Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Healing Bad Habits

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Healing Bad Habits

Article excerpt

THE world is filled with people yearning to overcome bad habits. Whatever particular habit one is struggling with, feeling a slave to our actions is debilitating, limiting, saddening. Feeling out of control is frightening.

I once had a friend tell me he only got drunk once--and never again--because he didn't like waking up and not remembering what he had done the night before. For many, one negative experience is enough deterrence. For others of us the solution isn't as easy and the habit may become well established. We may then feel trapped by an inability to change.

Yet there is hope. While more is needed than merely recognizing that a particular habit is undesirable or unproductive, such a recognition is an important first step. What comes next in our efforts to drop such a habit--if these efforts are ultimately to be successful--is a desire to learn how to be obedient to God. Such obedience will help us replace bad habits with good, even though the change may be gradual.

Whether the change is gradual or immediate, however, it does take place as we exchange harmful habits for the devotion to God that frees us from material dependency. Because God is good, He has naturally created all good for His child, man. He maintains man perfect, whole, and free. As we begin to recognize that this God-created man is our own, genuine, spiritual identity, we see more and more clearly that we can rely on God and obey Him. We can break free of imprisoning habits.

We have to make a real effort to embrace spiritual living. But we can start now. And as God's child we can learn to lean on Him to help us change unwanted habits. Spiritually understanding that all good stems from God helps us to see that what isn't productive and good doesn't have its source in God--and therefore has no basis. What does have its source in God, good, is maintained and sustained by the infinite. …

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