Making Habits


The habit of "soul breathing" is a helpful reminder to exhale our anxieties and inhale the peace God.

Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Habits can be good or bad, helpful or harmful, life-giving or draining. A significant part of our day is often defined by our predictable behaviors. So, what is a habit? It is a routine or ritual that is second nature to us. We do it because we’ve always done it. A habit is a behavior we experience in a regular and repetitious way. Eating and sleeping are habits. Exercise, reading, watching television, shopping, attending church, a weekly call to mom,  flossing, washing our hands, taking a shower, prayer and smoking are all habits. Some are better than others.

Changing habits is easier if they are replaced with a better alternative. For example, eating unhealthy snacks is a harmful habit that can be changed. So we may replace chips and salsa with carrots and hummus. Maybe our speech needs to default to a more positive approach as we relate to people. Pointing out the negatives is substituted by affirming their positive character traits and potential. We form the habit of speaking words of encouragement. Start in small increments  to forming a daily habit: walk 20 minutes, write 15 minutes, read 10 minutes, pray 5 minutes.

“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also busybodies who talk nonsense, saying things they ought not to” (1 Timothy 5:13).

What about developing habits in our relationship with our heavenly Father? How can we create a routine engagement with a community of other Christ followers? The habit of "soul breathing" is a helpful reminder to exhale our anxieties and inhale the peace God. Over time this spiritual cleansing process becomes unconscious. Our behavior and emotions grow accustomed to the calming presence of a soul at rest. We exhale selfishness and inhale the selfless love of Jesus. Soul breathing keeps us spiritually in shape. It is a moment by moment habit of being with God. 

Moreover, regular church attendance and volunteer service are healthy habits. Start by attending weekly worship services, help once a month as a greeter, or rock babies in the nursery. Your business experience can be applied to quarterly stewardship meetings or a strategic planning team. Make it a habit to support your pastor in prayer and generous giving. Some of you are gifted hostesses who can open your home for a simple meal to a small group who also enjoys applying God’s word. Habits created in the power of the Spirit make your life significant. 

“But encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, replace my unhealthy habits with Your healthy habits. 

Related Readings: Job 1:5; Acts 2:42, 10:2, 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2

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