What do you do when you first get out of bed?
Straight to the bathroom to brush your teeth, check the messages on your phone, or meditate on the Word of God? These things we do subconsciously in our daily lives are habits. Habits, if we repeat them daily, are beneficial for our lives, helping with time management and teaching us to discipline ourselves to do the things necessary in a routine.
But habits can be just as bad as good. Once we do a sin, we’re stuck in this cycle of repeating the same sin again, continuously seeking happiness yet never filling up our bottomless pit. So how can we escape these habits that are holding us back from God, and how do we make habits that turn us on to the right path?
What’s holding us back?
If you’re stuck in an enclosed space with a lion, of course, the first thing you’d want to do is try and get out before becoming its food. But imagine if you didn’t know the lion was there. If you couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, and couldn’t smell. What if you thought you were roaming around freely, not knowing the danger behind your back?
That’s the problem with sin. We are blinded by the danger of sin because of our desire to fulfil our happiness with worldly things.
How could putting off our homework for another few minutes hurt us? But in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul provokes the people of Corinth and us, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God”. Repeating our sins without willing to break out of the habit will surely further us away from the Kingdom of God.
How do we break free?
Sometimes, it feels as though happiness can only come about from worldly things, such as good grades, being rich, or being successful. We fail to believe that seeking God is what will bring us true joy. To break free. We need to deny ourselves, our wants, and take up the cross to follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). Yes, we may be taking on a life full of hardships and obstacles that will make us want to turn back to the comfort of sin, but following His path means we become His children, and we experience true happiness, delight and joy. As it is written, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart”. (Psalm 37:4).
But this is easier said than done.
Creating new habits
Now, we’ve escaped the lion’s den. We’re safe, we’re free! But we look back and- oh, our greatest desire has appeared in the cage. It’s tempting to go there, especially because, where do we go now? Happiness seems to have blinded the lion from our sights, but going back in would mean this whole cycle of sin circling back to the beginning.
To make sure we head out of the cage, without looking back, we need to create a habit:
- Of praying to God
We can go nowhere with our own strength, because we would eventually fall back to our sinful doings. We need to have a willingness to not only get out of our sins, but to also walk towards God. Simply praying to God for forgiveness, or for the purpose of being successful in something, will result in us taking steps back away from God. We have to have the willingness to serve God, to share the good news that the Kingdom of God can be brought about on earth. When we pray to God, we have to ask for the ability to do these things because striving just through our will or desires will not build the strength in ourselves to do these things.
- Of reading God’s Word
Before we can start sharing the Gospel to others, we ourselves must have the knowledge of it too. Sure, we can describe what being a Christian is like, but reading the Bible is how we can connect His words to our experiences. We can learn how our successes, our struggles, and all the hardships and obstacles in life, are all part of his plan. The Bible contains many things we cannot learn anywhere else. Written by our all-knowing Creator, it should be obvious that the place we would find advice, what’s wrong and right, and how we should live our lives would be right where he revealed it - in the Bible.