Have you ever felt caught in the same old behavioral pattern where you don’t like the outcome but can’t seem to change your responses?
I certainly have.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
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CONFORMITY TO THE WORLD
The world tells us that anger is an innocent emotion, drinking is fun and relaxing, adultery is acceptable and not a big deal at all, and debt is just a way of life.
But we as Christians have a map for our journey on earth. It’s called the Bible.
The Bible says that anger is foolish (Ecclesiastes 7:9) and it leads to strife (Proverbs 15:18).
The Bible guides us to be of sober mind (1 Peter 5:8-9). It says getting drunk leads to debauchery, aka indulgence in sensual pleasure (Ephesians 5:18).
The Bible demands that we flee from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18). It tells us we must control our bodies and passions (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
The Bible guides us to stay away from debt because the borrower is slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). When you’re a slave, you have a master, aka money is the master in the case of debt. The word of God gives us direction in Matthew 6:24 saying “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
For many years, I was believing the worldly lies.
I remember being 5 years old when my mom began to tell me that the purpose of my life was to be a mother and a wife and that the best way to get a man was by becoming a real woman.
A “real woman”, in my mom’s perspective, was the one who could clean, cook, and please a man sexually.
And so at around 10 years old, I started getting “lessons” from my mom: hard-core porn movies and books.
I was about 5 years old when I had my first drink. It was at home, given to me by the adults in my family.
At 10, me and my cousins were already drinking pure alcohol from a pharmacy in the woods. That was the time when I started smoking, too.
Smoking, drinking, and having sex were mostly the activities I witnessed all the women in my family do on a daily basis. Add some cooking and cleaning there and you’ll get a picture of what the meaning of being a “real woman” was in my world growing up.
I grew up to be a sex addict with some serious alcohol issues. I was angry and violent. I was even locked up once for getting into a fight with a security guard at a hospital.
I was worldly: angry, violent, addicted, and lost. I had no direction. I didn’t know how my behaviors affected my identity and future. I was so confused.
And I lived for the approval of the world, aka people.
Growing up, borrowing money was a go-to way of living. Money was always scarce. My mom was always borrowing money. And I’ve learned that debt was just a way of life.
The worldly lies were dominating my headspace until I found out the truth.
TRANSFORMATION BY THE TRUTH
In 2014, I met Jesus. I was captivated immediately. I started growing in faith. I gave my life to Him. And the renewing of my mind had begun.
From becoming celibate and ditching the alcohol to discovering my identity as a daughter of God and changing my lifestyle completely – through every step of my journey God continued to renew my mind.
God also gave me a Total Money Makeover, thanks to Dave Ramsey. I went through his Financial Peace University and learned that debt is a form of self-exposed confinement when we make ourselves slaves.
God begun to work on renewing my mind regarding every aspect of my Christian life. And He hasn’t stopped since then.
The Bible talks in Romans 12:2 about this process of spiritual, mental, and lifestyle transformation:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Remembering who I am, whose I am, why I’m here, and where I’m going, I was able to develop new habits.
My sexual addiction was replaced with self-control. My anger was replaced with patience. My anxiety that led to a desire for alcohol was replaced with faithfulness which led to a burning desire for God. My compulsive shopping addiction was replaced with contentment and trust in the Lord to provide for my needs without debt.
God has worked on me and in me. And He slowly transformed my heart.
RENEWAL OF MIND AND HEART
Every day I wake up grateful for being new. I have a new heart and a new mind and I’m able to make better decisions using new behaviors I developed.
Ezekiel 36:26 says this:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
When I feel tempted to drink or shop or act out on my sexual addiction, I remember my identity and the new ways of living that have been given to me by God through the Holy Spirit in me.
THE FRUIT OF THE RENEWED MIND
As I’m continuing to renew my mind, my heart is also being renewed. By the amazing grace of loving God, I’m able to have more Fruit in my life, just like Galatians 5:22-23 explains: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
The new habits of the Fruit need to be developed with intentionality. It takes time.
The more we seek to honor God, the more we practice abiding in Christ, the more Fruit there will be in our behavior.
Can you relate to my story?
Do you have unhealthy habits, addictions, or worldly lies that guide your decision-making?
You can be set free today by allowing the Holy Spirit guide you in life. You can renew your mind and get a new heart from God. You can have the joy of the Lord and His peace that passes all understanding.
You can have a fruitful life!
If you’re ready, memorize the Biblical affirmation below and begin practicing it daily.
I am renewed.
I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.
I received new Spirit and a new heart with it.
With the Holy Spirit dwelling in my body,
I’m creating habits to nine fruits exhibit.
What God-honoring habits do you want to create in your life? Let me know in the comments below.
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Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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