Dunedin, New Zealand, my city - my people

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Change from the inside...

Related to "salvation" but something I have found important for me and my growth. How do we change our behaviour? Our behaviour sometimes is motivated by peer pressure, for good or bad.That is fairly shallow and unstable motivation for our actions. I was reminded recently of how we really change behaviours by the story of a man I know. This man, a likable, respectable professional, had been a once a week binge drinker but it was catching up on him and causing damage to his health. He had to stop drinking, but had been finding the change difficult. He was given a book which basically gave heaps of information about the effects of alcohol, and in the last chapter simply asked the question, "How do you feel about it now?" This man told how his basic view of alcohol had been drastically changed and he now no longer wanted to drink. It was not until his inner world view had been changed, that his outer behaviour could be changed.

Lately I have been too busy to exercise or run. (Except tonight I went for a bike ride... but got a flat tire! grrr!) I met a man the other day I had not seen for a while and he asked if I was still running. When I confessed my lack, he lectured me, saying that I should see running, not as a dispensable bonus in life, but a "non-negotiable" in life. It's true, how I rate it or view it changes whether I actually make the room in my life to get out there and pound the pavement.

Following Jesus, is allowing his ways to actually change my inner world view, so that I see people and life differently. Behaving respectfully, not swearing, not being promiscuous, looking like a good wee Christian etc. just because I hang around with church people, feels like keeping a whole lot of rules. I become a classic do-gooder, trying to gain approval. It is basically selfish! But allowing the way of Jesus to change how you see people, means that you are changed from the inside out. To your surprise, you can actually find yourself loving a little bit like he loves, feeling for and with people, you otherwise would not care about. Growth continues to happen. Salvation is allowing Jesus' way to change your inner world view, and constructive growth and actions follow. We "do" because that's what we want to do, not for anybody's approval. (God nor our peers) I am also convinced that when people are loved in an unconditional way, their inner world view about themselves and others changes gradually, and you discover positive outer changes in their behaviour... that's just something that I was reminded of recently and thought I would share. To all you who work on Mondays, I am having a day off! Well a day when I choose what work to do. Wish me luck.

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