Changing our behavior

Rev. Ron Burcham

Rev. Ron Burcham

Ron Burcham, Risen Savior Lutheran Church

Bundle up, everyone – we are in the dead of winter. Okay, I had to stop typing for a minute because I was laughing so hard my fingers couldn’t work the keys. Seriously, January is our coldest month according to the National Climatic Data Center. It is true that each year that I live in the valley the more acclimated I get to the climate. Back in Iowa if 46 degrees was the high in January I was putting on a light jacket. Now when it dips into the 50s I am reaching for a warm jacket.

People told me that I would get acclimated to the weather when I first moved here and I am not sure I believed them. In my mind anytime you were above freezing from November–March it was balmy and no need for much of a coat. In the same way I thought if it was above 100 degrees in the summer I would just hunker down inside with the AC blasting. Now my perspective has changed. If I see 100 degrees on the thermometer in the summer I think, “Oh, good it’s not too hot, I can get some yard work done!” When I leave for the office in December and it is 42 degrees I am considering putting on a sweater for the day.

In the same way we get acclimated to certain behaviors. What at one time we would never think of doing, now comes quite naturally to us. When I was a kid I never thought about making my bed. That is until my mother would tell me to go make my bed. Eventually it finally sunk in and one of the first things I do every morning is make my bed.

Then there are behaviors that we wish we didn’t do. They come quite naturally to us because we have been doing them for so long. The first thing we reach for in the morning is the pack of cigarettes, even though we know what it is doing to our lungs. When a driver pulls in front us on the freeway the expletives flow rather naturally, even though the grandchildren are in the back seat.

We would like to change our behavior, but it is deeply ingrained in us. Perhaps the problem is we are relying too much on our own power and not giving ourselves enough time to get acclimated to the new behavior.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ…” (II Corinthians 5:17-18)

Start relying on God and His power. Change the behavior, realize there will be setbacks, but don’t give up. Give yourself enough time to acclimate to your new reality. Pretty soon you can look back and see what God has done in your life.

Now, if you will pardon me, I am going to put on a sweater – Brrr.