Are Personal Habits Destroying You?
If you find yourself in a hole—whether it’s of your own making or not—the first thing to do is to stop digging. But the simple act of tossing away that shovel is difficult in today’s addict-prone culture.
Dr. Patrick J. Carnes once shared how people in our modern society must be more careful about personal habits than those from past generations. He cites eight factors that support this claim.
- Our culture has a quick-fix, convenience-oriented mentality.
- Our era suffers from values confusion, and includes the first generation of parents who did not adequately pass on their values to their children. He said people simply don’t have the kind of anchors they used to.
- Our society is heavily oriented toward entertainment.
- Our culture suffers from disrupted family life. Children grow up in fragmented homes and experience internal abandonment.
- There is an enormous loss of community. The average person moves every three years. The sustained support of extended family members or ongoing close friendships is missing.
- Ours is a high-stress, anxiety-driven culture.
- There is a denial of limitations; for example, people don’t deal with death in a healthy way.
- Finally, the amount of addicts—to alcohol, drugs, food, sex, etc.—tends to multiply. Addicts produce addicts.
These are the contributing causes, but what is the solution? It starts with an honest recognition of the behavior that has placed you in a hole, followed by repentance to God. This releases you from guilt and connects you and the behavior to the ultimate accountability partner—God. By His Holy Spirit, He will lovingly yet consistently convict you when you want to slip back into destructive habits.
Finally, you make a heartfelt, intentional commitment to live daily by the principles of Romans 12:1-2. “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV) When you transform your thinking, behavior will follow—and you’ll toss away that shovel for good!
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