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How to Change Your Behaviour With the Word of God
A vast majority of human behaviour is instinctual; that is, it’s acted out without premeditation. As a matter of fact, 95 percent of our behaviour is instinctually carried out—without premeditation. Yet we’re instructed to behave in certain, specific ways by God in the Bible.
God never tells anyone to do something without him providing the ability or the means to get it done. For example, God commands things like: “Don’t be prideful. Don’t covet. Don’t be anxious. Don’t be jealous. Don’t be angry. Don’t envy. Don’t lust.” And, naturally, none of those actions are premeditated. Anger, pride, covetousness, anxiety, jealousy, envy, lust — they all just rise up out of the heart with no conscious reflection or intention. Consquently, God provided a means to get to the root of the matter, and deal with it so that these things won’t rise up anymore by themselves.
We’re going to examine how the word of God can be applied in our lives, so it can help us change our behaviour.
The Relevance of the Word of GOD
For a lot of folks, the word of God is just a book full of stories that seem exciting and good for pastors to preach from. They see the Bible as a religious book that doesn’t have any useful application in the real world. It appears to them like a book with little to no significance and outdated usefulness. That's not true with the Bible; it's actually the most important book on the planet.
It’s a most exciting adventure when the word of God is applied into our daily lives. Because when we do, it makes everything in our lives blissful. For example, Joshua 1:8 reads, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” You see, the word of God can make you prosperous and successful. That already goes to show it’s not an ordinary book.
The Root of the Matter
Jesus gave us a key to note about behavior in Matthew 12:33, “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.” In a figurative manner, Jesus explains that a man works are what defines him—his fruits. The word fruit, used figuratively, denotes actions carried out, in other words, ‘works’ done. Also, the word tree is an indirect way of describing a man’s heart.
In essence, Jesus was saying, it’s either you make your heart good, so you can behave in a good manner; or you make your heart corrupt, so you can act corrupt—you choose. Because the kind of heart you have is seen in the kinds of actions you perform.
Hence the root of the matter is the heart. So if you want to change your behavior, determination cannot help you, you simply need a new heart. You need a heart transformation. You need a transformation not just in your external behavior, but the way you feel and think — in your mind and heart. As Romans 12:2 says it “Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.”
A New Heart
Now, for a Christian (one who is born again), you don’t need a new heart anymore (spirit), but a new mind. If you’re a Christian, you already have a new heart, one that pleases God. Now you might not act like you have a good heart, and the reason for that is that you’ve not renewed your mind as hinted in Romans 12:2; however, you have a new and perfect heart already.
Being a spirit being, you have a soul, and live in a body. Now, since you’re a spirit, you’re like God because God is a spirit. And that spirit that you are is a new creature from God (2 Corinth 5:17). That means, in your heart (spirit), you’re as perfect as God is, since God gave you birth as a new creature you’re as perfect as he is.
So the deal in changing your behavior is that you’re trying to become what you already are in your heart—perfect. You are trying to behave in ways that please God, you’re trying to produce fruits from the root inside you and that happens by renewing your mind, not your heart.
The Heart-Penetrating Word
The Bible is described as the heart-penetrating word in Hebrews 4:12. It reads, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
That’s quite interesting because it shows that the word of God is what will get the job done. The TLB (Living Bible) translation of the Bible puts the same verse this way: “For whatever God says to us is full of living power: it is sharper than the sharpest dagger, cutting swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.”
The word of God knows your thought and desires and it can cut deep down into your minds to alter it. It’s the information that forms a new you.
Repentance means to change your mind. A changed behavior is the result of repentance. As we already have seen, when your heart and mind is changed, it produces a new way of behaving.
So how do we put this to work? First of all you have to believe the word of God, secondly, you have to confess it. Have you considered how you got born again, and got a perfect heart? It’s the same process: you believed and confessed the word of God (Rom. 10:9).
You have to speak the word of God. You have to make confession of what the word says. The confession part is so important, without it nothing happens. Confession means “to say the same thing in consent.” For example, if you confess the word of God, it’s as though God himself was talking through your lips. And boy, that’s when something really happens.
James 3:2 says, “If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way” (TLB). Now, here’s the key, if you had to speak to get yourself a new spirit from God, then definitely, you would also have to speak to get yourself a new godlike behaviour.
Another idea James 3:2 carries is that you can take control over your entire being—your spirit, soul and body with your mouth. That’s how powerful your mouth is.
Meditation Is Speaking
There’s hardly anything that impacts a man’s thinking like words. The words you surround yourself with, especially the ones you speak would, in the long run, have an indelible impact in your life.
Come to think of it, if God could create the whole world by just speaking words, you, being made in the image and likeness of God, can create a new world for yourself just by speaking words, too. You can create a new behavioral pattern for yourself with your words.
A scripture that has been earlier quoted, Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth…” That’s how to meditate: you speak words. Meditation is the key to success, according to Joshua 1:8.
It behooves us to note that if a man is going to succeed, his thinking and behavior must be one that’ll naturally lead him to success. The other part of our scripture in Joshua reads, “that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
That simply tells us that to succeed, you must behave or do what will naturally lead to success. And since we’ve observed that 95 percent of our actions aren’t premeditated, it then proves that confessing the word of God causes us to do or behave in ways that naturally lead to success without having premeditated our actions.
That’s what the words “that thou mayest observe to do” means: It denotes an impetuous influence, propelling one into action. That tells you, you don’t have to try. All you have to do is to meditate. And your behavior will be altered.
In closing, I want to reiterate James 3:2, “For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech [never says the wrong things], he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.” (AMP). Now, you go ahead and control your behavior with your words.
Put a Check in Your Heart
When you make a mistake by doing something wrong, you say, “I’m not supposed to do that. I’m supposed to do this.” Or “I’m not supposed to say that, I’m supposed to say this.” This is the science of spiritual education; that’s how you get a paradigm shift.
When you do that constantly and repeatedly, you’ll be putting a check in your heart and mind. And before you know it, it’ll become spontaneous; you wouldn’t have to say it again—it’s become a part of your behavior.
© 2017 Matthew Joseph