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Thursday, July 16, 2009

We all need intentional practices.

We all need intentional practices. They are the only way to break the bad habits that can control our the ones that Paul talks about in Romans 7. As we walk this journey, we find so many times that the "old self"--the propensity to sin--wants to take us places we don't need to go. These are your personal areas of weakness--envy, anger, lust, self-worth--you name your weakness, there's a safe bet that you have some bad habits in that area. These habits may be mental (most are), emotional or physical. Whatever the case, the only way to break them is to put in their place, intentional habits that will replace them.

Let me give you an example unrelated to spiritual things but just as appropriate. Harrison (my son) loves chewing gum. Wherever he is, whatever he is doing, if someone offers him gum, he is a willing consumer. At least he was until recently. He got braces. And, as any good orthodontist would tell you, gum isn't good for your braces. So Harrison had to learn how to break that habit. He didn't make it 24 hours before he already had a piece of gum in his mouth--not because he purposely wanted to break the orthodontist's rules. It was a habit. For weeks after he got his braces on, he would hop into my truck, open the console where I keep some gum and start to pull out a piece. The habit was killing him.

Thankfully, he's worked his way past it. But it wasn't easy. He had to develop some new, intentional practices that would keep his mind off of the gum and focused on more important things. The same thing is true for you and I in our faith walk. Some intentional practices include reading your Bible, learning Scripture, praying, meditating, spending time in silence, learning new worship music, thinking positive thoughts that God has about you or writing in a journal.

These intentional practices help to take the old ways of thinking from your mind and replace them with "Christ thoughts". Only through intentional actions can you find a way to put the "old man" in his place and live a life that more closely resembles that of Jesus.

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