3 things to stop doing this year (and forever)
This will improve your happiness considerably!
These are three specific things that the Bible says clearly not to do, and which most of us as Christians are familiar with. Yet these tendencies lie so deeply in our nature that we do not see their subtle nuances all at once. What is the underlying motive behind what we say, or what we do, or what we don’t say or don’t do? On a scale of 1 to 10, how free do I think I am from these things?
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on … Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matthew 6:26-27.
Some of us tend to worry a lot. Some of us are the happy-go-lucky kind. Some of us experience a physical reaction that comes with the worrying thoughts, and may be battling with anxiety, for which we may require professional help.
There are many things that are out of our control. There are many things that we want to control. We can spend countless hours mulling over these things, imagining the worst possible scenarios.
The next time you’re tempted to worry, try tracing the thought back to its source. Could it be that it stems from a lack of faith and trust in God? Even if things were to go in the “worst possible way imaginable,” do we believe what God has promised, that all things work together for good to those who love Him? (Romans 8:28)
Having faith does not mean that things will always go the way we want them to go. But having faith does mean that we are in complete peace and rest in every situation because we trust in God’s perfect guidance in all that happens.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:33-34.
2. Judging others
“Judge not, that you be not judged.” Matthew 7:1.
It couldn’t be stated more clearly than that. But is it easier said than done? If we are honest with ourselves, it would appear so.
We cannot deny that the average brain thinks thousands of thoughts each day. We are constantly processing what we see, hear and experience; our brain forming impressions, speculations, conclusions. How many of those thoughts are 100 per cent true, righteous, pure and good? (Philippians 4:8) When it concerns our impressions of other people especially, do we make assumptions based on what we see and hear, or could it be that there is more than meets the eye? Do we rather “commit ourselves to Him who judges righteously?” (1 Peter 2:23) This puts a whole new dimension to what it means to take our thoughts captive.
Does this give us a whole field of enemies to take a hold of? Yes. Is it impossible? No.
Judging is almost a knee-jerk reaction for us as people. But when we become aware of how often we are actually tempted to those thoughts, and start working on keeping our hearts pure, then there is no question that backbiting will come to an end pretty quickly.
Why would we be inclined to backbite? Could it be that we are in one way or another envious, dissatisfied, unmerciful, self-righteous, gossip-loving; but with the underlying belief that we are better than someone else (i.e. pride)? (Philippians 2:3)
“… they are whisperers, backbiters … who, knowing the righteous judgement of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same, but also approve of those who practice them.” Romans 1:29-32.
Regardless of how much of ourselves we see in these things, we are still alive, and in the time of grace to be able to make amends. Why not make it a point to be free from worrying, judging and backbiting this year? They lie deep in our, but we can become perfect as far as God’s light shines. Not only will this improve our happiness considerably, it will also improve our relationships with others noticeably. Think to be able to have a pure heart, so pure that it shines like a mirror! We are not yet perfected, but we strive for perfection! (Philippians 3:12-14)
You may be interested in reading more on our topic page about overcoming sin, or in the articles below.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.