Intersection of Life and Faith

7 Toxic Attitudes to Let Go of This New Year

  • Debbie McDaniel Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
7 Toxic Attitudes to Let Go of This New Year

The New Year can bring on all kinds of new goals and resolutions to help better ourselves: eat right, exercise more, simplify, get organized, get out of debt, the list goes on and on. There’s something about a fresh calendar year that propels us to make changes, to step up and incorporate better choices for our families.

Yet often in life our greatest battles can be with our own selves; the struggle with our flesh, the battle against our own sinful nature, etc. Just because we’re believers doesn’t mean that struggle goes away. In fact, it may be even more difficult to choose what is right, to walk wisely. And you can be assured, the enemy will work hardest against those who are striving to be a light in a dark world. The apostle Paul penned it best when he wrote, “For what I want to do I do not do, and what I hate I do” (Romans 7:15).

There are certain attitudes and choices that, over time, can become toxic to our spiritual walk. They’ll lead us down wrong pathways, or cause us to drift away from God. And although we know it to be true, it seems that we just feel helpless to lay down the old nature. It’s all too easy, especially in times of pressure and stress, to pick up what we’re most familiar with. And so the cycle goes on, and our hearts become hardened.

Here’s truth: Our hope is found not in our ability, but in Christ alone. He understands our weaknesses and promises to help us. He came to set us free from the sin that we still struggle with daily. He came to renew us and give us fresh purpose. His Spirit within us will be our guide, our help, at every step along the way. We just have to follow His lead and desire more than anything, to live first for Him. Don’t let old ways hold you back any longer. Press through, live free, and choose what is better.

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    1. Apathy towards God

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    There’s no greater change we could make for any day, any year, than this one. As Christians, we must be a people of prayer. We must have hearts that are drawn toward God’s word and ask Him to give us a desire to walk with Him daily. Everything within us and all things around us will often war against this very choice. 

    Though we know in our hearts how much we need God every day, the other things that call our name feel more pressing. Make the choice every day to come to Him, even if only for a few moments. Open the Bible, pray, and keep leaning in close to Him, even if you don’t “feel” anything different right away. 

    In time, His words and truth will change your heart and mind. He promises to renew us through seasons of refreshing when we let go of our own desires and sinful nature and choose Him first (James 4:8, Acts 3:19, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). 

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    2. Pride

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    This is the very sin that led to Satan’s downfall from an angel of worship to the enemy of God. In a world that promotes “self” and “looking out for number 1,” it can seem like we’re going against the natural current of society when we choose humility over pride. And the truth is, we are. 

    We’re going against that flow so that God can be greater within us and our own need for “self” can become less. It will not be easy, and often we’re so consumed with attitudes of pride that have entrenched their ways within our lives and families, it’s hard to break free. God will often allow difficulties and struggles along the way to remind us of our weakness, but that He is greater. Laying down this attitude of pride, and it’s a daily choice, can take us to a deeper place of intimacy with God. 

    Because it’s there, that we’re reminded how much this life is not just about us, but about Him living in us, through us. Our focus on what’s most important will change (James 4:6, Galatians 6:3, Proverbs 11:2).

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    3. Worry

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    This is a difficult battle for many of us. When faced with hard situations, our natural tendency is often to react first with fear or worry, instead of being propelled by a spirit of faith. God reminds us over and over in His Word that we don’t have to fear. He tells us how attempting to carry the cares and worries of this world on our own will burden us down. 

    We can never live fully free if we’re choosing to live in a constant frenzy of worry and fear. Immersing ourselves in the truth of His word and praying first to Him instead of reacting with anxious thoughts will change us from the inside. Over time, we’ll start to recognize that the very things that once caused us great fear no longer hold the power over us, for God is able to set us free from the burdens that seek to hold us back. 

    This is not an easy road to leave fear and worry behind; it’s a daily choice, but God’s Spirit within you is greater than anything you will face in this life. It doesn’t mean we will never be tempted towards anxious thoughts, or that we won’t ever “feel afraid”—we just won’t allow it to control us anymore (Isaiah 41:10, Philippians 4:6-7, 2 Timothy 1:7).

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    4. Anger

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    Perhaps more than ever, these past few years have seen a significant divide in our nation. And anger, harsh words, ridicule, and bullying have been rampant, not only in our own relationships, but online too. There’s this huge need that often rises up within us to just “be right.” Or to let someone else know “how wrong” they are. But an attitude of anger and cruel speech does nothing to create change—it only makes the divisions greater. 

    Many times, in our own families, we’re most impatient and easily angered with those we say we love the most. Maybe it’s because we feel most comfortable in those relationships, but it never makes it right. Harsh words, putting others down to make ourselves look better, anger spewing out on all those around us, is only making us look bad. And it’s really not about the other person or people we’re even angry at; it’s about us, our own hearts. God alone has the power to break through all that hardness. 

    He can change us into people of kindness, self-control, and encouragement. It may even seem like a miracle to those around us. But we have to choose to allow Him to work in those areas. And it will be a powerful testimony of His work in our lives (James 1:19-20, Proverbs 15:1, Colossians 3:8).

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    5. Addictive Behaviors

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    We are a nation that longs to find peace and fulfillment, but often looks for it in the wrong places. Addictions are rampant in our world. They remind us we can’t be soothed by anything, even the very things we’re addicted to, because it never fully satisfies. Some have lived for too many years addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn ... the list goes on. 

    Many have tried hard to hide their addiction so that no one would know, almost as if they realize deep inside how much it has controlled their lives. Life is short —don’t waste another year stuck in that mess. Let go, however hard it might be. Cry out to God for healing, for help to live free of these things that seek to control. He promises to help you; He never leaves us on our own to work through our struggles alone. He alone can lift us out of the deepest pit we find ourselves in. 

    We’re never too far gone. We’re never too far out of God’s loving grasp. Reach out for Him, instead of reaching for that thing that has caused havoc in your life. He will set you free and will bring restoration to the years that have been lost (1 Corinthians 10:13-14, James 4:7, 1 Corinthians 6:12).

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    6. Materialism

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    In a world that places so much value on what we “have,” or gives importance to those who seem to have climbed the ladder to “success,” it’s hard to choose the life where these attitudes don’t affect your own way of thinking. God never says that money and things are bad; He says that the “love” of money is wrong, when we give our attention and adoration to other things. 

    We can be rich and materialistic and have a great love of money, or we can be broke and materialistic and have a great love of money. Either is wrong because our hearts aren’t set first on God, recognizing that He is our Provider and that all that we have is really His. May this year be a year we choose to live differently. May we be known as great givers, instead of hoarding what we have. 

    May we be known as those who understand that money and things can’t ever make us happy, but that people and our relationship with Christ is what’s most important above all. May God set us free from the hold that money and material possessions seek to have over us, and help us to be wise with all that He has provided (1 Timothy 6:10, Hebrews 13:5, 1 John 2:15-17).

     

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  • 1. Apathy towards God

    7. Unforgiveness

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    This very attitude and choice, unforgiveness, can be one of the greatest downfalls in many lives, and can lead to other wrong patterns of living. Often, it’s the inability to forgive that can cause deep anger, pride, and anxiety further down the road. 

    We falsely think we’ve conquered the person who hurt us by withholding our forgiveness, yet really what we’ve done is given them full power over us—and it becomes a vicious cycle of toxic patterns of behaviors. 

    Forgiveness may never “feel” right, but it will always “be” right. God tells us to forgive, He propels us to move forward, He reminds us that He is the One who will restore and heal, and that we all will stand before Him one day. So we can let go, and truly live free (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12-13, Mark 11:25).

     

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