You know you must really need to hear a message if God will not stop repeating it. The first message I keeping hearing is that I need to be present here–now, which has nothing to do with our reading this week. The second is that to remove something from my life, a habit, a thought, or a sin, I need to replace it with something good.
When I first heard this message months ago, it all originated from a few short verses found in Luke 11. In verses 24-26, Luke relates the story Jesus told about an unclean spirit leaving a person and traveling and finding no where to go. Then it went back to the person, who had cleaned the space that the spirit left but not filled it with anything else. The spirit brought its friends to join it, and the person was worse off than before.
We need to keep this principle in mind when trying to eliminate stuff from our own lives. Unless we replace those habits and sins (I’ll address thoughts on Wednesday) with something else, something better, then they will creep back into our lives.
For instance, right now I’m trying really hard to not let loose in frustration at my children. Most days at some point, I feel myself coming to the edge. Here I have a choice, lash out in frustration or say our chosen phrase, “Oh no, that’s so sad you…” Me, Tara, I have a temper. I get frustrated easily. But I find having that phrase in place to replace the harsh words I might otherwise say, helps me to change that habit. Easy? No. Do I fail? Daily. But we’re making progress.
It’s the same with anything we need to change. We have to have something to replace it with. If I didn’t have other words already memorized to replace my words of frustration and anger, frustration and anger would still come out way more often than not.
I have to remember this principle daily. There are many things I try to change by myself, but instead I need to seek what God wants me to replace it with. What changes is God calling you to today? What good, Godly things you could replace them with?