Let's Be Friends!

Faith Bloopers | Christian Living

9 Steps to Creating Godly Changes

Christina Walker

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Welcome back friends!  I apologize this blog took so long in getting to you, I spent some time camping with my family.  There wasn’t much time to write between marshmellows, rainstorms, and campfires!  

This week’s blog is on creating lasting Godly changes in our lives.  A couple years ago, a classmate discovered that I was a Christian.  She had overheard that I had plans to go to church on a Wednesday evening, preventing me from going out with some friends.  Her response to me was, “Oh! You’re a Christian?” Ouch.

I felt low.  Lower than low.  I had spent nearly an entire semester sitting only a few seats away from this young lady, and she had no idea that I was a Christian.  Not only that, but her tone of voice was surprised!  Clearly, I had been living a very worldly life.  I took a step back and examined myself, my actions and speech.

This was just one of the many times in my faith journey that God has somehow shown me that I needed to make some changes.  If you’ve found yourself in the same sinking boat that I have time and time again, let’s celebrate together that our Savior walks on water!  He’ll pick us up.   He gives the direction and strength to make the changes we need to live for Him.

1. Prayer

The first step, one that will be repeated often, is to PRAY.  What’s been placed on your heart lately?  Are there any behaviors you’ve felt compelled to rid yourself of?  Any actions that you’ve felt inspired to add to your life?  It’s through prayer and then listening to His responses that we come to discern His will for our lives!  

2. Decide What Change to Make

Perfection is not necessary, you’re not able to be perfect and Jesus has already accepted you as a sinner.  Keeping that in mind,  I want you to imagine what living a Godly life would look like.  How would you act, what would you say, who would you be?

Now, pick no more than 3 changes you want to make.  Let one be a BIG change, the most scary and difficult one that the Spirit is compelling you to make.  Some people excel when they have only one change to focus on, while others are more successful when working on multiple.  More than 3 goals can be overwhelming and you’d likely find yourself giving up quickly.  So just a max of 3 for now, do whatever feels right to you.

3. What Does the Bible Say?

Now, find AT LEAST 5 Bible verses related to your goal.  What does the Bible have to say about the change you are trying to make?  Making sure that the changes you hope to make are Christ-centered will increase your motivation and keep you on track.  Don’t trust the internet to tell you how to live, make sure your behaviors are aligned with the scriptures!

4. Write Out Your Goals

Wording the goals you have is an incredibly important step.  Try to make your goals positive!  

For example, instead of saying, “I want to stop lying,” make your goal “I will be honest in all areas of my life.”  

Or instead of “I need to stop gossiping,” decide, “I will engage in only Godly talk.”  

Rather than “I want to lose weight,” say “I want to live a healthy life for the Lord.”

5. Determine the Cause of your Sinful Behaviors

If you are trying to stop a bad habit, it’s very helpful to replace that bad habit with a healthy, Godly one.  What does the sin you struggle with do for you?  There’s a reason it’s tempting, it’s fulfilling some need of yours.  Once you determine what you get from the sinful behavior, you can find a way to meet that need that is pleasing to God.  

For example, perhaps lying makes you feel that people like you more, but is there a way you can instead gain your validation from God rather than man?  And people usually like people they can trust, so living an honest life will make you more liked by many people.

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy,

not on fighting the old,

but on building the new.”


6. Create Objectives

After you’ve set your goal, you need to work out what exactly you’re going to DO to meet your goals.  Some people will find success through aversion training.  This could be as simple as wearing a rubber band that you snap against your wrist every time you engage in the unGodly behavior.  Over time, your brain will decide it no longer likes that behavior, because it’s paired with pain.  I’ve used this technique with stopping lying in the past, it was very successful for me!

Others might be successful in tracking their behavior.  How many times do you engage in gossip?  Every time you gossip, make a tick mark.  Paying attention to your bad habits can decrease them.

Or maybe you want to increase a behavior, so track that too! Each time you are uplifting, or every day you have God time, make a mark.  On a small notebook can be helpful, in a planner or on a calendar.  Maybe find a smartphone tracker app.  If you want to do something daily, make a goal to create a chain of days.   Once you have several days in a row, you won’t want to break your chain, so you’ll push to continue engaging in that daily Bible reading or God time.  

