Breaking Bad Habits

"So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions." - Galatians 5:16-17

When I was 14 years old, my dad decided to teach me to play tennis. After puttering around the local tennis courts for a few weeks, my dad decided I had potential and he paid for lessons at this ritzy country club.

My coach was a little guy with a wide-brimmed hat and a scruffy beard, with tight, white shorts that road high on his legs. He was only a few inches taller than me, and I thought, “What can this little guy do?”

Not wanting to disappoint my dad, I listened to my coach even though I doubted his abilities. The first few lessons covered how to grip the racket and how to hit a backhand return, which felt very unnatural. By the third lesson, I still wasn't sure what he could do because I never saw him DO anything. What he was teaching me felt awkward, and I looked like an idiot. But his instructions hit home one day when he hit some balls with me. It was like a cat toying with a mouse. He didn't move, but I was all over the court. After seeing his skill, I finally decided I would do whatever he said. I trusted him from that point on.

You see, the first thing a coach has to do is uncoach – break bad habits. Because I won an occasional match, swatting the ball my way, I thought I must be doing something right. But I wasn't. I didn't believe his way would work because I hadn't seen it all come together. So I did things my way instead. But that day on the court, he showed me what all-together looks like.

Friend, that's how we live life. God tries to break our bad habits and point us in the right direction. We are taught the truth, but we don't connect the dots. We don't put it all together. There is a difference between the persons we are called to be and the persons we are. We have to choose to follow through on God's leading and obey him daily no matter what, or we will continue chasing our own ideas and will fall short of His plan for us. The truth only feels unnatural because it's new, not because it's wrong. Practice makes perfect! Practice walking in God's truth today.

- Mark Hall
Casting Crowns

This post originally appeared on Casting Crowns' Facebook page.