I'm seeing more and more that behavior is more a function of who I am as a person as opposed to incentives and restrictions. Oftentimes I try to alter our habits and patterns by way of rewards and punishments, but they never seem to work. If I don't desire something from my heart, I usually don't end up doing it.
I realize that what I want is often messed up. I mean, I want a lot of things, things that are often conflicting. The intellect helps figure out what's objectively good, but the heart decides what gets done regardless.
The struggle then isn't merely about controlling the environment. It's about becoming a new person, one who desires different things. I suppose that this is what it means to be born again.
The Bible talks about putting on the new self. It's a confusing and arduous process to know what this means. Though it seems simple in principle, it feels incredibly difficult because there are deep layers of complexity in my heart that are yet unseen. Ultimately, what I need isn't just instruction but power. Power that doesn't come from the will of man but from God himself. The hope is that God gives us promises in his word that the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is at work in those who believe. And as I believe in Jesus, I hope in his power at work in me to do what he promised. Such a hope is what will move me forward. So may I set my eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of my faith and wait for he who fights for me.