7. Build a Support Network

No matter whether increasing or decreasing behaviors, find supportive friends or family to help you out!  Support from those closest to us will hold us accountable and give an extra push for motivation to stick with the change.   People who incorporate supports are much more likely to succeed in meeting goals.  

Is there a church group or fellow Christian that you can be a support to?  When two people are working towards their own goals together, they are likely to be more successful just because they don’t want to let the other person down.

8. Motivation

Take those Bible verses that you found in the beginning, and write them out.  Put them into your phone, create your Facebook or Pinterest passwords out of the verses or keywords, stick them on your bathroom or bedroom mirrors, write them on the cover of your notebooks.  

Get your motivation placed all around you, because when temptation hits, you need to be reminded of why you’re resisting.  Remind yourself of why you are fighting the good fight, why you are continuing in this race.  You’re doing this because God loves you, and He died for you.  He wants to live with you!  And now you have come to know and love His Son, and the deepest desire of your heart is to be with God and live a holy life that is pleasing to Him.

I find it helpful to remember that I CAN engage in a behavior, but that I don’t WANT to.  As soon as that fruit was forbidden, it became a temptation to Adam and Eve.  By realizing that you are free to behave however you like, but that you don’t actually WANT the fruit, the temptation loses its appeal.  Even if your short-term craving is to engage in a behavior that is not Godly, your long-term desire is to live a Godly life.  Remind yourself that all cravings pass with time.  Only the temptations that are fed will persist over the long-run.

If you are still struggling with whether or not to try to make a change that has been on your heart, fill out the chart below on notebook paper.  Do them each in order, and put everything down.  Write every reason you don’t want to make the change.  Write every reason you want to stay the same.  You will likely have multiple responses for each question.  Get it all out, and then decide when you’re finished if you want to make this change.  If you should make this change.  I wrote examples in italics.

Reasons to CONTINUE behaving the way I have been:

I have fun gossiping with my friends.

Reasons NOT to change my behavior:

My friends might gossip behind MY back if I refuse to gossip.

Reasons NOT TO CONTINUE behaving the way I have been:

Gossip is not Godly.  I am an example of Christ to the world, and Jesus didn’t gossip.

Reasons TO change my behavior:

The Bible states repeatedly that gossip does not please God, and that followers of Christ should only speak uplifting words.

9. Determination

Once you decided to make the change, have set a goal, and are ready to begin, rank the level of your determination to achieve this goal.

1         2         3         4         5         6         7         8         9         10

None                                   Some                                    VERY Determined!

Why are you the number you said, and not two numbers below your number?  What would it take for your determination to increase?  

It’s important to understand that bloopers are OK.  It’s OK to occasionally mess up.  It’s OK that meeting your goal will take time.   Changes are a process, not immediate.  What matters to God is that you are trying.  You are attempting to do something difficult in order to show Him that you love Him.  Not to earn His love, but to show your love for Him.  Through your persistence in trying to live the way He desires, He will continue to forgive when you make those inevitable bloopers.   Try your best, but don’t allow the mistakes to cause you to give up!

We all go through struggles to demonstrate our love to God through our actions.  There are a million stumbling blocks, and we’re professionals at finding them all.  In the last couple blogs, we explored that while we can only come to Christ through the Spirit, we still must put substantial work into living Godly lives.  It’s OK to struggle with temptations, that’s not a sin.  Jesus was tempted on multiple occasions.  Temptation is not sinful, but giving in to temptation is.

My next blog will be on how to continue to stay motivated.  Change is sometimes easy at first, only to become difficult to maintain later on.  Jesus gave the parable of the seed that was sown, grew quickly, but then died away once the sun came out.  We are encouraged throughout the scriptures to persist under pressure to sin.  With God’s help, we have the strength to resist.  Because our strength does not come from humans, but from God.   And He’s already won!

God bless, and I pray that the Spirit guides, supports, and challenges each of you in your walk with Jesus!

“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 7:24