NEW HABITS: How to Stick to Them!

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habits

Habits. Without them, life as you know it would be impossible. You’d need to relearn how to dress, eat, drive a car, even how to make coffee.

But poor habits harm us. Consider the habit of drinking a 12-pack of beer day in and day out. Or the habit of turning to ice cream when you feel sad or angry, then depressed because your clothes are too tight. Godly habits let us live life well. Conversely, a habit of ample rest and eating healthy foods energize you. The habit of continual prayer brings peace.

Holy Sweat of Godly Habits

The apostle Paul encouraged his young friend Timothy to discipline himself “for the purpose of godliness.” 1 Tim 4:7 The Greek word Paul uses here for discipline is where we get our word for gymnasium. Paul’s message to Timothy was that genuine growth toward godliness requires hard work and “holy sweat.”

In today’s feeling-oriented society, we too quickly compartmentalize our relationship with God as just another choice on the shelf. This is not biblical thinking.

Christianity is not about religion, rules, or rituals. It is about a relationship.

If we miss the reality of a relationship with a holy God, we miss Christianity. Paul clearly says that if we are to know the “promise for the present time and also for the life to come,” we must make our relationship with Him a priority. Right relationship requires right habits.

An all-American college soccer player once told me that he had little trouble getting “psyched” for big games but struggled with daily practices and seemingly insignificant games.

Bad Habits Come from Wrong Thinking

This wrong thinking produces wrong habits. Sometimes, when good teams do this, they lose to poor teams. The sports world calls this an “upset.” But the wrong thinking — “we can win this game easily” — and wrong actions shown through  halfhearted practices explain the loss. If a team is not disciplined in the fundamentals they won’t win consistently. It is the coach’s responsibility to incorporate drills that teach and reinforce the fundamentals and help the team win. Each team member is responsible to execute the coach’s drills diligently.

Paul’s admonition to Timothy is seen again in 2 Timothy 2:4-6 when he tells him to transfer the disciplines of the farmer, the soldier, and the athlete into the spiritual realm. Listen.

No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

In our walk with God, if we’re not faithful with the fundamentals, we cannot enjoy life as He intends.

God’s Word Reveals the Plan

Like a good coach, He has given us everything we need for “life and godliness.”

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. 2 Peter 1:3, ESV

We need to discipline ourselves in our thinking (Romans 12:2) and in our actions (John 13:17James 1:25). We need diligently grow in our faith (2 Peter 1:5-10).

God has given us the capacity of habit to be used for His glory and the good of others and ourselves. Our habits are ultimately our choice. If we don’t plan to “do Christianity,” it won’t be done!

God’s plan revealed in His Word and our diligent practice will direct habit to be a good and godly gift. The soccer player’s words were the impetus for the following tool to help remind us of key disciplines we need to develop one choice at a time DAILY.

5 Godly Habits to Practice

Here are habits to think through and DO throughout the day in God’s power. These habits accomplished in your own power amounts to behaviorism. Submit to Christ’s rule. He promises to guide you and be with you.

DIE TO SELF

Luke 9:23I Corinthians 15:31Galatians 2:20

ASK FOR WISDOM
Proverbs 2: Proverbs 3; James 1:5-8

INTIMACY WITH GOD FIRST
Deuteronomy 6: 4-9Matthew 22:37-38

LOVE OTHERS
Matthew 22:39-40John 13:35I John 2:9-11

YIELD TO GOD’S WORD & HOLY SPIRIT
Psalm 119:24133John 8:31-3217:17Ephesians 5:17-18

As you submit to Christ’s rule in your life, you will want to obey him. The Holy Spirit will work in you to produce godly habits. You need to listen to His voice and obey.

Question: What is a godly habit that God is calling you to develop?

Need Help with Habits?

If you’d like to get rid of an ungodly habit like addiction, adultery, or poor organization and want help from one of our trained, certified biblical counselors, please contact us. We offer compassionate and competent care based on God’s Word.

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