June 01, 2020

Make it a Habit

Devotion for the Week...

I find reading about forming and improving habits to be strangely fascinating. One thing I find interesting in James Clear's book, Atomic Habits, is one of his suggestions to help make a new habit stick. Clear says that we must connect the new habit to our identity. "To change your behavior for good, you need to start believing new things about yourself. You need to build identity-based habits," Clear says. We do this by identifying the kind of person we want to be, rather than the outcome we want to see. So, 'I am an active person' rather than 'I want to lose 10 lbs.'

Now, just thinking 'I am an active person' is not going to make it true. It's not even going to make you believe it. What you have to do next is prove it to yourself by doing small things that move you in the direction you want to go. Using the 'active person' scenario, Clear suggests that those small things would start with buying a pedometer and then taking 50 more steps each day than the day before. Doing this would reinforce your new identity as an active person...and eventually help you lost the 10 lbs.

Did you know that God has a habit He wants His people to develop and that He even presents it to us as an identity-based habit? Peter wrote, "you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, 'You must be holy because I am holy'" (1 Peter 1:15, 16). 

Try saying to yourself, "I am a holy person." Does it feel as fake to you as it does to me? I mean, I know all the times I have messed things up and acted not-holy. But God calls us to be holy, to have that as our identity and as a habit.

To use James Clear's plan, we need to move ourselves in the direction we want to go - towards being holy. That means we need to find things we can do that prove to ourselves that we are holy. What could those things be?

There are plenty of times when we could choose to respond with the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control) rather than responding with anger, complaining, impatience, etc. If someone hurts our feelings, we can forgive them rather than holding a grudge. Most of all, we can walk with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to shape and direct our reactions and responses to life.
God calls us to be holy | DevotedQuilter.com
Background quilt is Formal Garden
All of these things will serve two purposes. First, they will allow us to prove to ourselves that we are, in fact, holy. Not because we are so wonderful, but because we are allowing the Holy Spirit to change us. Second, once being holy becomes a part of our identity and being holy has become a habit, we will find that it becomes easier to react in a holy way in any given situation.

Changing habits isn't easy, by any stretch, but it is worthwhile. Just imagine how true that is when the habit is one that God wants us to have.

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