February 2 - 8, 2009

 SOLI/Update

    archive.stewardshipoflife.org

 

A Habit of Devotion? It's Up to You
 
While embracing my New Year’s Resolution to keep up with the daily readings so I could “Read the Bible In One Year,” I noticed a very strange phenomenon. Maybe you will identify with my plight.

While I occasionally found myself “too busy” to spare the 15 minutes it takes to read the assigned Scripture passages, I almost always find time every day to do several of the following: Read through the “Opinion” section of The Washington Post and/or The New York Times online; watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart; go on Ebay in search of bargains; play computer solitaire; fiddle with the music on my iPod; Google old friends — you get the idea.

What happened? I found myself making the same habitual choices I had always made, rather than choosing to keep on top of my daily Bible reading.

“Finding” the time to read the Bible would mean simply making it a priority over all these other enjoyable but less important habits that I enjoy.

Let’s face it, reading the Bible is less fun than watching The Daily Show, but Jon Stewart, as funny as he is, will not lead me deeper into the paths of discipleship. Besides, reading the Bible is work. TV watching is easy.

All this boils down, then, to important questions: What do I really want in life? How much do I really want it? And what am I willing to do to make sure it happens? Am I willing to form a healthy habit?

Our habits will trump our desires every time. If I have a desire to become physically fit, but my habit is to spend my free time on the sofa with a bag of chips, I’m never going to get in shape. In effect, my desire for physical fitness is trumped by my desire for leisure time, TV and junk food — although I would probably not admit it.

All of us want to walk more closely with God and to grow as a faithful disciple of Christ. But our habits get in the way. We choose to let other desires take priority over our desire for spiritual health.

Most Christians say they desire to live a Godly life, rich in spirituality and healthy relationships. But how many of them fail to make regular church attendance a habit? Instead, church becomes something to do when nothing else is going on at the gun club, golf course, fly club or civic organization. Or when they just can't resist a morning in bed with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper.

Most Christian parents and grandparents desire their children to grow up to be Godly young men and women, solid members of society and active members of the church. But too many parents let their children sleep in on Sundays week after week, or allow them to get involved in sports activities that tie them up most Sundays of the year.

Or the same parents want the church to provide youth programs to nourish their children in the faith, yet they won’t help plan or run those events, or encourage their kids to attend.

How many Christians really, really, really desire to read the Bible through, but instead let other habits and choices interfere? In other words, they are just like me: Habitual time wasters>

The bad news is that a bad habit is easy to acquire but hard to break. The good news is that while a good habit is hard to acquire, it is easy to maintain.

This year, this Lent, let us all strive to develop new habits, healthy habits, that will lead us and our families into deeper discipleship.

-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster

Reprint rights gladly given to congregations for local, non profit use. Just include the following notice: "Copyright (c) 2009, Rev. Robert Blezard, archive.stewardshipoflife.org. Used by permission." Other uses, please inquire: rcblezard@embarqmail.com.

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