Uphill Hopes and Downhill Habits
Recently we finished up a series called “Habits”. I had so many people come up to me and say how helpful this series was to their personal lives. Probably because… we are what we repeatedly do. We form habits, and then our habits form us.
There are some habits that are no big deal – how we walk, how we eat, the roads we take to work, etc. But then there are some habits we have that could actually be destroying our lives. We are creatures of habit, and the problem is, we have uphill hopes and downhill habits. We are hoping for a bright future, but our habits are sabotaging our dreams. We have got to get this right… What we need are uphill habits and uphill hopes.
I mentioned in the series a book that impacted my life called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. In his book he gives some helpful tips on starting and stopping habits. There is one habit we must develop if we are going to live for God, and that is the habit of a “God First Life”. We need to give God the first in everything we do…the first of our year, month, week, and day. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
I love the honesty of Paul in Romans 7:15-8:6… “For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me…For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing…For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death… Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Paul had some bad habits, but he tells us some important truths to help us. Don’t live in condemnation, just know that Christ wants you free, and He has given us tools to help us live free. The tools are developing a right mindset and putting our thoughts on a spirit-controlled life. This takes time and we can never give up trying.
In the series I give a key to stopping a bad habit.
1.) Make it difficult by removing the trigger and interrupting the action. Figure out what is triggering your bad habit and remove it or make it difficult.
I also shared in the series a couple of tips on starting a good habit.
1.) Make it easy and obvious
2.) Create an easy and obvious cue: I will ______ after I _______. You fill in the blank.
If you want more information, you can check out the message here.
In closing, I want to encourage you to ask yourself and do a self-assessment
+ Where am I out of alignment with God and life?
+ Is it my purpose, my schedule, my relationship with God, or maybe my attitude?
+ What is the one thing, that if I changed it and it got better, it would make the biggest difference in my life. (Pick one thing, and ask God to help you develop a habit to grow you.)
Here is a dangerous prayer: Psalm 39:4-5 “Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.”
Pastor Bill Kirkpatrick