Have you ever thought about the habits in your life? Habits are defined as: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.
Let me ask you:
What do you do to relax? What do you do to take your mind off of stressful things? What do you avoid doing?
Now that you have answered these questions in your head, ask yourself:
Why do I do these things?
If you are honest with yourself you will discover that there are two reasons:
1. To avoid pain
2. To seek pleasure
There is nothing wrong with having fun and relaxing. Everyone needs to have healthy recreation and restful routines in order to stay healthy emotionally, physically and spiritually. Also, there is nothing wrong with avoiding painful situations if that is the wise decision.
The problem arises when we distort what we believe to be pleasure and what we believe to be pain.
Here are a couple examples:
You may have a routine of driving home from work, grabbing fast food , sitting down on the couch, watching TV and eating ice-cream. This habitual routine seems pleasurable to you at the time. Over time this habit will begin to effect you in a painful way but causing problems physically, emotionally and spiritually. The problem is that because there is no apparent pain at the time from your habits, you continue to ignore the “pain” of exercising and eating better.
You have an old car with high mileage but it still runs. Your “friends” continue to joke with you about your “cool ride” and “how you will never get a girl in that thing.” You give in to the pressure knowing that you can’t really afford a car payment on your current salary. The pleasure of not having your friends bash you and to feel like you “fit in” has now caused long term financial pain.
Both examples listed above are decisions to choose short term pleasure that cause long term pain.
The key to living a breakthrough lifestyle is choosing short term pain that results in long term pleasure.
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV) says:
11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Hebrews 12:11 teaches us that if we have certain disciplines in our life today, they will produce as harvest later on in our life. The harvest that is promised is a harvest of righteousness and Peace. Scripture does state that that human beings cannot achieve righteousness through their own efforts: “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” (Romans 3:20)
We are not disciplining ourselves to get God’s approval rather we are disciplining our life to align our life with the God’s best for our life. The result is a harvest! God’s best for our life is found in obedience to Gods commands.
Living out Gods commands is the safest way to live your life.
Obedience is what moves our life from breakdown to breakthrough. As we all know, obedience can bring short term pain but in so doing will reap long term righteousness and peace in our life.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV) says: 12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
So how do we create the disciplines in our life that bring short term pain but result in long term Godly pleasure?
- Sit down with a piece of paper and pen.
- Take an audit of what you do for pleasure and what painful situations you habitually avoid.
- After you make your list take some time in prayer and ask: “Holy Spirit, What short term habits and routines have I formed in my life? How will they effect me long term?
- Take time to listen to His voice.
- Then ask: Holy Spirit, what steps can I take starting today to breakthrough the negative habits and pursue long term Godly pleasure?
- Again, take time to listen and write down the answers.
- Begin setting small daily goals to change the negative habits by consciously changing one or two things that help to move your life in the opposite direction.
- Finally, ask: “Holy Spirit, give me the strength to move past the destructive habits in my life and set me free from the negative thoughts attached to my habits. Thank you for being my comforter and spirit of truth! In Jesus name, Amen!
You have God’s presence with you at all times. He is cheering you on. You are an overcomer in Christ and He has given you the strength by his spirit to move your life from breakdown to breakthrough so you can experience His best for your life!
What breakthroughs have you experienced this week? Let me know by commenting below!