“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking the complex and overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”” – Mark Twain.
What is a habit? A habit is “an established practice, tendency, or manner of behavior.” It is a behavioral pattern that is acquired through frequent repetition. We tend to be creatures of habit and we tend to underestimate the power of habits over our life… both good and bad. A habit can be harmless, or life-threatening. It can range from a facial mannerism to something as deeply ingrained as a character weakness. It can involve something as simple as using the same route to work every day, to something more serious like not being able to control our anger.
The habits that conflict with your ability to see yourself today and transform you into the person you want to be tomorrow are bad habits. In other words, they conflict with you being Christ-like, those are your bad habits. Paul writes in Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…” or in other words the habits of this world. “but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”
Almost nothing causes more regret than bad habits. We are talking about the bad habits that in retrospect, we wish we had not ever let get started. That when we look back, we wish we could go and tell our younger selves, “Don’t even start down this road because you’re going to regret it.” The reason we even start down that road is that we don’t think we will regret it. We don’t think we are causing any real harm. We might even know it’s wrong, we might know it’s even a bad idea, but we just do it anyway. The problem with bad habits is that we are dulled to the dangers they pose and the pain they inflict because we can go a long time before we see any consequences that we regret.
And that’s the devil’s strategy. He limits any real harm at the start because otherwise, nobody would ever become a slave to any bad habits. He allows us to be lulled to sleep, to become dull to the dangers, until we end up piling up regret.
The key is to make the changes necessary to become the person God wants us to be. How many times have we come to grips with a bad habit, but didn’t actually make any changes?
If we want to break some bad habits, we have to quit deceiving ourselves into thinking that just showing up or feeling guilty is God’s endgame. It’s not. It never has been. Our Heavenly Father doesn’t want us just to learn more, He wants us to obey more. God wants us to become the person He always intended us to be.
- What is a habit you would like to break? What can you do to start breaking that habit this week?
- What are some spiritual habits you would like to start?