Here I will discuss some things that can be very useful to you in your Christian walk, helping you to grow in grace, faith, love, obedience etc. Most of them are considered “disciplines”, but some of them may be surprising in that you may have never thought of them as habits or disciplines at all. (not necessarily in order of importance, and definitely not exhaustive)
The first habit that a Christian should consider developing is that of being “present”, especially in relation to any other religious habits. That’s because if you make a religious discipline into a habit, that by definition, is making it automatic. What God wants is relationship so we better be “present” with God when we are engaging in our Christian habits. Be present, be in the now, be truly there.
2) Be thankful.
Have you considered that being thankful could become a habit? Yes, you can learn some new ways of thinking so that it becomes almost automatic for you to give God thanks. This could be a vital habit for you since in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 it talks about being thankful and it is one of the very few scriptures that clearly spell out what the will of God is in those words.
Listening? Not praying? Technically, listening is part of the praying process, it just happens to be the most neglected and the most important. Oh, we pray all right. We talk and talk and talk. We ask and ask and ask. We beg and beg and beg. But do we listen? Especially if you are new to listening, I recommend starting to listen to God by reading Scripture with the intent to listen. Keep your listening intimately entwined with the Bible until you start to recognize His voice.
4) Meditating on God’s Word.
Meditating on God’s Word, not Eastern meditation where you make your mind blank. Not reading or studying the Word either, but meditating. Pick a short passage that seems to be speaking to you and have it revolve around in your mind and mutter it to yourself all day long. It may be useful to write out the passage on a 3 x 5 card or post-it-note to carry it with you or post on your car dashboard or send an email to yourself, whatever you need to do to keep it at the top of your mind the whole day.
Praying? Didn’t you just tell us that we need to listen? Yes, but you also need to pray (ask). I suggest that you pray over what you are reading in the Bible so that you keep on the same topic in conversation with God. After all, that’s what a real conversation is—talking and listening back and forth on the same topic at the same time.
6) Silence and solitude.
We live in such a fast paced and noisy world. We all can benefit tremendously from taking some time, even daily, for silence and solitude, especially the silence part. Turn off all that electronic stuff. No radio, no TV, no IPOD, no CD player, no cell phone, no computer. Just be.
Fasting? What, now you’re joking, right? No, not joking. Fasting humbles our soul and weakens the pull that our flesh has on us. Ask God from what you should fast, how long and how often. If you do a food fast, please clear it with your medical practitioner first.
O.K. there you have it, the top seven useful Christian habits. Please do not attempt to add in all seven at once as that usually doesn’t work and sets you up for failure. Ask God which one you should begin with and incorporate your thought awareness habit (see post on Taking Your Thoughts Captive http://www.cherylcope.com/taking-your-thoughts-captive) into helping you succeed with this new habit. Comments welcome.