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How habits work

Essentially because of the role habits play in spiritual growth (or spiritual degeneration), it’s important to understand what habits are, how they work, and how they’re formed.

What are habits?

A habit is a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition.

Habits, whether good or bad, are behavior or practices that have become so ingrained in us, that they are often done without conscious thought.

How habits work

If we set out to buy a meal at 3 p.m. it’s likely because we’ve developed a habit of eating a mid-afternoon meal. If someone were to ask us why we were buying a meal at that time, we’d say we were hungry. But the truth is we are simply reenacting to a pattern of behavior that has become ingrained in our daily routine.

Habits drive our behavior, which in turn forms our character. No one wakes up one day to find they’ve suddenly developed either an immoral or a godly character. It is through habits of rebellion against God that we become “slaves to sin” (habitual sinners)

and through habits of obedience you become slaves to righteousness.(habitual living in holiness)

That’s when righteousness becomes your natural response to any situation.

Romans 6:16-18 NLT

[16] Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. [17] Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. [18] Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.

Our character is shaped by the responses we make to thousands of decisions over the course of our lives. Most of the time, we respond without consciously thinking about how to act.

We tell the truth because we’ve made a habit of truth-telling. Over time we become honest and trustworthy because the habit of truth-telling has become ingrained in our character.

Such positive habits are essential to spiritual formation.

Rick Warren says The most practical and powerful way to get believers headed in the direction of spiritual maturity,” is to help them establish habits that promote spiritual growth.”

Think back over yesterday’s activities. Did you pray or read your Bible? Did you have a snack before lunch or dinner? Did you check your text messages or a social media site As soon as you woke up?

While these activities might not appear to have much in common, they all share a common feature: They are usually done out of habit.

So the big question is HOW ARE HABITS FORMED?

to be continued in the next edition.

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