Monday, June 23, 2014

The Good, The Bad, The Habits

Habits. We all have them. Some of us have weird habits, some gross, some hygienic.  Until we started dating, my fiancé used to bite his nails. I can't leave a room without having my cell phone on my person. He always remembers to balance his checkbook. I always put toilet paper on properly. The list could go on, our daily routines are made up of habits.

Those unconscious tendencies make up the fabric of our lives. They build us into the people that we are. We so desperately need to keep a close eye on the things that we allow to be a daily part of our lives. Some things are simply normal: brushing your teeth daily, doing the dishes after dinner. Other things can be harmful: drinking until you can't see straight, cutting yourself, gambling regularly. Still more habits can be life savers: reading your Bible daily, praying fervently, meeting with other believers. What we choose to do with our time is a vivid picture of what matters to us and what our eternities will look like.

Sure, you can be a Christian and make "bad" choices. You're only hurting yourself. Your rewards will reflect what you've invested your time in. If your time is spent loitering around and not accomplishing anything but feeding your own selfish desires, you simply won't receive the dividends that you could. Someone who actively pursues the Will of God and seeks to follow His desires will go into eternity blessed beyond belief.

The problem is, good habits are so very hard to form. It takes time and effort to remind yourself to read the Bible every day, to sacrificially give your hard earned money to further God's Kingdom. These things won't happen in a night. On the converse, bad habits are so easy to fall into. They take very little time and effort. Simply saying, "Oh, I'll just skip my Bible reading tonight" leads to skipping it the following night. Allowing yourself one night of binge drinking makes it harder to say "No" the next time you're invited out.

"It's so easy to drop off the radar from coming to your Fresh Life group, or even being here on the weekend. When you've taken that bait, you're doing that because the Enemy rushes in to condemn you. 'You can't go back.' He's trying to trick you though, because he's trying to keep you from the only thing that can help you! God's people." -Pastor Levi Lusko, Man Overboard-Six Ships Part 3

How do we form good habits and keep ourselves away from the bad ones? One of the things I like to do is write out a Post-It Note with a Bible verse relating to my particular problem, then keep it somewhere that I'm likely to see it on a regular basis. I also have close friends that I can trust to call me out when I'm doing something I shouldn't be. It's hard to face the music when you're doing something that could lead to a bad habit. When someone calls you out on your actions, it's so easy to get defensive and condone your behavior. That's the guilt talking. We love to have reasons for our misjudgment. Those reasons are usually nothing more than poorly formed excuses. Myself, I need to learn to man up and take the criticism with grace. I know that my friends love me and are only looking out for my own good. And I hope that they know the same of me. I may come off as abrasive when I call people out, but to me, it's simply tough love.

Be careful, little hands, what you do.

"Attempting to run from God's will is like fleeing from light; you just end up in darkness. It's like trading wealth for poverty or wisdom for ignorance or joy for sorrow or peace for chaos or usefulness for uselessness or fruit for leaves or reward for punishment. It's a silly exchange." -William Banks



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