“You have heard my predictions and seen them fulfilled, but you refuse to admit it. Now I will tell you new things, secrets you have not yet heard.” – Isaiah 48:6.
Habits affect us in one way or another. We all have them, some good, some bad. Giving up a bad habit is not easy. According to research, it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. In just three weeks, you can change those things in life that have become routine and compulsive.
The reality is it’s often more challenging to give up an old habit than to start a new one. Neurologists and cognitive psychologists will tell you it is not easy to give up habits because they are deeply ingrained in our brains: automatic responses that we’ve developed over time. Habits are complex and affected by our genes, temperaments, experiences, family and friends, churches, cultures, health, preferences, strengths and weaknesses, unseen spiritual influences, and more.
For every bad habit that distances you from God, Jesus wants to give you a new habit to draw you near to Him. The goal is to stay connected with God and strengthen your relationship with Him. The habits that conflict with your desired identity, or in other words they conflict with you being Christ-like, are your bad habits. On the other hand, the habits that reinforce your desired identity or help you become more like Christ, are your good habits.
Now, our habits define us; in other words, we become what we repeatedly do. Jesus developed habits in His life. Luke 5:16 says, “ But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Prayer was a habit for Jesus. Luke 4:16 it says, “When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures.” Or, in other words, as was His habitual practice. So, prayer and going to church were both habits for Jesus.
And we all know it’s important to create good exercise routines or habits. Paul says in 1 Tim. 4:7-8, “Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” So, how do you train yourself for godliness? By daily deciding to practice righteousness and develop good habits.
We’ve all been given a race of faith to run. And if we run faithfully with endurance, laying aside every encumbering weight and sin, we are promised a glorious, incomparable, imperishable, eternal prize: Jesus Christ. Paul tells us, “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
So, we take our habits seriously. Because they influence the way we run — for good or for evil.
- Do you ever feel like you want to break your habit but can’t convince yourself that you need to break the habit?
- Think of the last time you broke a habit. What worked? What didn’t work?