Saturday, October 20, 2012

HABITS: CHARACTERISTIC TO BEING A DISCIPLE OF JESUS CHRIST

Good ones are hard to form. Bad ones are hard to break. As Christians we find that our habits are in conflict because we are still slave to ones formed so long ago. Habits in conflict are a detriment to our testimony of Jesus Christ. Lord help me!

There are certain words in the Bible which lend to the idea of that there are disciplines characteristic to being a Christian. Here's a list of words for your consideration: custom, customary, tradition[s], practice[s], continue, continually, behavior, conversation of life, pattern, repeat, repetition, daily, day and night, morning, noon, and night.

Paul's custom was to first preach in the synagogues before turning to the Gentiles. Jesus blasted the Jewish leaders for their traditions that nullified the Word of God. But Paul reminded the Christians that we should follow the traditions of God that are rooted in the Gospel, 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess 2:15. The disciple of Jesus Christ "denies himself and takes up his cross daily", Lk 9:23.

Someone said that a habit is "a grooved pattern of behavior." Someone else called it a "brain groove". One blogger wrote on the topic of forming habits: 

  • How do you become a great writer? You write, and write, and write, and write. Even when you don’t want to.
  • How do you become a great violinist? You practice, and practice, and practice, and practice. Even when you don’t want to.
  • How do you stop smoking? You don’t smoke, and you don’t smoke, and you don’t smoke, and you don’t smoke. Even when you want to. - Janet Mitchell
Habits of our parents. Without habits, we are having to relearn everything all over again. Good parents "train up" their children in the way they should go - read, good habits - and when they are old they won't depart from them. A man told me that his father and his siblings could never be heard saying a curse word. All of their life they never uttered a foul word due to the influence of their mother. Parents play an important role in establishing good behaviors or habits in their children. We can learn good and bad from the habits of our parents. As children of God, disciples of Jesus Christ must be ones who conform to specific Christian disciplines or habits. Truthfulness. Faithfulness. Holiness. Unfortunately, even disciples of Christ often have habits they desperately wish they could break.

God created our brains to develop habits. We need to keep attention on the habits we would like to change or develop. Without habits, there's no regimen to our life. In Covey's "7 Habits", one of them is "put first things first". I remember reading about a well-known motivational speaker who was paid a great sum of money by Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel for giving the simple advice that he start each day setting out to accomplish first things first. He made a list of the four most important things to accomplish each day. He made it his habit to do those four things first. Sometimes the list was modified but Schwab found the advice of incalculable value. Imagine if our habit was to always do "first things first" each and every day. I doubt that there's any Christian who would deny that there are certain habits or traits that are characteristic to a daily walk with God.

Prayer & meditation;
Bible study;
Service and Encouragement to others;
Confessing Jesus and being God's witness (as only God's children can be, Isa 43:7,10,12)

Challenge: choose one habit you want to break or one you want to make part of your Christian walk. Make it an easy one or really challenge yourself and make it a hard one. But choose one habit and pray to God about it. Seek His strength in the matter since "self-control" is the fruit of the Spirit. Visit this matter on a daily matter and check it off on a calendar that you keep visible. Do it for 30 or 40 days. God bless you!  - Dan Mayfield

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