How to Crack a Tough Nut

Ever since I can remember, my favorite place to visit at the zoo was the primate section. I’m also very intrigued by psychological studies involving these most clever and comical creatures. I came across a fascinating study about chimpanzees and nuts in the book “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” by James Clear. Scientists discovered something interesting about chimps: if a chimpanzee discovered a new and better strategy to crack open a nut with their fellow pack of primates—they would all keep doing the new and improved nutcracker strategy. However, if one of the chimpanzees was moved to a different pack of primates who used a less effective nut cracking strategy—that chimpanzee would revert back to the less efficient way of cracking nuts.

So what’s the lesson of the not-so curious George? Get in touch with your inner-chimpanzee. Our circle of chimps, I mean chums, matter. I think of the Apostle Paul who says in 1 Corinthians, “Do not be misled: bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)  Who do we surround ourselves with? We need friends that will build us up and value what we think is important. And of course, we need to do the same. This doesn’t mean that we’re above other people or better than them—just that we use discernment with those we open our lives up to. The Scriptures say, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV)

Our society’s turn away from organized religion and communities of faith concerns me. It is so important to have relationships with people across the generations to love, support, serve, laugh, and learn together about God and life. Church, the body of Christ, the people of God, uniquely offer this spiritual and relational need in our lives.

It’s important to choose good company because we pick up habits from those around us. The closer we are to someone, the more we imitate them. So, hang out with Jesus. Hang out with Christians. Get involved in church. Hang out with people that have the values you want. Join a culture where your desired behavior is the normal behavior—it gets modeled before your very eyes and encourages you to do what you really want to do.

Breaking a bad habit or forming a new habit can be a tough nut to crack by yourself, but with a community of faith and God’s help, you can get out of your shell and be a whole new you with others.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor John
Jots and Tittles Blog
Immanuel Presbyterian Church


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