Just Stop It!
Back in November I began a “Stop It!” list. I have found that it is way too easy for me to excuse sin in my life. I call it a “bad habit” or “a weakness” or “one of my short-comings.” But actually it is direct disobedience to what I know God wants of me. Following are more attitudes and actions that I am deciding to become ruthless about eliminating from my life. I know I can’t do it on my own… but purposing to eradicate these things and seek the Lord’s power is definitely a most-necessary first step!
And as I work to abolish them in my own life, I can be teaching my children and grandchildren to squash them in their lives as well. I don’t need to be perfect before I can teach truth to others… but it helps when I can teach what I myself have learned, or am in the process of learning.
STOP… explosive expressions of anger! Don’t be a perpetual toddler, throwing grown-up tantrums! Unkind words do damage and often come back to bite you. Instead of lashing out, hold your tongue and wait until you can converse calmly and rationally. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. (James 1:19) Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
STOP … frowning! A sour expression invites sadness. It will end up ruining your day and it doesn’t win many friends either. Generate happiness in your spirit by choosing to put a smile on your face… whether you feel like it or not! A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. (Proverbs 15:30)
STOP … hanging around foolish people! Peer pressure is powerful… for adolescents and adults as well. Be friendly to everyone but choose your closest pals very carefully. Their lifestyles and attitudes are sure to rub off on you! He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm. (Proverbs 13:20)
STOP … being an enabler! Don’t encourage inappropriate behavior by rewarding it… either in yourself or others. Care enough to correct. Do not regard him (i.e. the one who is doing wrong) as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. (II Thessalonians 3:15)
STOP … living for the weekend! You can’t enjoy the present, if you’re always wishing for the future. Pull your thoughts back to “now” and decide to enjoy it to the max. Whistle, hum, sing or smile while you work. Envision Jesus right beside you, cheerfully helping you with your tasks. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
STOP… spreading dirt about people! Squelch gossip by saying something positive. And if you can’t say something good … at least keep quiet! Teach the older women (and this is good advice for all ages and genders) not to be slanderers. (Titus 2:3)
STOP… overanalyzing life! This can lead to psychoanalysis paralysis! Quit making life so complicated. It’s pretty simple actually… you’re born, you live, you die. Follow God’s rules for the last two! For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) In other words, spend your life serving Christ and then when it comes time to die, there will be no regrets only anticipation of life with Christ in heaven.
Scripture says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” (James 4:17) Aaagh! That leaves all of us guilty of a lot of sin. The great news is that our Father is merciful and loving. When we fail, He is quick to pick us up, brush us off, set us on our feet again and give us a fresh start. And gradually all those fresh starts add up to new habits firmly established and old ones once-and-for-all destroyed.
Every time we fail to “stop” one of these sins, we reinforce that habit. But every time we successfully “stop it!” we help break that bad habit and move towards victorious Christian living. So, why not START IT today?!