I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives.” That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to live wholly devoted to God?
Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.
We are all building habits every day. Some are good, while others are detrimental to our spiritual growth and possibly destructive for our physical health as well. What time we choose to get out of bed, the food we put into our mouths, choosing whether to exercise, what we watch, what we listen to, and what we think about are habits to which we often give little thought. The things we do every day are building neural pathways in our brains which, once established, can be difficult to change. Few set out with the intention of building negative habits into their lives. Rather, we develop them through a lack of attention and intention. Good habits on the other hand, are the product of intentional living and focused attention.
Developing the habits that will lead us to a life of discipleship requires great intention and our individual attention. Disciples live lives on purpose, not allowing themselves to get distracted by the things of this world. We are Jesus and others focused. Disciples are not concerned with their own welfare, comfort, or security. They build the habits into their lives which allow them to live and react in such a way it becomes a reflex. That’s what habits do. Once established they become automatic reactions, like reflexes and muscle memory. Habits are the result of intentionally choosing a particular behavior or response repeatedly. Over time, that behavior or response becomes so natural we no longer think about it. Can you see why it’s important to make certain we are nurturing good and positive habits over negative and destructive ones?
Habits necessary for discipleship include spending focused time in prayer every day. Regularly read and study God’s Word to discover who He is, and how He desires to collaborate on your life with you. We need to develop the habit of generosity with our time, money, and attention. Jesus was all about pouring his life into others; we need to do the same. Our words should always be uplifting to others, never tearing them down (Ephesians 4:29-32). Another great habit to build is seeing the larger context in everything. Our problems are rarely so big when viewed in light of eternity and the Kingdom of God. When you build in habits like these into your life, they will allow you to end up where you want to be. Determine your habits, because they will determine your life.