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No matter how you cut it your life is full of habits. You will have habits of speech, of dress, of thought, habits of how you start your day and how you end it. There is a liturgy to each of our lives, and it is one that changes depending on season and circumstance.

Outside of Christianity there are a great many things that pull at us to shape our daily habits, from our upbringing to social expectation, personal health goals, citizenship duties and worldview values. Now, when someone transitions into the Kingdom of Heaven, they bring all of that with them, but their whole life now fits under a new paradigm and there is an “organisational shakeup” so to speak.

How we live, even down to the minutest detail is now viewed through a different lens. We are serving a master over all, a Master of the Universe who knows each hair on your head. He is a Lord in the truest sense of the word, and he has lordship over all.

 

His Lordship over our life brings to bear a new set of values that will affect how we choose to order our lives. It will mean killing some habits that are treasonous to your Lord, revising some to make them good, keeping some untouched and adding new habits that are honouring to our Lord as well as good for ourselves and others.

 

In this second of my 12 Resolutions, I focus my resolve on a pattern of life in this vein. In particular on habits that inculcate God’s word into ones life and practice devotion to the Lord. It says:

  1. As a Christian, I hereby resolve to practice habits as pertain to holiness in thought, word and deed. Not out of bondage to law or guilt, but from desire to know the living God I shall meditate on the Word of God, through habitual reading of Scripture, spiritual songs, listening & reciting God’s Word, as well as by prayer upon it’s basis as near as often to daily as God may allow.

This way of life should be obviously acceptable and attractive to the Christian, but in case it is not so clear to you, let me run through where I get this stuff rom in the Bible.

 

The Lord calls His people to live in a way that is in in line with His character and commands. But in our natural state this is impossible, until Christ reconciles us to God and indwells us by His Spirit. Paul specifically says to such people at Ephesus:

“I…urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”

Eph 4:1.

In the Bible the progress through life is sometimes described as a walk. It is as though our lives are a journey from here to there, from birth to death. We move ever forward under the force of time, and along the journey of life we can either live in a way that is good and pleasing to God, or against him.

We are called to walk in a “manner,” in a worthy way, in a suitable way, in a shape of life that fits with calling we have received in Christ, much like what Abraham was commanded as he entered covenant with God:

“I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless”

Ge 17:1.

 

If we are truly committed to following this call, than we must take active steps to conform our life to a godly pattern. It is not enough to live godly today, and then abandon godliness for a month before trying a half-hearted attempt at godliness once more. We must actively shape the patterns, the habits, of our life so that godliness comes automatically, so that we are catechised in Truth, and so we are armed against the foes that threaten the holy edifice you are building to the Lord.

No one can run a whole mile the first time they go running, no one can lift huge weights on their first try, no child rides a bicycle without a few falls. We need to train and learn and practice in order to reach our potential. And when Christ is with us and his Spirit in us, the potential is almost boundless, you could even move mountains with a word (Mk 11:23). Yet our faith is almost atomistic to begin with: “I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24).

So we must train. We must seek. We must strive.

“while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

1 Ti 4:8.

 

“…let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.

1 Pe 3:11.

 

“Strive … for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

Heb 12:14.

 

Now while all of life will be shaped by our identity in Christ, the scriptures and the wisdom of the ages show us that there are a few particular habits that are prerequisite to getting an all-of-life pattern of godliness. Those habits are mediation on God’s word, prayer and song. None of these three are exclusive from one another, in fact if you sing a Psalm you can do all three!

The resolution mentions these things specifically because they are means of grace that should be melded into everyday patterns of life. They are things we do in the gathering of church in a special way, but if there is any opportunity to make these things integral parts of all of life, why not take it with joy and even make sacrifices to gain a blessing by them?

The scripture leads us this way:

 

“Blessed is the man [who’s]...

...delight is in the law of the LORD,

and on his law he meditates day and night.”

Ps 1:1–2.

 

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Th 5:16–18.

 

“Oh sing to the LORD a new song;

sing to the LORD, all the earth!

Sing to the LORD, bless his name;

tell of his salvation from day to day.”

Ps 96:1–2.

 

Habits shape us. And it is good to resolve to build in holy habits on the basis of God’s word. You will fall off the bike. You will get distracted. You will be disgusted at yet another failure. Yet the Lord’s mercies are new every morning and it is his call to us to be sanctified. Put off the Old Self, put on the New Self and…

“walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

Ga 5:16.