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Breaking Bad Habits

By Don Loftis | 01.26.11

The dictionary defines a habit as, “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” We certainly are creatures of habit. As individuals, we tend to shop at the same stores, drive the same routes, eat the same foods, and repeat the same mistakes. As families, we assume certain roles and perpetuate the same expectations of others. Even churches develop habits related to assembly times, worship orders, and even ministries. When questioned, we respond, “Well, that’s just the way we do it.”
Both golfers and baseball pitchers repeat the mechanics of their drive or delivery in order to develop “muscle memory.” They want the habit to be so ingrained and so natural that they never have to think about it. Maybe that is why it is so difficult for us to change our habits — they are deeply ingrained.

It would seem to me that there are two critical issues involved in ending a bad habit or in establishing a good one. First, there has to be awareness. Since habit puts our minds to sleep, we must awaken to the danger of smoking, the rudeness of profanity, and the pain of parental or spousal neglect. We must see the habit for what it is. Secondly, we must take action. There has to be a plan and a first step to interrupt the habit. This may be a small step, but it has to be taken.

The only time the word habit is used in the New Testament is the warning in Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some…” We need to be aware of our attendance patterns and evaluate that in light of what the Lord expects. Then, if necessary, we must change our routine so that we are present regularly at all worship and study opportunities.


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