can be difficult, and speaking up can be hard or even embarrassing, finding someone to talk to can help us get through it.
What’s a behavior pattern you’ve felt stuck in lately? This week, schedule a time to sit down with a trusted mentor or friend to talk about it and make a plan for how you can begin to change your mind in order to change your heart.
Throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes (Ephesians 4:22-23 NLT).
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).
Small Group Questions
What are some common bad behaviors that people get stuck in?
What are some excuses we make to justify our
Talk about a time you tried to break a habit. Did it work? Why or why not?
Why do you think Paul tells us to start creating change by changing our thoughts and attitudes?
Why is it important to change your thoughts BEFORE you’re in a tempting situation?
Who’s one healthy and trustworthy person you can talk to about an area of your life that you feel stuck in?
Question of the week
How is God working in your story?
Work on memorizing this verse: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV).