The new year is always a great time to assess current habits and implement new ones. As we reflect on the previous year, we can evaluate what worked and what did not work.
Evaluating Our Habits to Identify Our Priorities
In his book, Do It for a Day: How to Make or Break Any Habit in 30 Days, Pastor Mark Batterson begins his introduction by stating, “Show me your habits and I’ll show you your future.” Evaluating our habits is a great way to identify our priorities. For example, we may say to others that family is a priority, but if our habitual schedules do not include time with our family, then our habits say that family is not a priority.
The beautiful truth about habits is we can eliminate bad ones and implement good ones, and this is an application of Batterson’s book. According to his research, it can take anywhere from 21 to 254 days to develop a habit, and whether it takes one month or one year, healthy habits can be developed.
Seeking God’s Wisdom for Habit Formation
Pastor and author Peter Scazzero wrote a book entitled, The Emotionally Healthy Leader. One of my biggest takeaways from this book is that faithfulness to Christ cannot be manipulated. Rather, Christlikeness is the result of spending time in the presence of God through his Word, prayer, worship, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
If we try to cut corners in our own spiritual formation, our lives will be subject to disarray. We can take Scazzero’s principle of emotionally and spiritually healthy leadership and apply it to our habits. What would spiritually healthy habits look like?
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul provides a series of exhortations in chapter five that, when implemented daily, can become a series of habits in our lives. Ephesians 5:15-21 (ESV) reads:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
If we delineate from this passage a series of spiritually healthy habits, we could glean the following:
- live wisely
- redeem the time
- discern the will of God
- be filled with the Spirit
- praise God
- give thanks
- submit to one another.
Imagine the possibilities for 2024 if you intentionally seek wisdom from God daily. Think about the worthy things you could accomplish if you tighten your schedule and prioritize things that are most important. How would your daily routine change if you discerned God’s will for every area of your life through prayer, reading his Word, and fasting? I hope you get the picture.
Changing Our Habits for God’s Glory at Work
2024 is a new year and a new opportunity for new habits. As the Apostle Paul states, we live in an evil time, and we cannot afford to allow our time, energy, and resources to go towards habits that have no eternal and redemptive value. This is especially true in our vocational settings.
If our habits do not reflect work that is done for the glory of God, something needs to change. When we receive applause at work, is it our habit to build our personal brand or is our habit to give God glory? When we go to work, do we go with a song of praise in our spirit or are we dreading the “what ifs” of the coming workday? If we are not careful, we can subconsciously develop habits that do not result in spiritually healthy lives.
Leading by Example & Following the Call
A foundation for our leadership is the example we set. If our habits are not structured, intentional, and Christlike, how can we ever expect others to be structured, intentional, and Christlike?
We must lead by example, and we begin to set a godly example when we assess our own lifestyle to identify which habits need to remain, which need to go, and which need to be added. Once we identify the habits that are needed for a Christlike lifestyle, we then prioritize our schedule to make sure there is room for those habits to thrive.
Following Christ is both a call to live and a call to die—we live for Christ, and we die to ourselves. In 2024, which habits need to live and which ones need to die? Our answers to this question will determine if we live spiritually healthy lives.
Let’s make 2024 the most spiritually healthy year of our lives by positioning ourselves in God’s presence so we can be changed by him. We cannot change ourselves, but we can change our habits so we can be better positioned to experience the love and presence of God, and as we do this, he will change us.