August 07, 2017

Sticking with It

Devotion for the Week...

I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before, which has the subtitle Mastering the Habits of our Everyday Lives. I found the analysis of habit formation strategies really interesting, and I was especially interested in how some habits (like brushing our teeth) become second nature and we never really have to decide to do it again. We just brush our teeth without thinking about it. Other habits, though, we have to constantly stay on top of or we will talk ourselves out of them (like exercising).

Even the things we really want to do can sometimes be subject to our lazy nature. We can always find excuses for not doing the things we want to do, whether that's a hobby or eating healthy or working out, and usually those excuses center around something like, "I've been doing so well, I deserve a break." Or maybe it's "Just this once, then I'll get right back to it." Can you relate? I know I'm guilty of telling myself both of those, and then the habit I'm trying to maintain slips and becomes harder to get back to.

In Galatians, Paul wrote, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9). And in Ephesians, he wrote, "For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10). If you put the two verses together, it sounds to me like we should always be doing good works of some sort, and that there's the chance we will get tired of doing them because we aren't always going to see the results right away.

That's kind of like keeping a habit, isn't it? Eating healthy is something we know we should do, and maybe we even want to do it, but it's not always easy. Sometimes we just don't see the results of the good we're doing and that makes it hard to stick with it when we're tempted by treats. Likewise, being kind to that person who is always negative or rude isn't always easy, and it can be hard to stick with it when nothing ever seems to change.

But God promises us that we will reap a harvest if we don't give up. We may not know what exactly that harvest will be, or when it will come, but we can be sure it will happen if we stick with the habit of doing good. And we can be sure it won't happen if we get weary and give up.

For each of us, the habit of doing good will look slightly different because our lives and circumstances are different. Some of us are in the habit of helping people who are sick or shut in. Others are in the habit of praying for their community or their pastors or coworkers. Others are good at listening to everyone. Others are encouragers and still others seem to have an endless supply of patience and kindness for even the most difficult people.

While our habits of doing good will be different, we all have the same promise from God. Someday, in some way, a harvest will come from our faithfulness to keeping that habit of doing good. That means we need to be constantly on guard against the temptation to blow off the habit for a day, or a week, or even forever.
Weekly devotions on Christian living |

Sticking with the habit of doing good won't always be easy, but God promises it will be worth it.

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