Making change

(I’m following up on yesterday’s post about planning how to grow.)

If you want to have less self-centered pride in five years than you do now, here’s one thing to say:

If I am sitting in a meeting, and I feel a need to speak up, then I will count to five and say, “Am I trying to impress people or am I trying to move the conversation along?”

Self-centered pride is one of the attitudes that can devastate us. We read

An angry man stirs up dissension,
and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
A man’s pride brings him low,
but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

… and we say, “I should be more humble. It’s a characteristic of Jesus.” And then a few days later we say it again. And then a few days later we say it again. And then we say, “God, help me be more humble.” And sometimes He does. But we still don’t learn. We simply humiliate ourselves.

But what if we looked at the places where we often demonstrated our self-centered pride and we evaluated our behavior and we planned to make changes? Is it possible that we could learn behaviors that kept us from always putting ourselves in front?

Yes.

In the example above, notice the bold if…then. When we clearly identify a time and situation, and we clearly identify the action we will take in that situation, we are far more likely to take that action than if we say, “I should talk less.” (See, for example, Implementation Intentions for research supporting this.)

This 300 words seems a lot more like psychology research than a devotional. I understand. I also understand that following Jesus involves specific, intentional steps of obedience which are sometimes rooted both in the Bible and our brains.