Heart Change, And Then Behavior Change

“Your behavior does need to change! But this approach only addresses external actions. It does not go after the reasons why you continue to do these things. Instead, the person simply hopes to replace bad behavior with good. He believes he just needs some skills. He doesn’t want to do the time-consuming and painful work of looking at motivation. He just wants to deal with the problem behavior with techniques that will help him navigate life more smoothly…

The Bible is full of principles and commands to be patient, speak the truth in love, listen well, and speak gently and in edifying ways. Yet a behavioral approach to change is hollow because it ignores the need for Christ and his power to change first the heart and then the behavior. Instead, even the Christian version of this approach separates the commands of Scripture from their Christ-centered, gospel context.

The Bible passages that emphasize the need for new behavior are all built on the foundation of God’s grace at work to change our hearts through the power of the Spirit. The Word and Spirit work together, enabling us to see Christ in all his power and mercy. This leads to heart change at the level of what we worship and cherish at any given moment. This kind of radical heart change reorients me vertically – person to God – and I repent of what I have cherished in place of Christ. This vertical change then leads to new behavior on the horizontal, person-to-person, plane. An approach to change that only focuses on external behavior is never enough. Biblical change is so much more!”

p. 21 How People Change

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About Aaron Golby

Christian. Husband to Katherine.
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