The secret to correcting bad behaviour and becoming better is to replace the bad and negative with what is good and positive in our lives. In this post we look at 3 changes that are necessary to become a better person.
In real life however, becoming a better person may require more than someone’s love, although that can be an important motivator.
In real life we tend to repeat losing behaviour over and over again, and end up trapped in negative circumstances created by our reoccurring bad decisions. In real life the secret to correcting bad behaviour and becoming better is to replace the key elements to the bad behaviour with good and positive things in our lives.
Jesus explains this principle in Luke 11 (NLT)
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”
In this short passage, the Lord explains that it isn’t enough to get rid of bad habits, bad thoughts, evil intentions; you have to replace them with good and positive things. If you don’t, He says, you will eventually become worse than you were, not better.
Three Changes in Becoming a Better Person
1. Change Your Environments
There are some places that you simply have to stop going to if you want to become a better person. Some of those places are physical. You know which places have the greatest temptation for you, and you have to NOT go there.
Solomon, in the book of Proverbs, talks a lot about playgrounds to avoid:
Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman. Proverbs 2:16 (NLT)
The Lord curses the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the upright. Proverbs 3:33 (NLT)
Stay away from every kind of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:22 (NLT)
We can’t become better people without changing the places where our moral and spiritual failures are most likely to occur.
To correct losing behaviour and become better people we have to exchange these with places to go that will help us to be better. David, the second king of Israel, said,
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else!
Psalm 84:10 (NLT)
You have to aggressively seek places that will provide the best opportunity for self-improvement.
For example, improving your environment at home by removing those things that might bring you down. Being at worship and Bible study regularly so that your life and lifestyle are anchored by the experience in this place and its influence. Looking for opportunities where you can be of service will definitely cause personal growth and improvement.
Ask yourself, “will Jesus be in this place? Will He bless me for being here?” These questions will help you decide where you should go, and which places to avoid.
2. Change Your Entourage
Few choices in life are as crucial to our well-being and success as the choice of people we have as friends and associates. The Bible is quite clear on this subject when it warns,
Don’t be fooled by those who say such things, for “bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NLT)
The scriptures also provide numerous examples of men and women being led astray by the influence of others:
- Lot’s family was influenced by the inhabitants of Sodom, leading to sin and destruction. Genesis 19
- Aaron listened to the unfaithful among the people and was led into idolatry by making a golden calf. Exodus 32:1-4
- Solomon’s wisdom could not protect him from the influence of pagan wives.
- Even Peter the Apostle was pressured by the Judaizers to compromise the gospel for a time. Galatians 2:11-16
We are easily molded by the character of our friends and business associates. We can always tell what someone is up to by examining the friends they hang around with. The old saying is so very true, “birds of a feather flock together.” If you want to be a better person, then you need to associate with people who can help you be a better person.
One friend is enough. But it needs to be one, who is better, and can encourage and stimulate you to becoming better.
*In school they choose the best students to tutor the weaker ones.
*In the military they select the most experienced and disciplined soldiers to train the recruits.
*In sports the veterans always mentor the rookies.
In life we must also seek out those who have proven and demonstrated their success (usually in the areas of our failures) and cultivate friendships and associations with these people.
Our problem is that we usually find it easier to maintain friendships with those who share our weaknesses and who will not challenge us to do better. It’s comforting to know that our friends won’t judge or try to change themselves or us so that everyone can continue to enjoy their sins without guilt.
Solomon says, As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
To become a better person we need to replace the bad influences around us with good ones – even if it scares us a little. In order to have an improved character we sometimes need to experience the pain of having the old one stripped away in the fires of a challenging friendship.
3. Change Your Entertainment
Recreation is meant to be a blessing when it is virtuous, balanced and controlled. For many today however, recreation is immoral, obsessive and out of control. So much of what we view under the guise of entertainment degrades or diminishes us as human beings.
Jesus reminds us,
Your eye is the lamp of the body, when your eyes are good, your whole body is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. – Luke 11:34-35
Our “playthings,” be they TV / Movies / music / games / activities must not be the cause of us being less than what we’ve been called to be as Christians, and that is the holy children of God. Sometimes our “playthings” are not bad in and of themselves but we allow them to take over our lives to such a point that we neglect the important things in our lives like caring for our families, worship and fellowship with the saints, as well as service and work in the name of the Lord. For example, if your eye only sees your playthings, your games, your recreation to the point where you no longer see your Lord, your brethren and your ministry, then you are indeed filled with darkness.
Becoming a better person requires us to exchange the things that only give us pleasure with things that bring God pleasure. Things such as:
- Activities that edify us in Jesus Christ
- Activities that build up the kingdom of God
- Activities that honor God and others
This doesn’t mean eliminating all forms of recreation, just those things that hold us back from growing in wisdom and stature in the Lord. Paul says,
When I was a child, I used to speak as a child, think as a child, reason as a child, when I became a man, I did away with childish things. – I Corinthians 13:11
If you want to be a better person you have to exchange the toys of childhood for the tools of adulthood that God provides to better your life and the lives of others.