I am a creature of habit. Doing things impulsively or just for the heck of it is just not my style. I just tend to like the predictable familiarity of a routine. As it is still summer holidays here in Australia, my usual routine during school time does not exist at the moment. And I find that spending time in the word requires conscious effort especially during this time for me. We all tend to have habits that either we have consciously developed or have just slipped into over time.
Have you ever had the experience of driving on a route that you are so familiar with that you seem to sometimes be driving on autopilot? But that may not be the route you intended to take that day. You realise that you were not paying attention and subconsciously your habit kicks in and you end up taking the route that you usually do but not meant to be on.
When we stop consciously paying attention to what we are doing, we may not end up where we want to be.
For a person who likes routine, schedules and such I find that it still is so easy for me to slip up in my habit of keeping God in the centre of my life. Our natural fallen state gravitates towards keeping ourselves as the centre of our own lives. The challenge for us is to stay on track in our faith Journey where Jesus is the centre of our lives and to not allow anything to distract us from that. To stay on track, it is essential to inculcate habits that help guard our heart and soul, that give us time to hear from God every day. Not a rushed hello, thank you and here is my request but a quiet surrender of our time and mental space to hear from Him and feed off from His spirit so we are replenished and recharged to face our today.
Mathew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
I love this quote by John Maxwell “You don’t decide your future, you decide your habits and your habits decide your future.”
We see the word habits appear in Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
We are instructed to not develop a habit of neglecting meeting together and worshipping God.
Habits are learned behaviours that can become powerful in leading us down a certain path. There are habits that help us and are essential in our walk with God; making it a habit to spend time with God in solitude, in silence, gathering with others for worship, spending time in His word. These habits create a space where God is our sole focus.
There is a power in building these habits. They may seem very ordinary and routine but it is in these moments of habitual routine that we create space for God to recalibrate our hearts, to attune us to his voice and will, shape us and build us up. Those moments of daily prayer, scripture reading or attending church which are usually counted as routine, God is at work transforming us. He can take that ordinary moment and make it an extraordinary one.
We may not remember all our prayer times but I am sure we have moments of daily prayer which started off as routine but God broke through and made it extraordinary. Moments where we are reading our daily scripture and God specifically speaks to us through His word and that was just what we needed to hear that day. Moments in Church that we remember with clarity where God meets us in a special and unexpected way. All these habits will seem ‘routine’ most of the time and may seem easy to fall out of, but they create for us a space to experience God extraordinarily.
Without intentionality we can end up drifting instead of moving forward towards Jesus and not becoming the person He has created and purposed us to be. So dear friends, let’s take a moment and ask ourselves “What path are our habits carrying us on and what are they shaping us into?”