Beliefs or Behavior? Chicken or the egg?
Someone recently sent me a video link about a guy who spent an entire year trying to live out ALL the commands in the Bible. You can watch it if you’ve got a few minutes. Or else join me after the jump.
One interesting thing that this guy noticed was that as he changed his behavior to align with the Bible, it started to change what he believed. Typically we think it goes the other way: change your beliefs, and your behavior will follow. Just like the quote, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!” Guess what? It turns out, there’s truth in BOTH of those approaches.
Which brings me to the topic of the habits we choose. I talked with a friend this week who keeps a rug in his office so he can take time out to kneel in prayer. Have you ever tried that? I have. And when I kneel or lie face down in prayer, it affects me. It affects my attitude, my thinking, my beliefs. Which is kind of the whole point behind spiritual practices (a.k.a. spiritual disciplines). I’m reminded of one of the Screwtape letters in which the wily master tempter points out to his nephew how to succeed in their cause (Satan’s cause). Simple convince the human that what he does with his body has no impact on his soul. (If you’ve never read C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters you’ve missed something great.)
So what about you? Have you ever tried to pray on your knees, or lift your hands in submission during prayer? Or during a time of worship? Have you ever considered fasting (from certain foods, all foods, etc.) to see the impact it has on your interior life? Have you ever considered silence or solitude to see how your behavior influences your beliefs? What about giving something away to see if it cultivates generosity? Why not try something this week? Choose a habit. Let your body lead the rest of you. Let your behavior influence your beliefs. Then let me know how it goes.