Most of life is on autopilot. Your life is largely about habits you have made. We don’t make decisions about most of the things we do. We develop a habit, and the habit determines our life. As the old saying goes, “Choose your rut carefully; you are going to be in it for the next 25 miles.” Choose your habits carefully; they are going to determine the quality of your life. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Your marriage is mostly about habits. Ever watch the show King of Queens? Here is a couple that has gotten in the habit of picking at each other. They complain and they argue and fight and they pick— all out of habit. Do you want a marriage like that?
They don’t get up each day and say to themselves, “I think I’m going to pick a fight today.” They certainly don’t say to themselves, “I think I’d rather have a miserable marriage rather than a happy marriage. To reach that goal, I think I’ll complain and argue and criticize all day long.”
They have actually done research on this. You can complain some. You can criticize some. You can correct some. However, the number of complements and praises and ‘attaboys’ need to outnumber the criticisms by a factor of about five to one. If they don’t, your marriage is headed to the toilet.
Your health is largely about habits. You are in the habit of exercising or not, eating too much or not, and resting too much or not. If you are in the habit of eating a big bowl of ice cream every night and you don’t exercise, you are probably overweight. You are a little depressed about the way you look. You don’t have a lot of energy. All this is because of the habits you have formed.
You don’t get up and make choices about these things every day. You don’t think about whether or not you’re going to exercise. Your habit determines your behavior. You don’t get up and think about whether you eat more calories than you consume or not. You just do what the habit dictates.
Your money is where it is because of habits you have made. Money is an area where it is especially easy to make habits.
We are in the habit of setting aside a certain amount of money every Thursday. We have instructed our bank that every Thursday we want a certain amount transferred from our checking account into a savings account. This makes saving automatic. We don’t have to think about it. We don’t have to stress about it. We don’t have to decide each week to do it. It is just a habit.
About half of Americans are in the habit of spending more money than they make. They don’t make the conscious choice to go a little further in debt each year, it is just a habit. Do this for a few years and you will discover that before long you are in a pretty deep hole. One more.
Your walk with God is largely about habits. The book of Hebrews speaks of people who don’t go to church much. The writer of Hebrews says that we are not to neglect meeting together, “as is the habit of some.” Neglecting to meet together is simply habit, as are many of our spiritual disciplines. We either get into the habit of reading our Bibles every day, or I’ll bet you didn’t read your Bible this morning. You probably never even thought about it. If you did read your Bible this morning, you probably didn’t think too much about that either. It is just a habit. A habit that will either draw you closer to God, or push you further and further away.
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