Three ways to kill old habits

Matthew 9
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If this doesn’t make sense to you… squirrel.

Since finishing up at my previous job, my level of focus has completely sucked.

I could begin blaming my daughter for being a baby, or my wife for always being available to talk and gripe with me, but it’s really on me and how I’m going to handle my habit of thinking the past three years or so.

I’m an efficiency junkie, which is even more frustrating.  My attention span lasts for about as long as the task I’m on.  I used to be able to sit for hours chopping away at something, but now, if a particular task takes “too long”, I get antsy and my mind starts wandering.

The obnoxiously worn-out adage “old habits die hard” applies here.

When I decided to direct my attention to writing, that meant I had to destroy my preconceptions of what “hard work” looks like. The old ways had to go.  Clearly I’m still working on that.

But if we’re going to be effective in how we go about living our lives, particularly as the Lord’s slaves — which is redundant, because calling Him “Lord” means He’s in charge — we have to eliminate some old habits.

And I’m not talking about behavioral stuff, really.  Look at your perspective, the way you think about things.  Where’s your head at, dawg??

Here are three things that kicked my butt in Matthew 9 today:
1) “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” (v. 10-13) Sacrifice requires self-loss.  Now, we’re called to be a living sacrifice, but it starts with how we think, not what we do.  Mercy, on the other hand, requires humility.  This will change how we see everything, because it means someone else is always more important.

2) “Follow me.” (v. 9) A few other disciples have the same story.  How did Matthew just leave everything and follow Jesus?  Well, he just did it.  We squirm and kick and try to hang onto something from before. A couple of guys in chapter eight had a hard time with this too.  Do you?

3) New stuff rules. (v. 14-17) Kinda talked about this before. We like the way things were, back in the day. We like our old traditions and habits. But you can’t put the new stuff in an old vessel — the old one has to go. Imagine a 65 year old man wearing skinny jeans.  Not working in your mind, is it? Imagine losing 30 pounds (!) — you’re going to need new clothes, huh?

When you decided to become a Christian, did you say something to the effect of, “Lord, I’m surrendering everything to you,” or “my life is in Your hands”? That meant everything you had become before knowing Him is no longer. It means you’re a slave for God, doing what He wants instead of what You want.  I don’t know if you really agreed with that, but that’s what you said. Too bad, so sad.

You get the idea.  When you decide that Jesus is Lord, some of the old stuff has to go. What are you going to start with?


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