Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Creature: New Habits

Romans 6:11
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

I believe that to some degree we decide who we will be. Recently when I got two speeding tickets in quick succession, I decided that it was time to become a non speeder; I just didn’t do it anymore.

Not long after deciding this, I was driving home from church on a Sunday morning with three friends who I had to drop off in a nearby town before going home. I needed to get home to finish preparing a big family dinner. A roast was in the oven and I was feeling under pressure and anxious about the timing of the meal.

One of my friends commented on a car that passed us at a high speed. “Gee,” she said, “Look at him; he’s in such a hurry. We’re not even keeping the speed limit and he’s speeding past us.”
I was shocked. I hadn’t realized that my foot was so heavy on the accelerator. This was the new me, after all; the one that didn’t speed. But there was a gap between “who” I was, and what I was doing.

I have heard that when giving up smoking, breaking the psychological habits associated with smoking is almost as hard as breaking the physiological dependence. We have many automatic habits, as I noticed when I gave up speeding.

Even when driving behind a car that was going the same speed as me, I would automatically check the lane to my left, and if there was a space, find myself moving into it. There was no logical reason for this; it was a reflex action. Even though I am disciplining myself to stick to the speed limit, that empty space on my left beckons!

On the other hand I have noticed that when you maintain the speed limit you influence others to do the same. Often people will tuck in behind me and suddenly I’m leading a convoy of people going a hundred kilometres an hour.

This morning somebody stayed behind me for a while, and then suddenly pulled out into the left lane and zoomed off up the highway. This is a metaphor for my life up to now; temporary living within boundaries with periodic lapses.

There are parallels too, with the elusiveness of transformation in Christ. Once I made the decision; once I became a non speeder and took that into my conscious identity I did adjust my life accordingly, however I must confess that reality is not lived out 100% of the time in my driving. I hope that more and more it will be; that my actions will be consistent with who I actually am.

Suddenly I understand that both things can be true at once. I died when Christ died, but I don’t always live as if that is true. I hope that my actions will be more and more consistent with my identity in Christ; a new creature with new habits.


Angcat said...

Yes Belinda,
Well said!
How I wish that my actions and words were always consistent with who I am in Christ, but they are not.
But I know (by faith) that He will refine.
Thank you for this reminder. It came at a very good time.
Love A.

Susan said...

The third time I read this, the light went on. I'm glad I persisted. How freeing... the enemy is always telling me that I'm a failure... and I cave and go back to being "who I was" instead of standing in my new identity and being "who I am in Christ" (who still doesn't bat a thousand, but that doesn't mean I must automatically revert being who I used to be.