(An allegory from real life)
About three weeks ago, my husband and I each had to have a crown removed from a tooth in our mouths, and a new crown each was put on order. While we waited for the new (permanent) crowns to arrive, we were each given a temporary crown, which was not as good as the permanent one. It wasn’t as solid, not as hard. So, we were each cautioned against chewing anything hard or anything chewy with the temporary crown.
So, we followed the instructions we were given, and we were careful about chewing anything that might even be considered hard on our temporary crowns. Whenever we would go to eat something, we were very cognizant of the presence of this temporary crown and that we needed to treat it with care. So, for me, I moved the bulk of my chewing on to the other side of my mouth, and if I did chew on the side with the temporary crown, I did so with great care, i.e. I babied that tooth so that I would not break it and so that it would not fall out, for it was not very solid, and not glued in there that well.
Today we got our new crowns. And, I all of a sudden realized I could now eat my fruit and nut trail mix, which I had on hold for three weeks. So, I began to eat some of it, but as I began to chew, I realized that I was still favoring chewing on the other side of my mouth, and I was still babying the tooth crown, which had just been replaced. I then had an “Aha” moment. I realized that in 3 weeks’ time, I had developed a new habit, which was not like the old habit, and that, even though I had a new crown, a much more solid one, I was still chewing as though I had the temporary crown in place.
What I realized in that moment is how quickly I had formed a new habit, so much so that, even though I now have my permanent crown, I automatically did what I had been doing the past 3 weeks, without thought. I also thought about the factors involved in developing this new habit, i.e. what solidified it so that it was now my practice in place of what I had been doing before. I realized there were two main factors present:
1) I was given specific instructions by a medical professional whose business it was to get me that new crown, and who knew what might happen if I did chew something hard or sticky. So, from her expertise, she instructed me in the right way to go to avoid a broken crown. And, thus, I followed those instructions, and I did what she said to do.
2) I was very aware that the crown I had was temporary and that if I did not follow the instructions, that there was the possibility that I might break the crown or that it might fall out and expose the nerve and that I might be in pain or that I might have to go get it fixed, and also that this was over several holidays, so there might not be someone to fix it.
So, from this real life parable (allegory), I learned several things:
I realized how easy it was for us to break an old habit and to develop a new habit so much so that the new habit was fully solidified, i.e. firmly fixed, and had become the new norm; the new way of doing things. It took 3 weeks (or less) for me to change my old chewing patterns to new chewing patterns.
The word “crown” is another word for “head” which is another word for “mind.” So, this allegory is really a parable about how to renew our minds so that our minds don’t think the way they once did, but so they will now think a different way. So many people struggle forever with their minds giving into sinful thoughts which often results in destructive patterns of behavior, but if they followed the two-step process, mentioned above, and they obeyed God, and heeded wise counsel, and if they took seriously the consequences of their wrong choices, and didn’t do what they had been doing, but they did the opposite, soon their minds would be renewed and the old would be gone.
When I got the new crown (the new mind), the solid one, the one securely glued (firmly fixed in place, which was solidified) is when I recognized that I now had developed a new way of doing things that was not like the old way I had been doing things. The old was gone. The new had come.
And, this is because I believed the one who gave me the instructions, I took the instructions I was given seriously, I obeyed them, and because I was cognizant (aware) always of the weakness of my temporary crown (mind), and of the possible consequences if I did not follow the instructions. So, I took those possible consequences seriously, too. And, that was a huge motivation in me getting rid of the old habit and forming a new one. And, this works with sinful habits, too, if we will put this into practice.
On a flip side of this coin, so to speak, I saw the new crown as my new relationship with the Lord, i.e. like when someone first comes to faith in Jesus Christ. We are given new minds in Christ, but we still have some old habits that we have formed when our minds were weak, and that need to be changed. Immediately, as soon as I began to chew with the new crown (new mind), I was made aware of this habit I had formed when I had the weaker crown (mind), and so I immediately adjusted and moved my chewing back to where it is now more evenly distributed, i.e. the way it should be.
In other words, one of the biggest factors in the renewing of our minds, and in getting rid of sinful habits, besides the two numbered above, is that, when prompted by the Holy Spirit, and we realize that we are reacting or thinking the old way, we need to immediately put that off, and we need to adjust or conform to the new mind (crown), which is truly the mind of Christ (crown).
If we, after we are prompted, continue to keep going the old way, then we have quenched the Spirit, disobeyed our Lord, chosen the old way of the flesh, instead of the new way of the Spirit, and we are going to, thus, have consequences from that disobedience which may cost us our marriages, reputations, jobs, health, and/or our lives, and the list goes on and on.
Husbands (or wives), if you are in the habit of sinning against your spouse, particularly via sexual addiction, pornography, masturbation, romantic flings, extra-marital affairs, and lusting after others, all of which are adultery against your spouse, and if you are in the habit, thus, of lying about it, covering it up, justifying your sin, rationalizing your behavior, and then attacking your spouse when confronted with your sin, then you need to treat your spouse with the care with which I treated that temporary crown.
You need to be gentle, careful, showing her (or him) much care and concern, treating her (or him) with tenderness and mercy, out of great concern of the consequences of not doing so, and out of concern that if you don’t that you could break her (or his) heart, by ripping it out and stomping on it, and thus break your marriage or have it fall out altogether. You need to obey God’s instructions for how you are to love and treat your spouse, so that this will not take place. You need to be diligent in breaking those old habits and to developing new (godly, pure) ones, if you want to save your marriage.
Know this! If you, after having received the knowledge of the truth, continue on in treating God and your spouse with such dishonor, disrespect, and disdain, and if you continue to stomp on her or his heart, because of your selfish pride, and if you refuse to obey the commands of God, and you ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit, and you don’t care about the consequences, the message you are sending to both God and to your spouse is that you do not love them, you don’t honor them, and you don’t care what you do to your relationship with either one of them.
Yet, the Bible teaches that when we believe in Jesus Christ, we die with Christ to sin, and we are raised with Christ to newness of life, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). According to scripture, this should result now in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and us walking no longer according to our sinful flesh, but according to the Spirit. It should also result in us obeying our Lord’s commands.
Yet, if we do not obey him, and if we continue to walk (in addiction; in practice; in lifestyle) in sin, the Bible says we don’t know God, we don’t love God, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God. Please take this seriously! For, your marriage and/or your eternity depend on it!
[See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 14:15, 21, 23-24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; 1 Jn. 5:2-3; Gal. 5:19-21.]
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.