After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you. – 1 Samuel 10:7.
So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up. – Galatians 6:9
I know we all have change on our minds, especially going out of 2020 and into the New Year. We want 2021 to be different; we want the world to be different; we want our circumstances to be different; and we (ourselves) want to be different too.
At the same time – and I think we all know this in our heart of hearts – the “resolutions” made as the hands on the clock pass midnight are essentially worthless, not game-changers so much as hot air, hyperbole, or romantic wishful thinking.
It turns out that real change is not so much a function of belief as it is the product of behavior. In other words, changing our mind won’t change what we do or who we are; but it is in changing our actions that we absolutely will change our mind, our convictions, our beliefs, and – ultimately – the world.
It’s about habit more than will:
Let me offer a for-instance. I have heard people say, “I really miss being an active part of a church; I’m sure I would be there more if my faith was stronger.” But the truth is actually something more like this: “If I got back into the habit of attending church, then my faith and belief would grow too.“
For example, when I decided to be more healthy the transformation was from the outside in. I don’t stare down unhealthy foods and say things like, “Get thee behind me, ice-cream and chocolate cake!” Instead, I make sure it isn’t in the fridge to begin with! Same with eliminating bread as a side with every meal. Eventually our positive choices become habituated. The idea holds true with exercise too. I don’t have to make a decision to walk every morning and evening – it’s just what I do.
Likewise I don’t wake up Sunday mornings and wonder, “Hmmm, do I attend church today or not?” Nope, it’s habitual, it’s what I do and it has become who I am. Same with morning devotions, prayer before meals, etc. I don’t do those things because I am “a spiritual person.” I am a spiritual person because I do those things.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states – essentially – that a body in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force, and that, similarly, a body at rest will remain at rest. Our opportunity is to make some initial choices regarding the kind of motion – the trajectory – we want to define our 2021.
Everything, even our spirituality, is more dependent on our actions (our motion) than our intentions or what we like to say we believe.
If, that is, we really do want to see some positive change in 2021. Food for thought – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.