As a Christian I am called to holy living but I know that my natural thought is for myself, for my wants and desires. No matter how hard I try I've found I can't bring about a lasting change in my behaviours. Maybe I am just too lazy or not disciplined but I always seem to fall back into my old ways. Part of the problem is focusing on the behaviour and not the underlying thoughts that are causing it. Paul says:
You were taught,with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds, and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness.
Then the question is how to be "made new". The fact is God has the power to transform me and he wants to. I cannot do it ourselves. When I get close to God, when I spend time with Him, read the bible and think about what I've read, listen to His voice, I am changed. Slowly my priorities are taken over by God's priorities. What I thought was important, I see is nothing and as my thoughts change so does my behaviour. As I spend time with God I start to see Him more clearly and also see myself more clearly.
"My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes"
Job 42: 5-6
For a long time I struggled with being angry and yelling at the kids. As I spent more time with Jesus and thinking about Him, I realised I was angry about heaps of things that really didn't matter and I was trying to control things that I couldn't. I'm not perfect but I don't yell anywhere near as much and it's not because of any increase in self-control but more because my thoughts have changed. God also showed me two other areas of sin in my life that I am really ashamed of but I know from experience now that He can deal with them. I am so thankful for Jesus who loves me when I am a mess and loves me enough to change me.
Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you"