Well here we are, mid-February, about the time most have forgotten about resolutions and goals for the year. I am really good at starting things but it’s the finishing I tend to get a bit side-tracked on.
Several years ago I stopped making resolutions and began prayerfully choosing grace habits that I could cultivate. I wanted to weave rhythms into my day that would later become a part of my life. I knew habit forming was the way to do it, but it had to be grace-filled.
As a rebel at heart, I knew I needed built-in grace on myself for those “off track” days in order to nurture true habits rather than checklist resolutions with no sticking power. I had to choose habits that mattered most to me and I had to keep it simple.
Whatever is our daily habit will become our monthly routines and those will become the fruit of our year over time. So it begins with what do you want to bear fruit in a year from now?
God’s Word urges believers to bear much fruit to the glory of God. So if I want to look like Jesus, bearing the fruit of the Spirit in my life, I have to begin by mimicking the habits Jesus tended into His own day.
First of all, Jesus rose early to pray. It was His habit to do so according to Luke 5:16. This meant that it mattered more to Him to spend time talking to the Father than it did to sleep. He slipped out to a solitary place to commune with the Father because He knew it mattered. Do we?
It can be far too easy for me to just roll back over under the warm covers than to crawl out of bed and spend time in extended prayer. But over the years of forming the habit, I have been so blessed when I have made the time to meet with Him, that now I crave it. Habits have a way of getting easier with use.
Secondly, Jesus was the Word made flesh, according to John 1:14 but His ability to have it on His tongue when it was needed is an example to us to spend time in the Word. When we nurture the habit of time in the Word, reading and studying, we begin to build up a storehouse of truth in our soul. Later then the Holy Spirit, our Reminder, will bring to mind the truth we need in the moment we need it. But we must first store it away by faith.
Finally, the Word of God strongly urges us to renew our mind in Romans 12:1-2. We are saturated in the culture and the lies that bombard us continually. What if we took God at His Word and let it transform our thinking? This requires dying to our comfort, laziness and excuses.
Memorizing is not easy, yet we do it all the time. We easily memorize the twaddle our mind wants to chew on, the comforts and nonsense that don’t matter. But then we make excuses for the exercise of memorizing when it does matter.
Cultivating the habit of Scripture memorization takes prayer, determination and repetition. We must start by praying and asking God to help us. Not just when we begin memorizing but every single time we attempt working on it. It requires a determined spirit and a bit of a desperation, at least on my part.
If I am exhausted of my own lies and my own inner thoughts and I get desperate enough for a change of mind, then I will have the determination to reframe my thinking on truth.
Then we have to repeat and repeat and repeat the verse we are memorizing more often than we turn our phone on. What if the verse were to be on our home screen and we made ourself say it 3 times before we could go into the phone every time? How quickly might we have that truth tattooed on our hearts?
The grace-filled, spiritual habits of prayer, time in the Word and renewing our mind are the practices that are tended into the good soil of our souls that later bear fruit much fruit. We must be willing and desiring of good fruit in order to begin the hard work of cultivating daily rhythms that bear life giving fruit.
These wicked hearts and wandering minds will fight us. The enemy who hates you will come against you. But the God who is in us is far greater and quite able to meet us with the grace you and I need to bear much fruit for His glory.
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