This is my year…Part 3
Change isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible, either. Starting a few small habits can change how you see yourself today and transform you into the person you want to be tomorrow.
Something To Talk About:
The American philosopher, writer, and historian Will Durant once said, “You are what you repeatedly do.” Our habits are what shape our lives. They say, “You are what you eat.” The reality is, “you are your habits.” You show me someone with good habits and I’ll show you a successful person. Show me someone with bad habits and I’ll show you someone who can never quite get there. Consider these two elements:
- Make It obvious: Make the trigger for change obvious. If you wanna be someone who is reading every night before you go to bed, take your book, and put it out on the pillow at the beginning of the day. At the end of the day, there’s the trigger, it’s really, really obvious. You don’t need to say I’m going to read through the whole Bible this year. Instead, get a streak going on your YouVersion Bible app. If you do that for 27 days, you will find yourself reading a chapter. Daniel had a system, a routine that aligned his heart with God, and empowered him to do what God called him to do. Successful people do consistently what other people do occasionally. People who are close to God, but are not there by accident, have small disciplines that draw them close to God. There’s discipline, there’s a plan, there’s a mindset, and there are habits. Goals have always had another side to them. The happiness or fulfillment or contentment or joy habits should not always be deferred to the future. There’s always something else out there, it’s always in the future. Instead of setting means goals, set end goals. It is not a what, but it’s always a who.
- Make it easy: Turning your Bible reading from an “every now and then” activity into a daily habit doesn’t usually happen overnight. Research illustrates that about 40 percent of our behavior is driven by habit, and it can take upwards of two months to form a lasting habit. With this long time to push through, it’s easy to continue making excuses, instead of diving in and getting the work done. Bible reading can be time-consuming. Thankfully, with a more strategic approach, we can break it down into bite-sized pieces and personalize your experience by making it easy. Perhaps the most common misunderstanding about reading the Bible is feeling like you need to read at least 30-60 minutes per day, or more. God cares about us spending meaningful time with Him; not hours of time that may or may not be fully focused. So start small and start easy. 1 Chronicles 28:9 tells us: “…learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the LORD sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.” You don’t need to sacrifice hours of your day to ingrain a Bible-reading habit. Instead, try it for 15 minutes per day and focus on being present during that time.
- Every habit begins with a thought. Agree or disagree and why?
- What does our behavior have to do with the success of new habits?
- Is it possible to inspire others with our habits?
- What are some unhealthy habits in your life that sometimes lure your heart away from God? Entertainment, relationship, selfish desires?
- What does your daily routine look like? Are there things you do so often, you don’t remember doing them? Read Daniel 6:10. Which system did Daniel turn to? Which system do you think you would’ve turned to?
- Why do you think God cares about our small choices? How will you start small this week?
- How do you respond to making it (habits) obvious? How do you respond to making habits easy?
- Based on who you want to become, what’s one habit you want to start?
- What part of the message resonated with you? Any particular applications you took from today’s message?
Take One Thing Home with You:
“When we begin to form a habit we are conscious of it. There are times when we are conscious of becoming virtuous and patient and godly, but it is only a stage. The right thing to do with habits is to lose them in the life of the Lord until every habit is so practiced that there is no conscious habit at all. Our spiritual life continually resolves into introspection because there are some qualities we have not added as yet. Ultimately the relationship is to be a completely simple one.
Love means that there is no habit visible, you have come to the place where the habit is lost, and by practice, you do the thing unconsciously. If you are consciously holy, there are certain things you imagine you cannot do, certain relationships in which you are far from simple; that means there is something to be added. The only supernatural life is the life the Lord Jesus lived, and He was at home with God anywhere. Is there anywhere where you are not at home with God? Let God press through in that particular circumstance until you gain Him, and life becomes the simple life of a child.” – Oswald Chambers