Habits Good and Bad

Scripture teaches us we should love and serve the Lord with fear and trembling —- and we should. That sounds foreboding, but it is simply a reference to a reverent and healthy respect, not a reference to a nervous apprehension. It is not alarm, but awe.

Habits shape our thoughts and behavior instinctively. Really we are captive to them. Is today the day you should start breaking some old bad habits and start some good ones? You can.

Og Mandino in his book “The Greatest Salesman in the World” tells the story of a man named Hafif to whom was given some scrolls containing principles that would make him the greatest salesman in the world. Principle number one was, “I will form good habits and become their slaves.” This led him to conclude, “In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference in their habits.”

Here is where God enters the equation. You can’t do it. That is, you can’t do it in your own power. 

A good example helps, but Mark Twain observed, “Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.” What this means is it is taxing to try to imitate a good example. What we need is not imitation, but incarnation.

Jesus is a good example, actually the best example, but to try to imitate Him is impossible. It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory. Once you focus on His presence in you, then He begins to work in you. Our word “energy” comes from the Greek word often translated “works.” He actually energizes you, making it possible to break bad habits and form new ones. God uses three things to energize us.

First is the Bible. This is true if accepted as “the truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (I Thessalonians 2:13)

First you appreciate it, then you appropriate it, and next you apply it.

Second to the Bible is prayer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)

The third is undesired, but meaningful. It is suffering. Philippians 3:10 speaks of being in the “fellowship of His suffering.” That brings us back to the Bible and prayer, hence to God. Our suffering, small or great, makes us mindful of our need for God who energizes us, enabling us to break old bad habits and start new positive ones.

Do you have any habits that need breaking or new ones needing to be started? In prayer, start the process now.