Becoming so heavenly minded that we are of some earthly good.

Is the Gospel Behavior Modification?

No. There are lots of great programs out there (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous) that help you change your behavior. I don’t know many Believers who would claim that the Gospel is behavior modification. It’s not about trying to get us to just act a certain way. It’s the story about someone else, Jesus, who did everything for us so that we could become sons and daughters of God.

Does our behavior change?

Of course it does. When someone is born again they act different. When someone just starts “going to church” they might try to act different to fit in with the new church culture but just “going to church” will not change you on the inside.

I know this stuff is fundamental. But personally, I love the basic principles of Christ. In a complex world like ours, it’s refreshing for me to meditate on simple truths like this.

What we need is to have our hearts changed. We need to be awakened in our spirits. Yes, our minds need renewing but more than learning how to think “right thoughts” (which there’s nothing wrong with) we need to learn how to walk and live as new creations. The Word instructs (Col. 3:9-10) us to put off the old man and to put on the new man.

I believe one of the greatest miracles of the Gospel is that we become new creations (not that we can think positive thoughts). We do not just become better versions of our old self. We don’t get an extreme heart makeover. No, we get a new heart. And that part (spirit) of us that was dead becomes alive.

I don’t know about you but this is far better news to me than any behavior modification.

What do you think about this? Feel free to leave a comment below.

About Josh Monen

Josh is a Christian, entrepreneur and writer from Ridgefield, WA. He's married with three kids: ages 4, 2 and 1. Before he met God, Josh was a drug addict with a $500/day cocaine addiction that almost killed him. Today he's seeking a real authentic relationship with God and others.


  1. Dave

    Churches use behavior modification to reward followers for attending. They play music, build beautiful buildings, and fill them with paintings, stained glass, and statues. If they put thumbtacks on the kneelers, do you think they would have so many worshipers?

    • Joshua Monen

      Hi Reward and Consent. Interesting perspective. So you believe people will change how they live if they are allowed to listen to music, look at beautiful interiors and have comfortable flooring? I’m not sure I follow your logic here. Maybe you can elaborate. Not trying to cut you down I just don’t know many people who would be willing to change their behavior based on those things. If you’re willing to, please share more.

  2. Laurel

    I really needed this post today. My daughter intends to study to become a licensed clinical counselor and to work in a ministry among sexually exploited individuals. A colleague of mine called the idea of counselors working also as ministers “creepy” and exploitative in its own right.

    I find it shocking that the world passes by the needs of the brokenhearted while scoffing at Christians who want to use therapeutic methods along with the power of the Gospel to rescue those with no other hope.

    • Josh Monen

      Hi Laurel, I don’t understand why someone would think that counselors who also work as ministers are creepy. But I do know that it’s easier to sit on the sidelines and criticize people who are actually doing the work than it is to do the work. Sometimes you just have to continue building the wall like Nehemiah and ignore the critics who want you to come down to argue.

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