When you pause to think about it, our daily lives are just a string of habits.
Some habits are conscious and intentional, others just seem to happen. A perfect example: We jump onto Facebook for “just for a minute” — and realize, with a start, that we’re still scrolling an hour later. Those sixty seconds we decided to give to Facebook easily stretched into sixty minutes because we didn’t stay intentional. (Intention, by the way, only takes us so far.)
The same lack of intentionality can hinder our developing a daily “God habit.”
If we don’t set a boundary for daily time with God (whether that’s prayer, Bible reading, listening to Christian podcasts, or other), the sun will rise and set without our giving Him a single minute of our focus. We default to a habit of no God time. There’s nothing positive about that. Oops, God, our bad.
For 50+ years, Josh McDowell Ministry has been leading seekers into a deeper knowledge of God’s truth and power. We offer you our accumulated knowledge and research to help you find truth and encouragement to live a healthy and whole life in Christ.
The Why and Reward of Habit
One of the best business books I’ve read lately, by superstar development coach Brendon Burchard, is titled High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way. I don’t think it’s a stretch to suggest that we can apply Brendon’s levels of effort — from “Dabbler” to “High Performer” — to our daily Christian walk.
The truth is that our maturity in Christ is built through habit. Christianity is not about our sitting in a church pew for a single hour each week to listen to a 20-minute sermon. It’s about the daily habits that build our life around Jesus’ teachings. The habits that allow Him to be Lord in our life.
So how do we create habits that move us from dabbler to high performer, so we’re all in for God?
Experts suggest that habits are most easily formed when we start small with an action we can easily repeat, over and over, until it becomes our norm. Something we do as automatically as, say, floss or brush our teeth. Attaching a reward to the habit helps to keep us motivated. The reward answers the “Why?” of our commitment and focus.
Does flossing my teeth make me happy? No. I actually hate flossing. But I feel happy that my smile looks great in photos. That could be my reward, but it’s not. I floss my teeth to ensure that I spend very little time in my dentist’s examination chair! That is my real reward.
High performers are steady. “Motivation,” says Jim Rohn, “is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
Do you have a reward tied to your daily God time habit? If not, this alone could be what’s holding you back. Your lack of habit could also be due to a “story” you’ve told yourself. One story could be that the Bible is boring.
Here’s an easy fix: grab a children’s Bible, one of those hefty 3-inch-thick ones that use full-color illustrations to bring the Bible’s key players and events to life. As you reread the stories, your knowledge of God’s plan and great love for you will grow. Eventually you’ll build the desire to move to an adult Bible.
Perhaps the “story” you tell yourself is that you don’t have time. Dude, life is just soooooo hectic!
Sorry, dear, but research proves that we somehow find the time for everything we want to do. So lack of time is really tied to our mindset, not our available minutes. Perhaps start your daily Bible habit by reading a single Psalm or Proverb. Or read through one of the awesome YouVersion app daily reading plans. You get to pick the topic.
>>>>> Don’t forget: Tie a reward to your investment in God time so your action becomes habit. And know that you’re not tied to a habit that won’t “stick.” You get to keep trying habits and rewards to find the ones that work for you. There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to our Christian growth.
Dr. Henry Cloud, one of the world’s leading experts on mental and relational health, asserts that our present habits determine our future self. It is our small, daily habits that create the individuals we become 10, 20, 30 years down the road. We’re compounding, just like money in an investment account.
As the musical group Steve Miller Band is famous for reminding us, “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.” Every day matters. So every moment matters. The habits that form our daily 24 hours matter.
When it comes to our Christian walk — which is all about our growing to look like Jesus — we can set those habits by asking, “Where do I need to change to be like Jesus?”
Do we want to get to the end of our days barely out of spiritual diapers? Ugh, no. What we should want is to hear our amazing Creator say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
Yeah. That. That’s the best reward I can possibly imagine.
God designed us ALL to be high performers. Grow your daily God habit, to become like Jesus. Everything else you could possibly achieve in your lifetime is second-best.
- Perhaps you don’t have a relationship with Jesus. Begin by clicking here.
- Perhaps you doubt that God really, truly loves you. Learn about His nature by clicking here.
- Perhaps you have guilt and shame that is stopping you from leaning into His love. Check out our Resolution Movement.